Saturday, October 23, 2010

Revelation Commentary, From a Handyman? Part Two

The Book of Revelation is a book about solving problems, but it's far more about Jesus, period.

1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave onto him, to shew his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto unto his servant, John.

1:2 Who bare record of the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, and keep those things that he saw.

1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophesy, and keep those things which are written therin: for the time is at hand.

1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be onto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne.

1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.

1:6 And hath made us kings and priests onto God and his Father; and to him be glory glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen.

These first five verses explain the purposes of this book. First, Jesus chose His apostle John, who had been boiled in oil at least and sentenced to rot on the isle of Patmos by the Roman government, to be the writer of the Revelation. It also explains the role of Jesus in all of this and reveals His message to seven churches in Asia at that time (about AD 90), which is really a part of modern-day Turkey. These churches have significance in that each represents a time, and spiritual condition, up to and including the present day. But did you read the third verse? This verse shows a blessing for those who read and heed (follow) what's contained in this book, because it's about time. This isn't for the curious, or some person thumbing through the bible, but for someone really taking heed of warnings in this book before the events happen. I'm going to pitch to you, what I believe to be the blessing made mention here. This is going to be to escape the Great Tribulation. More on this later.

1:7 Behold, he that cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they have also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him, even so, Amen.

1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and is to come, the Almighty.

1:9 I John, also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the Isle of Patmos for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

1:10 I was inthe spirit of the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet (italics mine).

1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, and What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia: unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me, and being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks.

1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
1:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars; and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he lay his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last.

What I really want to concentrate on is how Jesus looked and what the symbolism is here. I believe that much of this is literal and true to the times. I can say that from this book that He is the King and dressed in a Kingly way. Being dressed down to the foot and wearing a gold vest would sum that up. The thing that really surprised me was the color of His hair. Now I know what you're thinking. Jesus was a Middle Eastern man who had dark hair and probably wore a beard, but this is clearly not the case in His true form. There's no beard here, but John describes His face as "was the sun" or like the sun, with eyes "as a flame of fire." I'm going to hazard a guess that Jesus has blue eyes and a face that exudes the ultimate in strength. His white hair and head are likely a symbol of His purity and always being, but probably very literal. Having feet like fine brass also alludes to His purity, strength and refinement in the eyes of the Apostle John. Because Jesus IS God the Son in all His glory, it was such a shock to John that merely looking at Him would result in death. Obviously, this was not Christ's intention.

Let me off the beaten path a bit. Heaven and Christ are much like a clean room. Christ is perfectly just, innocent, and devoid of sin. Because of this, He cannot allow sin to contaminate Heaven. Otherwise it would be just like the earth is now. This is why sinful man cannot enter Heaven. Honestly, I don't think a literal two edged sword is really coming out of His mouth, but I do believe that His words will be that sword and this is what John is likely conveying. In the next installment, I will elaborate more on His words. and attempt to come to grips on the stars Christ has in His right hand. Maranatha!

Revelation Commentary, From a Handyman? Part One

Like many brothers and sisters in Christ, I am eagerly awaiting His return to earth and to eventually rule with Him over a New heaven and earth. While this seems an eternity away, I assure you that no one has waited so long as Jesus has. To finally be able to rule what is rightfully His, created, bought and paid for, tempered by the justice meted out to the rebellious, will be the product of thousands of years in the making. It will be the homecoming of homecomings, with our Lord, Creator and Master, Jesus Christ as the centerpiece of our love and worship. Like many of you, who have heard from David Jeramiah or read the works of Hal Lindsey or Tim LaHaye will probably write this off as the works of a layperson (and they'd be right). Others may call these this the ravings of a madman. Either designation is fine with me, but I believe the the Lord has moved me to write this commentary which will hopefully provide some insight, from a handyman's point of view.

Revelation is what could be called the capstone of the Bible and Biblical times, for which I believe we are living in at this minute. While many would just assume dismiss this book and live their lives, it is a part of the Bible that involves Jesus taking back this planet from Satan. The earth was supposed to be ours (human beings) but when Adam and Eve rebelled in the Garden of Eden, Satan took over. Our continued rebellion against the Lord and following Satan, by default regardless of the "ism" we choose, is the reason for wars, disease, poverty, inflation, drug use, divorce, homelessness, hunger, and every other malady you can think of. This is pretty simple; even in society, there are consequences. If one person acts in a lawless manner, that person degrades and causes problems for society. If society itself degrades, then it becomes a problem for everyone as a whole and as individuals. I can hardly drive down a street without seeing another "medinical marijuana clinic" springing up, for example. Marijuana is a proven gateway drug to "harder" items such as methamphetamine, or cocaine. The former has ravaged minds and bodies to the point of beyond repair and the latter was the instrument of death for my aunt in 1989. More on all of this in later installments.

Likewise, Revelation is really, in it's simplest terms, a sort of why, how and the result kind of book. This isn't a lot different than an instruction manual, or even a cookbook in that its aim is to solve a problem. When I walk into a house or place of business in my line of work, there's always an issue to be fixed. Whatever it is, I have to assess the issue and create a plan of attack to get it solved. No doubt this goes on at your job too. Even when you're unemployed, you have the problem of not having a job and working on solving it.

The world is no different in that regard; it is contaminated with sin. Not unlike the problem of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, sin has corrupted everything on this planet. Even the water, soil, plants and animals suffer because of this fallen state. The air we breathe and even the sun has the effects of sin. What used to be able to live forever now struggles to live three quarters of a century. This writer is 40 years old and praise the Lord, in great health, but this is something that's not taken for granted. Many of his peers have had major health problems, including, not limited to osteoporosis, a kidney transplant, even a pancreas transplant. However, the most sickening effect of sin isn't its effect on the body, but on the mind. It has created in the average human being, a state of egomaniacal depravity, a sense of entitlement that goes afoul of any real sense to the point of being god in his or her own mind. I'm not talking Pol Pot, Hitler or even Ted Bundy, but the average human being. Satan, of course is also infected by sin and has the overwhelming desired to be worshipped "like the Most High." He also wants to be g-d.

Jesus isn't going to let this go on forever and Satan knows it. Arguably far more than most of us humans, who the overwhelming majority are in denial of either their fallen state and need for a Saviour. Jesus also knows this and has written out the problem, the process of how He's going to "clean house" and what the result is going to be. He's also intent on getting the word out to us humans before we become casualties of this "housecleaning," perhaps for eternity.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fixing the Heat on a 2004 Buick Rendezvous

This is only one possible way to fix the problem at hand, as the problem must determine the solution. Mine was a code P0128, with the heater very weak and the car very slow to warm up. Pulling the code with my Actron showed that the thermostat was kaput. In this case, it was opening too early and not letting the engine warm up. This is going to make for some piggish engine performance (poor fuel economy) and make it extremely dangerous driving in cold weather. In my case, it took nearly 45 minutes to warm up and it was very difficult to defrost the windows. It'll also make for some cold driving with my wife and kids in the car, so this is going to have to be fixed. The best way is to take it in to a competent mechanic because this is going to be a bit of a beast to fix. It took me four hours because the young lady at the auto parts store insisted there was no molded hose for the intake, but more on this later. Do this at your own risk, I have no control over your work.

BE SURE THE ENGINE IS COOL FIRST. The thermostat lives on the upper part of the engine inside the water outlet on the drivers side of the car. This is bolted on the intake manifold with two 1/4 inch bolts with 13mm heads. The brake master cylinder, air cleaner and intake hose are also in the way, as is the pipe that runs from the passengers side of the engine. Drain the coolant first. You'll want to use a 10mm wrench to remove the bolt first and pry the pipe out with a screwdriver. Be careful not to nick the "o" ring or you'll be replacing it. Take off the air cleaner and use a 15mm socket to remove the master cylinder. DON'T undo the brake lines, just set it aside. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to remove the clamps from the 3/8 hoses on that pipe under the throttle body; there are two of them. Don't cut the hoses unless you want to fight with the guy at the auto parts counter for a molded hose; ditto with the other hose on the passengers side of the engine. Save the clamps for reuse.

Now the fun part begins. Every other writing I've seen on this says you have to remove the exhaust crossover to get to the bolts holding the thermostat. This is fine if you don't mind buying new gaskets and fasteners to replace the ones you'll tear up. Besides, this is a lot of work to replace a $7 part as it is. Better pack your patience, but you can do this and save $400 and get your heater working again. Use a 13mm socket to remove the front bolt and a 13mm combination wrench to loosen the back bolt from the backside, but don't remove it. You just need to able to wiggle the thermostat housing off the thermostat. Remove the old one and install the new one plunger side in. Wiggle the housing over the thermostat, making sure the notch goes over the bolt. Hand tighten it a bit and thread the other bolt in. Tighten that one first and the back one last.

All you'll need to do is make sure everything else is installed before you start the engine. Do the master cylinder first as this is most critical, followed by the pipe and air cleaner and all the clamps. Refill the cooling system and install a new cap if more than a few years old. There are two bleeder valves on either side of the engine and these will need to be opened to purge any air as you fill this up. Once you see coolant, close the bleeders start the engine, making sure the heater is on full blast. Fill the overflow tank to the high level and crack open the bleeder valves once more to purge any air left in the system. Make sure the heater works and the temperature gauge makes it to halfway. Check for leaks and you should have a heater that works as good as new, provided there wasn't anything else wrong with the cooling system to begin with. Mine works fine, so we'll leave it at that for now. Maranatha!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What You Pay For...

Yesterday, I received a call from a job I had been on the night prior. Apparently, a firm out of Lansing specializing in renewable energy sources and energy conservation is in the business of installing thermostats. This is with the idea of saving energy as these are programmable. The theory is that you can set back the temperature in the building a few degrees and save some money. Personally, my view is that if your furnace and air conditioner are relatively efficient and your house is well insulated, you can save the most money setting your temperature back three to five degrees, but I digress. I could write a whole article and perhaps a small pamphlet on this, but this isn't my purpose today.

The caller had installed, by his reckoning, over 6000 thermostats and never had a problem, but that day he blew up at least two, including the one the tavern owner already had. The result was the dining area in said tavern was pretty chilly. I've been installing thermostats for 25 years now, and the only time I've ever had a problem was by not turning off the equipment first. I pointed this out to the caller too, but he said that 24 volts shouldn't cause the thermostat to fail. I reminded him that if live wires touch the wrong parts, anything will fail. Although he was still adamant about his methods, the burned out thermostat was telling. My conclusion on this was the guy either wasn't qualified or didn't care.

But there was the thermostat and it did need to be replaced. I picked one up, a nice programmable one with 2 stage heat and cool settings and this was going to run $319.00 installed by an expert. It would also be properly set up and I'd show the tavern owner how to use the thing. I thought it a heck of a deal, but the owner of the energy company lambasted me on the price. "I can get one for $70!" was his remark. "But who's going to install it?" I retorted, "your employee?" "You want too much," he replied. "Well sir, we don't run a charity here." I insisted, "we need to make money and this is the price installed. I cannot install one of yours because then I cannot guarantee it." Try getting a mechanic to install parts on your car you get from AutoZone to save a few bucks. They'll laugh you out of the shop.

I had a building manager today chew me out about the prices of thermostats (must be a red letter day for sure). My response was tasteful, tactful and to the point. "We are not making boat payments from these two thermostats. Please do not threaten me about going to another vendor. If you have a problem with me or my product, please tell my boss." Honestly, this is like yelling at the person at the Gas and Go about the price of gasoline. However, you still have to fill up your car and unless you're into the whole biodiesel thing, you're going to have to pay up or walk. I pay up and be nice, that's my policy.

I really hate to rant, but part of the problem with the economy can be traced right back to the average Joe or Jane. We want a lot, but don't want to pay for it. We want that Escalade, but complain bitterly about the payments and operating costs. We want something fixed, but there's a price to pay for it if you want it done right. All the crap floating in from Chinaland is proof of that, We get what we pay for and we will reap what we sow. Rather than pay the nice man to fix your furnace in a warm cheerful manner, you (you know who you are) gripe, threaten and complain in an effort to make him feel small. The only thing you're really doing is making management consulting look really good as a career right now. Then who's going to fix your thermostat then? That guy from the energy company? You're crazier than me.

Attitudes have to change. We are being ugly to each other over things that we really have no business being ugly about. For example, my S.U.V. needs a thermostat and I'm not about to pull the top half of the engine apart to get it. I'll pay the $150 or so and get it done, and be glad I don't have to do it. Such is life. Off my soapbox now.