Archive for November, 2004

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I’ve got a couple cool new things here at έχω ζωη. The first is that I finally got around to plunking down the $10 for justavapor.com. For now it will just forward you to the current address, but eventually that will be the real (and final) address.

The second thing is I wasted way too much time starting a store at CafePress. So if you’re looking for something to give for Christmas, I’ve got some t-shirts, bumper stickers, and other miscellaneous wares I’m hawking in traditional capitalistic fashion.

Proceeds go toward my honeymoon, which starts the day after my New Year’s Day wedding.

Notable Quotable

  • “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”

    Alexander Hamilton

By the Grace of God I Am What I Am

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.

His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:10

The way we continually talk about our own inability is an insult to the Creator. The deploring of our own incompetence is a slander against God for having overlooked us. Get into the habit of examining in the sight of God the things that sound humble before men, and you will be amazed at how staggeringly impertinent they are. ‘Oh, I shouldn’t like to say I am sanctified; I’m not a saint.’ Say that before God; and it means-‘No, Lord, it is impossible for You to save and sanctify me; there are chances I have not had; so many imperfections in my brain and body; no, Lord, it isn’t possible.’ That may sound wonderfully humble before men, but before God it is an attitude of defiance.

Again, the things that sound humble before God may sound the opposite before men. To say-‘Thank God, I know I am saved and sanctified,’ is in the sight of God the acme of humility, it means you have so completely abandoned yourself to God that you know He is true. Never bother your head as to whether what you say sounds humble before men or not, but always be humble before God, and let Him be all in all.

There is only one relationship that matters, and that is your personal relationship to a personal Redeemer and Lord. Let everything else go, but maintain that at all costs, and God will fulfil His purpose through your life. One individual life may be of priceless value to God’s purpose, and yours may be that life.

Understanding Tax Cuts

This is one of my favorite email forwards. Snopes debunks the myths of its authorship, but I like it none-the-less.

Sometimes politicians, journalists and the liberal left exclaim; “It’s Just a tax cut for the rich!” and it is just accepted to be fact. But what does that really mean? Just in case you are not completely clear on this issue, I hope the following will help. Please read it carefully. Let’s put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand.

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

“Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20.” Dinner for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But, what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?’ They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to eat their meal. So, the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,” but he got $10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than me!”

“That’s true”, shouted the seventh man! “Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison! “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start eating overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

Tivo No Mo?

I’ve been a huge Tivo fan since I got my DirecTV Tivo about three years ago. I often joked when I first got it that buying a Tivo is almost like joining a cult. It was so cool that I was evangelizing for Tivo all the time. I got several friends to buy Tivos, and they each got several people to buy them too.

Now I’m hearing that Tivo is considering measures that would affect it’s most popular features. I rarely watch commercials any more because of Tivo. I will wait until about 15 minutes after a show has started if it’s a half hour long and a half hour if it’s an hour long show before watching it so I can skip the ads. Tivo now wants to make it much harder to get away with not seeing ads. They also want to make it possible to delete shows and movies from people’s recorders automatically if they keep them too long. Not cool!

I originally got DirecTV because it was the only way to get both Fox News and TechTV where I lived. I had just finished college in Fargo, and my parents live in the North Twin Cities Metro. I could get Fox News at their house on cable and TechTV in Fargo, but neither had both. I watched both more than anything else.

Later I got Tivo because Circuit City had a DirecTV Tivo for $100. I loved it from the start.

Now, if Tivo screws up and does this, I will not only get rid of my two Tivo’s, I’ll probably consider going back to cable. TechTV is going to hell real fast, and seems to show no desire to improve, and if you combine that with Tivo seeming to want to do the same thing, there may be no more reason to stay with DirecTV.

My only hope at this point as far as keeping Tivo and DirecTV is that someone will right new software for the Tivo that I can put on my boxes. They are really just computers running a modified version of Linux, so it shouldn’t be that hard. Currently one of my Tivo’s is hacked to give me a few features not available on a factory Tivo and both have hard drive hacks. My older one has the original 40 GB hard drive, as well as a 120 GB drive and the newer one has a 120 GB drive.

If they screw it up too much, I will drop DirecTV, get cable, and build my own Tivo. Freevo is a project that provides free PVR software for home-built Digital Video Recorders. That may be the more attractive way to go.

Tivo might just end up out of business if they screw up too much. According to this article over 61% of Tivos are DirecTV Tivos. I plan on letting DirecTV know that I will drop their service upon completion of my current service contract if Tivo makes the changes they are considering. If enough DirecTV customers agree with me, it should put more than enough pressure on Tivo to back off. They may be paid by advertisers to make it harder for viewers to skip commercials, but it ultimately doesn’t matter if there are no Tivo viewers.

Notable Quotable

  • “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

    Thomas Jefferson

The Absoluteness of Jesus Christ

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.

He shall glorify Me. – John 16:14

The pietistic movements of to-day have none of the rugged reality of the New Testament about them; there is nothing about them that needs the death of Jesus Christ, all that is required is a pious atmosphere, and prayer and devotion. This type of experience is not supernatural nor miraculous, it did not cost the passion of God, it is not dyed in the blood of the Lamb, not stamped with the hall-mark of the Holy Ghost. It has not that mark on it which makes men say, as they look with awe and wonder-‘That is the work of God Almighty.’ That and nothing else is what the New Testament talks about.

The type of Christian experience in the New Testament is that of personal, passionate devotion to the Person of Jesus Christ. Every other type of Christian experience, so called, is detached from the Person of Jesus. There is no regeneration, no being born again into the Kingdom in which Christ lives, but only the idea that He is our Pattern. In the New Testament Jesus Christ is Saviour long before He is Pattern. To-day He is being despatched as the Figurehead of a religion, a mere Example. He is that, but He is infinitely more; He is salvation itself. He is the Gospel of God.

Jesus said-“When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, . . . He shall glorify Me.” When I commit myself to the revelation made in the New Testament, I receive from God the gift of the Holy Spirit Who begins to interpret to me what Jesus did, and does in me subjectively what Jesus Christ did for me objectively.

Notable Quotable

  • “It is therefore recommended… to set apart Thursday the eighteenth day of December next, for solemn Thanksgiving and praise, that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor…”

    Samuel Adams – November 1, 1777

The Secret Of Spiritual Coherence

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Galatians 6:14

When a man is first born again, he becomes incoherent, there is an amount of unrelated emotion about him, unrelated phases of external things. In the apostle Paul there was a strong steady coherence underneath, consequently he could let his external life change as it liked and it did not distress him because he was rooted and grounded in God. Most of us are not spiritually coherent because we are more concerned about being coherent externally. Paul lived in the basement; the coherent critics live in the upper storey of the external statement of things, and the two do not begin to touch each other. Paul’s consistency was down in the fundamentals. The great basis of his coherence was the agony of God in the Redemption of the world, viz., the Cross of Jesus Christ.

Re-state to yourself what you believe, then do away with as much of it as possible, and get back to the bedrock of the Cross of Christ. In external history the Cross is an infinitesimal thing; from the Bible point of view it is of more importance than all the empires of the world. If we get away from brooding on the tragedy of God upon the Cross in our preaching, it produces nothing. It does not convey the energy of God to man; it may be interesting but it has no power. But preach the Cross, and the energy of God is let loose. “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” “We preach Christ crucified.”

Notable Quotable

  • “Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

    George Washington