Confessions

I am a bit depressed right now; no clear direction or goals to pull me on. I haven’t done anything noteworthy or useful to humanity with my life. And now I cower under the shadow of old age and final dissolution.

My religious observance is a joke – not even that as at least a parody is a cheap imitation. The pity is that even if I had a do-over I have no idea what I would want to do. I have probably only a few years left and it is best not to waste them but what to do? Only heaven is eternal. I am afraid of dying and judgment.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – I seem to have none of these in great supply. I can only pray for guidance as there are no sure answers from this side of heaven. I am alone.

And yet I cannot give up my appeals and crying and apologies to God. I  wonder – does He hate me because I am often lukewarm in keeping His commands; not lukewarm in believing He is though, and yet the demons believe and tremble. I also tremble.

Do angels have doubts? They must have a certain amount of free choice if a portion of them fell from grace. Can one have doubts having seen the face of God – blessed are those who have not seen His face and yet still believe. How am I different from the demons if I believe but haven’t the fruits of the Spirit? Perhaps I am a demon. Then if I am, I will go to hell believing in God and even praise His name because I know He is Goodness and Righteousness even though I have failed Him. I still pray, “Lord let me just sweep the streets of Heaven”. I joke, “How hard can it be if the streets of made of gold?” And I am serious; I don’t want to sit at His right or left hand, I don’t want a position of power. I just want to sit in the background, in the last row of heavenly observers, craning my neck to get a glimpse of Glory. Let me clean up after all the others and perform the most menial tasks. Let me serve the angels and wash their wings or wait on their tables. I would carry a spear or beat the drums of war if there are such things. Just let me go to Heaven so I can gaze on Glory and Goodness.

But if I must go to hell then let me suffer the burning and shame by praising God from there because I know that demons and the greatest of the demons are wrong, as are the atheists (though I don’t judge them). I deserve their agony as well.

Perhaps in a million years God will relent and have a change of heart even as Moses argued with God and won – and He will let me and others pass across the impassable gulf. I can only hope.

 

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What Happened to the Gold of the Second Temple?

Several years ago I visited the Forbidden City in Beijing and noticed that there were marks on some of the ornaments in the temples and buildings where gold had been scraped off. It got me to thinking about the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem during Titus’ siege. I thought that if during the dismantling of the temple that if the gold had similarly been scraped off then the soil around the temple must have a high content of gold in it. I submitted my theory to a couple of biblical archeologists and got two responses: the first said that it was an interesting idea and should be investigated and the second said that the gold would have melted into clumps during the fires that raged during the destruction of the city and therefore would not be found in the soil.  Personally, I believe that the looters would have still had to scrape the gold away from the stones to which it probably adhered during the melting and cooling process. So, perhaps some of the gold is still in microscopic form in the landfills where the temple refuse had been deposited and is still in some of the dirt surrounding the temple mount area today. Would be an interesting graduate project for some aspiring archeological student to assay some soil samples. Also, it might give an indication of the true location of the temple since that is questionable to this day.

Secondly, what happened to the gold that was carted away by Titus and his soldiers? Well here is an interesting link that implies some of it was used to build the Coliseum in Rome. ritmeyer.com/…015/06/02/jerusalem-in-rome

Finally, I imagine that much of it was taken by the Roman soldiers too and distributed throughout the Roman Empire and the rest of the world from there. Perhaps even some of it resides in our own gold rings and therefore we are wearing gold that ornamented the temple where Jesus once stood.

 

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My Favorite Verse

My favorite verse is Proverbs 12:28:  In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality. In all probability, it isn’t anyone else’s favorite because 99.99 percent of Bible readers aren’t even aware of it and even if they were they would choose some other verse that they identify with or that confirms their beliefs. Perhaps one day I will change in some way and find a different one to supplant this one.

One of the reasons I like this verse is because it seems to be a prophecy of sorts. At the time it was written, the Hebrew folks were not so keen on eternity as we are today, as much as they were on just having a good earthly life or livelihood and family. Only in the New Testament era do we see a real emphasis on the eternal nature of our souls and how this blessing exceeds any benefits we receive in this earthly existence.

This verse is essentially my motto: In the Way (following God/Jesus) there is life (even on Earth it is better) and along this path (of Jesus) we will inherit eternity.

This verse presents the big picture of why we are here (to learn how to live) and it includes the major actors: (God/Jesus and me).

I like mottos because they are easy to remember and quote and they remind me, day by day, of who I am and why I exist. Kind of like Hebrew phylacteries or wearing a cross around one’s neck – it is a symbol to remind me of who I am and who I serve.

 

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Jesus the Human

Jesus had brothers and sisters. So it is only natural to believe he had nieces and nephews who referred to him as “uncle Jesus” in their daily vernacular whether it was Aramaic or Hebrew. It is comforting to think that Jesus participated for 30 years in daily activities that you or I would have had we lived then.  I wonder if his relatives thought him a little weird, perhaps too emotionally sensitive and even supportive of the women and perhaps a little too willing to part with the family property to help the poor. Who knows what human deeds he performed that we just don’t think much about.

Jesus had brothers and sisters and some believe they were only half-siblings. So what? Will we enter the new heaven and earth one day and have to prove we were right about every interpretation or opinion we held on scripture?  Jesus came to earth as a perfect specimen of a human – but he told us that he would take care of our imperfections and as humans we are often wrong and we won’t get everything right the day before we die – we are going to enter the pearly gates but won’t have to take the earthly baggage with us.

Jesus had brothers and sisters and they no doubt screwed up often but he did not disown them. And now we are the adopted brothers and sisters of Christ and he has promised not to disown us. It is ok to be human – he will still care for us.

 

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Caesar and Jesus, Son of God?

When Christ was crucified the Roman soldier (centurion) declared, “Truly this was the son of God.”  When reading these accounts we usually emphasize “was” as in, “it was at first doubtful that he was the son of God but now I am sure it is true he was the son of God. ” But I prefer to emphasize “this” as in, “our Caesars declared themselves gods and sons of gods but after what I have seen I declare that this is truly the son of God.”  Here was a Roman citizen, no doubt very familiar with Roman gods and also being a centurion, he was probably very intelligent and familiar with the stories surrounding his prisoner, Jesus – who claimed that it wasn’t Augustus or Tiberius Caesar that were sons of god but rather that this man was truly the son of God, attested to by what he had seen at Jesus death.  A reliable Roman citizen, a first-hand witness, and participant in Jesus death, is a much more credible witness to the holiness and truth of who Jesus was than all the writings, claims and assertions of all the atheistic writers of the last 2000 years. Jesus was the son God, not Caesar.

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Self Balancing Gyroscope Using HD Drive

Gyro HDD 1.1 with Pots

My latest self balancing project using a hard disk drive, a VTI inclinometer sensor, a servo controlled counterweight and three potentiometers to control the PID parameters. Works great. Even better now that I added a little weight to the top of the gimbal/gyro.

I discovered the following: if the gyro weight is far below the gimbal, it takes very little movement to make corrections but it is also almost impossible for the computer to make such small corrections – the higher you raise the gyro, the better the computer can control. Optimum is where the motor is on the gimbal axis and the gyro below. If we keep moving the gyro up to the top heavy configuration, we have the most balance – that is until it exceeds a certain angle and then we lose control. Seems the best place is just having the gyro slightly bottom heavy which makes it easiest for the computer to control and allows total control without fear of the gyroscope flipping over. My gyro was balancing , but just barely (rpm of 4000 is too slow, waiting for new ESC) so I added a little weight to the top which simulates moving the gyro up to where the motor is on the axis, and it balanced much better. That seems to be the sweet spot for PID computer control.

Todo:

New ESC / add wheels / may be try controlling gimbal directly

 

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My New Merida Ukulele

Bought in Shanghai at East Jinling Road music store for 800rmb. Didn’t know Merida made ukuleles. May be a second as it has slight blem on woodwork on front. Light and plays nice, has nice sound.

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