Posted in bible, discernment, facebook, scripture twisting

"Anyone can find the dirt in someone"… How Facebook helps twist God’s Word

Have you seen this on Facebook? It is a wonderful sentiment. I approve of the concept of looking at the positive and trying to find the good in a person.

Seeing this makes me emit an instant, “awww” and want to press “Like” and “Share.”

But I don’t. Why?

There is a Bible verse attached to the sentence. A Bible verse is the word of GOD. So I must treat it with respect, and at the very least, look it up to make sure that someone making the scripture picture didn’t accidentally make a typo on the address. So I check to see if the verse and the address match up?

No. Here is what Proverbs 11:27 actually says.

  • Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor, but evil comes to him who searches for it. (ESV)
  • The one who searches for what is good finds favor, but if someone looks for trouble, it will come to him. (HSCB)
  • If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you! (NLT)

No matter what translation you look at the verse in, the sentiment expressed on the photo is not the same as the one stated in the Word. Every translation mentions evil, but the scripture photo mentions only good. The verse is saying that the person who goes looking for trouble will find it but those who do good will receive favor from God and men.

That’s the trouble with Twitter, Facebook, etc. Only half the verse is shown. Or it’s ripped from its context (Jeremiah 29:11 comes immediately to mind). The context in which this verse was ripped then twisted is embedded among-

Proverbs contrasting the nature and destiny of the righteous and wicked (11:1–31). The righteous follow a clear path in life, are delivered from troubles, are generous, and strengthen their communities. The wicked hoard money but are not saved by it, are a curse to their families and communities, and face certain punishment.

Garrett, D. A. (1998). The Poetic and Wisdom Books.

In untwisting the twisted part of the verse Matthew Henry says of it:

1. Those that are industrious to do good in the world get themselves beloved both with God and man: … that seeks opportunities of serving his friends and relieving the poor, and lays out himself therein, procures favour. All about him love him, and speak well of him, and will be ready to do him a kindness; and, which is better than that, better than life, he has God’s lovingkindness.
2. Those that are industrious to do mischief are preparing ruin for themselves: It shall come unto them; some time or other they will be paid in their own coin. And, observe, seeking mischief is here set in opposition to seeking good; for those that are not doing good are doing hurt.

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume.

The verse is not about finding a nice quality in a person among other negative qualities. It is about a person himself doing good as opposed to evil. The one who does good receives favor from men and God. The one who does evil, piles evil back onto himself. It’s actually the opposite of what the Facebook photo verse is stating.

The Facebook twisted version makes man the hero.
The Bible’s version makes God the hero.
See the difference?

And does it make sense to put a scripture address on a verse that is totally re-phrased in man’s words, anyway?

EPrata photo

That’s the problem with twisting a verse. It’s a problem also when we carelessly re-tweet it or share it without proper investigation. We add to the general confusion regarding what the Bible actually says. Of all things on this earth the one thing we should be the most careful with is God’s word. Yet on social media, a powerful influencer of minds and hearts, it is the most carelessly handled. It’s sad that so many have shared and liked this verse that is not a verse and means what it does not mean.

Now, I’m not condemning any of the nearly 1 million people who shared it. It’s a nice sentiment. I wanted to post it myself. But if you want to send around a nice sentiment like this one, there are plenty of them in the Bible that mean exactly what they mean without omitting important parts of the verse or twisting it. You have your pick of verses that urge us to edify each other, to cover each other’s sins, or to love one another.

Before pressing “Like” or “Share” please stop and look it up. Make sure the verse is addressed correctly and isn’t twisted.

Don’t twist the Bible

Posted in discernment, facebook, false teachers

"Be Careful Who You Post on Facebook"

I’d written recently that there were pros and cons to using social media as a Christian. It’s useful for staying in touch with distant family or friends, to learn of new pastors & ministries, or to share the Gospel. It’s not useful when we publicly sin or cause a stumbling block to a weaker brother, or in trying to tighten up time management. There are a lot of temptations on social media, that’s definitely a con.

One thing that is also a con but is part of the reality of life as a Christian anyway (i.e. there’s no escaping this) is the weak Christian who posts or repeats quotes and tidbits from ministries that are run by a false teacher. We agonize over our brethren who are embroiled in the snares of the devil and who prove it by unidscerningly following them, and by repeating the lies the ministry puts out there.

A pastor named Jordan Hall wrote a heartfelt warning about this and I re-post it here. In my opinion they are good words well stated. I use most of the discernment ministries Pastor Hall mentioned, and I’d also suggest my own The End Time blog, Sharon Lareau at Chapter 3 Ministries, Erin Benziger at Do Not Be Surprised, Sunny Shell at Abandoned to Christ, and Aimee Byrd at Mortification of Spin (The Housewife Theologian), DebbieLynne Kespert at The Outspoken Tulip, and already mentioned in the essay, Amy Spreeman at The Berean Examiner.

His warning:


By Jordan Hall

Not too long to read: My friends, from a pastor’s heart, we must be careful who we quote on Facebook and whose material we share. Please take the time, before you do either, to spend just a single minute to research the individual or ministries you’re promoting by sharing their material. Before you quote or post a meme from Beth Moore, Proverbs 31 Ministries, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Andy Stanley, Steven Furtick or other popular ‘Christian’ leaders or organizations, please search the web with their name and the word ‘discernment.’ You’ll find the information you need in no time flat, and you’ll avoid causing your Facebook friends to stumble by introducing them to chaff and tares.

Why do that, you ask? Do that because Romans 16:17 tells us to “Mark those that cause divisions and create obstacles that are contrary to the doctrine taught [in Scripture].” That instruction is two fold (A) Mark them – that means to qualify, characterize and typify them as dangerous as a warning to others and (B) avoid them. When you post something from TD Jakes or Andy Stanley you are marking them as trustworthy. You are then exposing your friends and loved ones to their false teachings.

It is here that some say, “Well, I liked the quote. I’m not endorsing the person.” Well, I get that. Really, I do. I’m sure Charles Finney or Adolf Hitler might have said something at some point I might agree with. But, we shouldn’t go around quoting Hitler or Finney. Whether you like it or not, it IS an endorsement, and you might turn people onto ministries that are spiritually toxic.

Likewise, be careful when you “like” statuses that repeat the words of false teachers. I know you like the person who posted it. I know you liked their good intentions. But for the love of Jesus (literally), do not ‘like’ the words that proceed from the mouth of those who masquerade as shepherds but are inwardly wolves. Do not give the impression to your friend that you like it that they appreciate false teachers. Rather, you ought rather to mourn and warn them.

Here’s a tip for your convenience if you think, “Good grief, am I supposed to research every pastor or ministry I post or ‘like’ on Facebook” (the answer is YES, by the way). As stated above, google “person/ministry’s name” and “discernment.” You’ll find a wealth of resources from polemicists (those who specialize in errant teachings) like Chris Rosebrough, the late Ken Silva, Amy Spreeman, Michelle Lesley, Jeff Maples, Pulpit & Pen and more. Discernment is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and God has gifted people with discernment to edify and equip the church.

Finally, this is the information age. This does not require going to the library and looking up handwritten sermon manuscripts on the microfiche. A discerning Christian, through just a little bit of research (literally, just minutes) can determine wolf from lamb in short order. For the love of Jesus and his church, please be careful with what you post.

EPrata photo

Posted in facebook, the end time

The End Time Facebook page

Someone mentioned to me the other day that I should think about doing a Facebook page for The End Time. I thought about it and looked into it and so I made one. I changed my Facebook badge on the right menu from my personal FB page to The End Time FB page. If you click on it, it should take you to the new Facebook page.

All are welcome to visit there, comment, or just browse. On The End Time FB page we do not have to be friends in order for you to view or post, so this should be helpful to you and to me.

Here is what it looks like

The link is

Thank you!

Posted in facebook, facial recognition, mark of the beast, prophecy

One app’s facial recognition outstrips the CIA’s, you will never guess which it is

One of the most mysterious segments of prophetic scripture are the verses telling us about the Mark of the Beast. We read about it in Revelation 13:11-18. The Second Beast is the false prophet. It’s actually the false prophet who causes all to have the mark, or be excluded from the economy. The mark is an identification of allegiance to and worship of the Beast. The penalty for not taking it is that no man may buy or sell. But the reason to take it is to worship the antichrist. Here is the passage.

The Second Beast
Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. 16Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

Part of being entranced by the verses is the fact that there are so many questions that arise from reading them. How does one person cause all on earth to receive a mark? How will they know if someone doesn’t take the mark? If someone gos to buy something without the mark, what will happen? How long will it take until someone in authority comes to grab the person who doesn’t have the mark? Most interesting of all, much of this buying and selling and grabbing and beheading has to do with technology.

Prior to today’s technology, such massive, global tracking and marking would never have been possible. I’m only 54 years old and I clearly remember when bar codes were invented and came into ubiquitous use. Never mind laptops, internet, and now quantum computing, Artificial Intelligence, bitcoin and its ilk, iris scanning, robotics, and nanotechnology. It’s dizzying. It reminds me of the prophecy in Daniel 12:4,

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

As a rabbit trail for just a moment, the Lord sends an angel to fly at mid-heaven and warn the people of the world NOT to take the mark. See below:

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” (Revelation 14:9-1)

The mark of the beast is definitely a mark of worship and allegiance to the antichrist, which means the person has declared for satan. That’s why taking it incurs so much wrath. But back to the technology of today. Managing the buying and selling of all peoples in earth via this mark is just an astounding concept to me. There is no such thing as privacy any more, tracking and hacking are things the youth of today are used to, though I’ll never get used to it. There are undoubtedly many different kinds of technologies that will merge into the one that will allow the mark of the beast to be implemented and global economic tracking to such a specific degree occur. But consider this, I’ll run it past you…

It’s from Extremetech, published last March:

Facebook’s New ‘DeepFace’ Program Is Just As Creepy As It Sounds

Facebook owns the world’s largest photo library, and it now has the technology to match almost all the faces within it. Yes, even the ones you don’t tag.  Facebook announced last week that it has developed a program called “DeepFace,” which researchers say can determine whether two photographed faces are of the same person with 97.25 percent accuracy.  According to Facebook, humans put to the same test answer correctly 97.53 percent of the time — only a quarter of a percent better than Facebook’s software.  The takeaway: Facebook has essentially caught up to humans when it comes to remembering a face.

Facebook’s facial recognition software is now as accurate as the human brain, but what now?

It would also be irresponsible if we didn’t mention the true power of facial recognition, which Facebook is surely investigating: Tracking your face across the entirety of the web, and in real life, as you move from shop to shop, producing some very lucrative behavioral tracking data indeed.

As we move from shop to shop? 97% accuracy?

Facebook will soon be able to ID you in any photo

“we’ve been able to detect faces in images for about 2 decades,” LeCun says. Even the puny computers in cheap consumer cameras have long been able to detect and focus on faces.

But “identifying a face is a much harder problem than detecting it,” LeCun says. Your face uniquely identifies you. But unlike your fingerprints, it is constantly changing. Just smile and your face is transformed. The corners of your eyes wrinkle, your nostrils flare, and your teeth show. Throw your head back with laughter and the apparent shape of your face contorts. Even when you wear the same expression, your hair varies from photo to photo, all the more so after a visit to the hairdresser. And yet most people can spot you effortlessly in a series of photos, even if they’ve seen you in just one.
In terms of perceiving the world around us, facial recognition may be “the single most impressive thing that the human brain can do,” says Erik Learned-Miller, a computer scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. By contrast, computers struggle with what researchers call the problem of A-PIE: aging, pose, illumination, and expression. These sources of noise drown out the subtle differences that distinguish one person’s face from another.

Thanks to an approach called deep learning, computers are gaining ground fast.

Now, I am not saying that Facebook is the Mark of the Beast, for heaven’s sake don’t misunderstand. However, I’m intrigued that all along as we watch technology grow to an excessively intrusive point in our lives, that quietly, unassumingly, Facebook has amassed the data and know-how to put into place a large part of the puzzle that may become part of the technology involved with the Mark of the Beast.

I’m one of the last generation to have grown up technology-free. I played outside after school, roaming the neighborhood on my book, coming home when the streetlights turned on. I’m one of a generation who loves the internet but remember a time when I read books and went skating and built snowmen and played hopscotch- outside. I remember.

Reading that Facebook has amassed the world’s largest facial recognition data dropped the penny. Facebook has my birthdate, photo, locations where I’ve lived, friends, employment, education…in short, an online profile. And I gave it to them.

It is an amazing, dizzying time, this new millnnium. Meanwhile, knowledge is increasing and technology is rapidly heading to its ultimate destination. I feel like Thumbelina on a leaf going down the rapids. But the leaf is really the hand of Jesus and I’m safe and secure. I’m not worried or scared or depressed. I’m amazed. Every day we make technological advances that enhance the lives of humanity but one day will be turned to evil use by the antichrist and false prophet. Amazing, stunning time. I want to see what happens next. Hopefully the Lord’s return to collect His Bride in the rapture!

Because, you see, we will be raptured before any of this comes to pass. We won’t have to worry about the mark of the beast, the false prophet, the antichrist, being excluded from the economy, starvation, or beheading. He will rescue us from the wrath to come, (1 Thess 1:10) and spare us His indignation poured out. (Isaiah 26:20). If you have repented of your sins, and confessed to Jesus as Lord and Savior, and know He is resurrected and reigning from heaven, soon to return as the Bible says, you are saved. (Romans 10:9). We rest securely in His arms and seek to become weak in the flesh so the Spirit will use us strongly. (2 Cor 12:9-10).

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go check my Facebook status…

Posted in facebook, sin, social media, society

Social media is changing child custody disputes, child-support payments, & divorce

I am in the midst of writing three loosely connected blog entries regarding marriage and the family. The first piece looked at marriage through the creation of man and woman and God-ordained society. That piece also contained news of the UK’s new legislation allowing gay marriage. While the ink was still drying, a gay couple sued the Church for refusing to perform their gay wedding even though the legislation promised that churches would not be forced to perform them. So they are making an end run around that and going to court.

The third piece looks at celibacy.

This piece looks at an interesting news article I read in the Providence Journal. We have all read of the ridiculous youths and graduates and young adults losing jobs or not getting jobs because in their partying enthusiasm, they posted one too many photos on their Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Tumblr page and they were fired or disciplined or passed over for the job. But here is a more serious effect that is changing the face of families- and divorces.

The new ‘private eye’ in divorce cases
There’s a powerful tool, and relative newcomer, at work in Family Court in Rhode Island. It’s social media, and it’s affecting child custody disputes, child-support payments and, in some cases, the distribution of marital assets. There was the father seeking custody of his 3-year-old son who posted a photo of himself standing in a field surrounded by a dozen marijuana plants. “He went down in flames. No pun intended,” lawyer William F. Holt said.”

“Eighty-one percent of the nation’s top divorce attorneys reported seeing an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence, according to a 2010 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Facebook led the pack for online divorce evidence, with 66 percent of the lawyers naming it as the main source.”

There’s a Facebook meme that went around, I’m sorry I can’t find it again, that was a poster which said “Thank goodness I did all my stupid stuff before the internet!”

Kevin Colvin, an intern at a bank
told his boss he had to miss work
due to family emergency.
And posted this on his FB page. (source)

There is something funny about that to us over-fifties. But there is something also kind of sad about it too. Because people today, with the internet, are not only doing stupid stuff, but they are deliberately posting photos and comments about it. No one is forcing them to go public with their stupidity. They did the stupid thing and then they broadcast the stupid thing.

What is it with people today? They are simply mental!

Apostasy is growing. This means indeed that people are stupider, more mental, and just plain moronic and crazy. No, I’m not being mean. Romans 1 chronicles the progression of behavior and thinking that captures people as they, or a society, descend deeper into sin.

When people do not honor God, they descend into futile thinking. Verse 21:

“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

The word futile in the verse is from Greek, (mataioó) and it means to “become vain or foolish, am perverted”. And the word thinking means “to have self-based confused reasoning”. And then foolish again, means “properly, without comprehension; foolish because incoherent…failing to put facts together, describes a person failing to structure information in a meaningful way, and therefore unable to reach necessary conclusions. This person is illogical because unwilling to use good reason.”

A hemp field in Mongolia.
photo credit: Gregory Jordan via photopin cc

See? They can’t think straight. They refuse to think straight. That is why they do stupid things like break the law to grow marijuana plants, leave their wives, sue for custody of their son, photograph themselves in the pot field, and publish it on the internet. Duh.

The one feeds the other. Selfishness leads to divorce, so does laziness, sense of entitlement, conceit, in other words, all the things that Paul said would happen in the end time.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

So you have people dishonoring God, becoming foolish and perverted in their thinking, which causes them to do more stupid stuff, which indulges their lusts, which causes them to sink further into depravity and perversion…it is a cycle of rapidly diminishing returns.

I did find it interesting that the article went on to say that it has been the past ten years of technology that has dramatically forced an evolution of family law in RI. KoonsFuller is a Texas Law firm which offers a brief overview of the history of family law:

Divorce is a terrible thing.
photo credit: hebedesign via photopin cc

Family Law History

Family law has undergone a tremendous amount of modification over the past century due to the quickly changing roles identified within American families, the varying definitions of the concept of “family” and the importance of each individual’s rights within the family unit.

The revolution began in earnest during World War II, when women began to enter the work force en masse. Significantly, women found an avenue that would allow them to assert themselves as separate and independent individuals, and a profound evolution of roles within the family began that continues to this day. The impact was felt from family law to real property law, through civil law and probate law, and continues to have an impact on the development of family law cases and the interpretation of those laws by the entire judicial system.

In the 1950s and 60s, the number of marriages ending in divorce increased steadily across the nation. In 1969, the Texas Legislature adopted Title 1 of the Texas Family Code, allowing “no-fault” divorce. Divorcing parties no longer had to prove improper conduct or other grounds for dissolving a marriage, and the number of divorcing couples increased even more dramatically.

Stephen Cretney’s work in the book Family Law in the Twentieth Century: A History also affirms that “the law governing family relationships has changed dramatically in the past one hundred years.” And anyone over the age of fifty knows that anecdotal evidence shows an increase in the disintegration of the legal family, of which marriage has always been the entry and divorce rather than death is the increasingly employed exit.

The more that people indulge their lusts the more stupid they will get. The series of verses in Romans 1 shows us this. As they say in business, economics, and politics, there is a ‘law of diminishing returns’. This applies to sin, too. The end result of sin is always death. (Romans 6:23). Look how sin works by applying the principle of diminishing returns. Here, Dr Paul Johnson of Auburn University explains,

photo credit: arbyreed via photopin cc

When increasing amounts of one factor of production are employed in production along with a fixed amount of some other production factor, after some point, the resulting increases in output of product become smaller and smaller.

Dr Johnson uses an example of a small garden plot to illustrate diminishing returns.

A simple example of the workings of the law of diminishing returns comes from gardening. A particular twenty by twenty garden plot will produce a certain number of pounds of tomatoes if the gardener just puts in the recommended number of rows and plants per row, waters them appropriately and keeps the weeds pulled. If the gardener varies this approach by adding a pound of fertilizer to the topsoil, but otherwise does everything the same, he can increase the number of pounds of tomatoes the garden plot yields by quite a bit (notice the amount of land is being held fixed or constant).

If he adds two pounds of fertilizer (rather than just one), probably he can get still more tomatoes per season, but the increase in tomatoes harvested by going from one pound to two pounds of fertilizer is probably smaller than the increase he gets by going from zero pounds to one (diminishing marginal returns). Applying three pounds of fertilizer may still increase the harvest, but perhaps by only a very little bit over the yields available using just two pounds.

Applying four pounds of fertilizer turns out to be overdoing it — the garden yields fewer tomatoes than applying only three pounds because the plants begin to suffer damage from root-burn. And five pounds of fertilizer turns out to kill nearly all the plants before they even flower..

So the sinner can sin more and more but the amount of yield he gets eventually diminishes. At the end the return on your production of sin is death, like the burned roots that simply zap the tomato plants. You’re dead. Ask any recovering alcoholic about this. Ask any sober drug addict about this. Ask any child molester about this. Ask any serial killer about this. OK, maybe not a good idea to approach a serial killer, but you’ve read about the high that these addicted folks get in their preferred sin and how they are always seeking the bigger high, the next high. The same goes for even the “respectable sins”, for example, gossips. The more they gossip the more they want, the more people look to them for the juicy tidbit, the more they seek out the juicy tidbit, the more they gossip….Hedda Hopper made a career out of gossip. The gossip journalists are always looking for the bigger story. Each one has to top the last. As with all sins, there is always the search for the ever elusive satisfaction. People are perpetual sinning machines.

Jesus spoke of the Broad Way and the Narrow Way in Matthew 7:13-14.

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

The broad way is the way of sin. The narrow way is the way of holiness. The Broad way is without Jesus. The narrow way is with Jesus. There are only those two ways, nothing else and nothing in between. Anyone on the broad way will stay on the broad way and not make the hop until and unless they repent and Jesus brings them over. The two paths don’t run parallel to each other like the white fog lines on this road.

photo credit: gustaffo89 via photopin cc

The two paths diverge.

God is always working (John 5:17, Romans 8:28). Everything is always in motion. Thus, the believer is always being sanctified. He is always in progress toward the Father in Christ-likeness.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.  (2 Peter 3:18 )

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

The unbeliever is always progressing downward in sin. They are growing too. Growing worse. The law of diminishing returns shows us that they will always seek after sin in greater amounts. Whether those amounts consist of huge leaps forward on the road or tiny baby steps depends on the person, but they are always progressing downward.

“All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back.” (Proverbs 21:26)

 “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” (Titus 3:3)

“while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13)

I opened with a news story that showed people acting stupidly, seemingly inexplicably. They are changing the face of family law. I showed why people act the way they do. It really isn’t inexplicable, it’s sin. And sin and sinners get worse. If too many sinners get worse in their sin, society as a whole becomes worse. At the end, there is a tipping point and God gives a society over to its lusts. After that another phrase besides the “law of diminishing returns” comes into play:

“Circling the drain.”

If you ever watched bath water drain from a tub, at the end there is just a little bit of water left and it goes around and around the drain before getting sucked down the vortex.

Definition: A medical phrase, “FTD–fixing to die, near extremis, pre-code Medtalk Referring to a patient whose future prospects of life are dim”

The legal article from the Providence Journal above describing our society indicate behavior that clearly shows we have become stupid (futile in our thinking). If marriages are disintegrating at such a rapid pace and through such heinous means as immorality, illicit spying, hatred, and duplicitous technological methods as those … if people are behaving in such a way so profusely that it has changed an entire segment of the legal profession … our society is truly circling the drain.

Lord, come soon!

Posted in facebook, hoax, Pastor Jeremiah Steepek, test all things

(UPDATED) Pastor Jeremiah Steepek: I’m a French model, and they can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true

(Update at bottom)

I do quite a bit of work on Facebook, keeping up with friends (in exactly the way my Asperger heart enjoys keeping up with them- at a technological distance, lol), do some witnessing and a lot of encouraging.

Quite often, depressingly often, someone will re-post what, at least to me, is an obviously a hoax. The tropes and tripes are constantly circulating. They used to come fast and furious via email, with forwarding to mass numbers of friends on contact lists. Today it’s Facebook and sometimes Twitter. It is a wonder that the social media hoax-investigative outfit, Snopes, doesn’t self combust with the overload. There are virus email hoaxes, giveaway email hoaxes, charity hoaxes, bogus warnings, email petitions, protests over things that aren’t even real, email chain letters, celebrity email hoaxes, prank emails, fake celebrity death notices, and on and on and on. If people want to be taken in by the Nigerian Prince who needs money or the bogus warning about the parking lot stalker, so be it. Youse guys pays yer money and youse takes yer chances.

The hoaxes that circulate so widely are never usually religion-oriented so my irritation at seeing the one that is circulating now is greater than usual. It is this:

Pastor Jeremiah Steepek (pictured below) transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service….only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food….NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit in the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.

As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation… “We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek”….The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation…..The homeless man sitting in the back stood up…..and started walking down the aisle…..the clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him….he walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment….then he recited

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning…many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame…. he then said….Today I see a gathering of people……not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples…when will YOU decide to become disciples? He then dismissed service until next week…….Being a Christian is more than something you claim. It’s something you live by and share with others.

“OK”, I thought when I first saw this, “it is probably a hoax.” Do I possess X-ray vision to see behind the LCD screen to detect the “HOAX” watermark? No. Did the Spirit audibly tell me? No. Am I telepathic? No. How or why can a person see almost immediately that this is a hoax, then? Because I thought about it, deconstructed it, and decided that this didn’t really happen. I didn’t say anything on FB but left it up to its own cyclical trajectory to see where it went. Today Snopes published their research conclusion, “Erm, nice story, not so very true.” Hoax Slayer found the same.

How could you tell this wasn’t going to be a true thing? Many reasons.

First: the dirt on the man looks real. Do the homeless in tv shows ever really look homeless? No, and that is because it takes a long time to get grime under the first layer of skin cells to become an almost permanent member of your body. There is a look to homelessness that comes from months and years of no access to proper sanitary conditions. The man in the photo looks homeless. Absolutely. And it turns out, that he is.

Snopes: “Additionally, the photograph of “Pastor Jeremiah Steepek” that accompanies the online version of this story is actually a picture of an unidentified homeless man snapped by photographer Brad J. Gerrard in Richmond (London): “I was walking down the street in Richmond, saw this man talking to someone, could see he was quite a picture in the making. On the way back, when he was free I had a short conversation with the gentleman and he agreed to let me photograph him. I liked the result. He was very friendly.”

No pastor is going to be able to fake a real look to homelessness with that much authenticity between the time he is hired and the time he has to show up on the first Sunday. Never mind the clothes, which also looked authentic. And never mind the beard and the hair. It takes a while for hair and beard to grow that shaggy, even if a pastor had a beard and long hair in the first place. How long does he have between the job acceptance and the first sermon? Months? No hardly ever. If a church needs a pastor they need him now.

I lived in a VW Camper van in the desert for three months, and on a sailboat for two years, I know about grime, and what happens when you go long stretches without full immersion in hot water. Even though we took sponge baths and showered in marinas, the first time we stayed in a hotel, about four months out, I had to take two baths, soaking for almost an hour total before the water was clean.

Secondly, the hoax includes the little detail that that it was a large congregation, likely to dilute the first thing that would come to our mind when reading this- wouldn’t somebody recognize him? Well, even in a large congregation of 10,000, the answer is yes. The elders who hired him, the associate pastor who would have been there to introduce him, all the men that knew him from the interviews and the practice/interview sermon, would have recognized the man. Even worse, is that the story as written says that the “elders were in on this”, so, the pastor not only lied but put a stumbling block in front of his brothers and caused them to lie too.

That was the physical evidence.

Let’s look at the biblical evidence. Is this kind of thing likely to happen? The answer to this is no.

To pull off a scene like this, a pastor would have had to lie, perpetrate the lie over time, and fool people. Is a pastor who loves Jesus going to begin his tenure with the flock he is hired to protect going to TRICK THEM? EMBARRASS them? USE THE BIBLE for a gotcha moment? Use the pulpit to turn attention to himself instead of Jesus? Of course not. If he was hired then it must have been deemed that he was a bible-loving man, and the elders had adhered to this:

“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach,” (1 Timothy 3:1-2).

Above reproach meaning not a liar and a trickster.

Is a pastor going to abuse the pulpit, a section of sacred ground to pull off a trick that hurts people? No.

“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28)

Did Jesus come in secret and by subterfuge, trick the people into self-examination? No this scene would be an abuse.

“‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.(Jeremiah 3:1).

A man after Jesus’ own heart would not be a liar and a trickster, teaching by subterfuge.

“Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.” (John 18:20)

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

And if the man the elders had hired was a wolf, a false shepherd, he would not care about the homeless and not deign to dress down in the first place.

People, don’t accept these things but test all things. (1 John 4:1). Don’t say to yourself, ‘it did happen.’ But say “did it happen? Are these things true?” (Acts 17:11).

Now, it certainly is a nice parable. It presents a picture in our minds that is really relevant and quite vivid. What would I have done in that situation? Am I showing partiality? How would I respond if a homeless person came to my church? All that is good.

But alternately, we must also ask questions about the scene as if it was your pastor who did that, and a newly hired one, too. “Would a pastor trick us? Is this how he plans to teach us as our shepherd? Is it right to abuse the pulpit to make a point? If he lied once, will he pull another one again? Is this the basis on which we forge a relationship?”

One other thing: the pictured real homeless man is a real person, but the someone who started this hoax is using him to perpetrate a lie. I don’t like that.

Conclusion: “If that trope about “Pastor Steepek is true, then I’m a French Model.” Bon jour.


The Blaze weighed in this morning

The man in the photo has a name, it is Surrey, and he abides in Richmond England. Here is photographer Brad Gerrard’s flickr page with the same photo of the man that is supposedly Pastor Jeremiah Steepek but is not.

And amazingly, this story is resonating wildly- two hours after I posted my deconstruction of it last night, the post received 1,600 hits. That was between 10:00 and midnight, no less. This morning it is climbing rapidly over 2,000. Only a few times in five years has a post I published garnered so much attention so quickly. (Man spends his savings in advance of the rapture, Comet Elenin, Sideways necklace, and Ghost Horse of Tahrir Square). As always, my goal is not just to report what is happening, but how to critically think about it through the filter of a biblical worldview.

Further reading

This blogger did a good job of deconstructing it too.

Posted in ads, facebook, greasemonkey, youtube

Removing ads from Facebook and Youtube, and profanity filter

If you are like me, appealing to the Spirit for ever more sanctification, this will mean that you are increasingly sensitive to the things of the world being evil and eternities apart from God’s holy standard. I can’t think of what it must have been like for Jeremiah or Paul to endure seeing and being around evil every day. Paul was upset a lot of the time, and Jeremiah simply wept. How about Jesus, who was totally holy and sinless, being amid all the earth’s sin! Ow! What He endured for us!

In my own way, I also am aggrieved by sin. I hate seeing profanity, looking at television commercials that are licentious even if the program I’m watching is clean. Facebook and Youtube have become crowded with ads that are sometimes not too healthy to see. Though I’m careful to follow clean speaking people on Twitter, occasionally they will retweet something that has a curse word in it. It is all the more starkly vivid for having been absent from my life. It’s jarring when you see or hear those words. So what to do?

Greasemonkey. In the web browser Firefox, there is an add-on you can enable which will allow you to customize web pages to your liking, as long as you can find the script someone has written who feels the same as you. Apparently, a lot of people felt the same as I do about Facebook ads and Youtube ads, because there were a lot of scripts some people had written that wiped out the ads on both those pages. Simply adding greasemonkey does not stop the ads, it only provides the platform for adding scripts which will do that job for you.

Here is how to do it-

1. In Firefox, search for and then add-on “greasemonkey”
2. Restart Firefox
3. See monkey icon on top menu bar. Click once to see the drop down menu. Choices are ‘greasemonkey options, ‘manage scripts’, ‘get new script’, ‘web sites’ etc.
4. Click on “web sites’
5. This will take you to Greasemonkey’s website, From there you can search for scripts that other people have written which customize web pages in some way. Search for Youtube no ads, or Facebook no ads, whatever you want.
6. Of the search results, look at the reviews. I tend to like 4 and 5 star reviews. Once you find one that is satisfactory to you,
7. Click on ‘source code’ at the top of the page, which will bring you to the page of the actual script
8. Copy the script
9. Go back to Greasemonkey icon
10. Click on the monkey and click on “new user script”
11. A pop up will come up, allowing you to name it. I named mine No ads Facebook HA HA HA. Lol. Then at the bottom of the popup it asks “add from clipboard? and say yes.
12. That is it! The script is now installed. The next time you go to your website that you just customized, it should be working. I have been ad-free on FB and Youtube for two days now and it is a relief!

It literally only took me half an hour from not knowing Greasemonkey existed to having installed three new scripts and no more ads.

As for the profanity filter, that took a little tweaking because of the unintended consequence. LOL. Get this- I was happy knowing I was not going to see any more profanity. Then I went to the John MacArthur Grace to You page to listen to a devotional about the use of the word raca in Matthew 5:22. It was titled “*** and the Name Caller.” Huh? Oh, I get it, the word the asterisks were blotting out was hell.

It turned out that hell is used a lot in my own writing (which the profanity filter blotted out,) and on others’ Christian websites, not as a curse but when using the word to describe the place. I went back into the userscript, found the word hell that it was banning, and deleted it fromthe script. Problem solved.

Except not.

Later, I was googling “clean television shows” and one result popped up in someone’s recommended list that looked like this

“The *** Van *** Show”


Oh, I get it. Dick Van Dyke. Hm, two more banned words in the script, apparently. HA HA I found a clean tv show that my profanity filter wouldn’t spell out the title of. Irony!

Oh well, still needs tweaking I guess. Obviously there are two meanings to some words that can be used as a curse. If this gets too onerous I can edit the script. Other than that, so far so good!

I had mentioned this on my Facebook account and others had asked me to explain how I did it so I thought maybe here also would be a help to someone. I think you can use greasemonkey with Safari and one or two other browsers, but not Chrome. You can look it up.

I have seen no ads on FB nor Youtube since I installed it and I could no be happier. Oh, eventually FB and YT will likely write a script of their own to get ads back in, and then some layperson will write another script getting around that and post it. But maybe we will be raptured by then and never have to deal with unholiness again! Hey, a gal can hope…