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The day I wrote that last post, I had just spent 3 days learning to read 1 Samuel 17 (David and Goliath) in 3 different Chinese versions. I don't believe in writing a new character 20 times in a row like a schoolchild in a copy book, but I do have to look up the story behind its hieroglyphics on, and be able to write it without looking and be satisfied with my calligraphy at least once.

I had just finished all three versions and was speed reading through the texts one last time, not having to look things up anymore but having fun jotting down any word I suspected I couldn't write from memory yet.

That still slowed me down a bit to notice things I'd never felt before in the story.

And it occured to me that David at some point finally decided, “This is not happening.”

When he arrived at the front line to find his brothers, he had this crucial cultural background, his head would have been full of the stories of the past (all that time composing things on his harp while out with the sheep).

It says David RAN to the front line to find his brothers. He probably thought it was his lucky day to be there when something finally looked happening. Like most young men who aren't preoccupied with their own mortality he would probably would have been more excited than not at the shouting as the battle lines were being drawn up.

And then Goliath walks out, and David hears what he says, and he sees the melee it's producing, and his course of action is practically handed to him by what everybody's saying, but I feel like he got mad. Yes, he heard all the other stuff about a wife and no more taxes, and yes he was lucky to have the experience under his belt that enabled him to do something about his anger, but it feels like Goliath's insult to God is what stuck under his skin.

And if he was even a little bit mad, it would have been an anger that burns away fear, that makes it a relief to speak up, but at the same time he's not enraged beyond thought, he's actually a little cool-headed asking the people around him a couple of times to make sure what the situation is. When his older brother accuses him, he has the swiftness of mind to defend himself immediately, “I didn't come up here for no reason,” as one version puts it. (Dad did send me here.)

But I think he mainly got mad, and decided it wasn't going go on anymore, because when he's telling Saul about rescuing the lamb from the lion or bear it felt like he would have been thinking, “Oh no you don't. Not on my watch.”

And for the first time in reading that story my heart started to pound as he took off the armor and picked up five smooth stones.

News Link: Fractional Reserves and the Fed

A tough read, but if you put even three-quarters of your mind to it, awesome! So what does it have to do with my daily life? Almost every single day I think about it because I have to do the grocery shopping for my family, and every time I see something I would dearly love to eat, and notice that it is now 4x the price it used to be, in my mind I lay that squarely at the door of whoever is printing up the money supply, but whenever I sigh and say, "Inflation :P" to the clerk, I have not met one person who does anything but stare at me blankly. Anyway, I remember when durian cost 30-something (TWD, not USD, LOL) a jin and how one year I refused to buy it when it went up to 40-something a jin, and today it is 139 a jin. Yes, the Fed is responsible for me not having durian to eat, and so am I for not finding a way to step outside that game.

So why read the article? What can I do about it? So that (1) when I hear about the State of Texas thinking about making it's own gold-backed currency, I realize what a huge deal that would be ... so that (2) I don't contribute to the morass of ignorance that might kill a deal like that ... so that (3) did I ever find a way to use an alternate form of currency in my daily life with impunity, I would do my part to step outside the game, the game beauracrats play with what I think of as my money but in reality is a pile of fiat money, paper that can lose half its power with a flip of the switch on the printing press.

But I wouldn't even be thinking those things or be ready for those things, if I didn't know what that article was talking about.

So yes, I feel a deep CONNECTION to this article, right in the area of my stomach, every time I see durian no less.

Postscript (2019.04.19):

Actually it wasn't the durian that got to me first.

For years, every time I passed little old grandmas pushing recycle carts on the road picking up scraps to sell I'd think about inflation, about how they were the ones that inflating the money supply was hurting the most when they needed their pennies to go the farthest.

And ordinary people, unable to afford non-junk food and non-poisoned food. Because that's all organic food is, food that hasn't had a dropper bottle of poison held over it. Call a spade a spade. There's poisoned food and then there's non-poisoned food.

Managed to start commenting over on the sidebar, not just linking to articles. But I'll still link with no comment if the only other choice is not linking at all.

A couple months ago a friend mentioned to me how he thought that all God's changes in law made it seem like he was experimenting on us like lab rats.

I wrote him afterward (edited for typos and readability):

“I don't think all the changes in God's instructions through history are God experimenting with us. I think it is like a parent guiding a child through different exercises in math, for instance.

For instance, God knew when he let the first people live into their 900's that he would have to reduce their lifespan [...] after Noah's flood because they had only used their long lives for evil.

But he still let mankind go through that experience and find out for themselves, otherwise we would be telling God, “God, how do you know we can't handle longer lifespans?”

Now he can say, “I DID give you longer lives at the beginning so you would understand why I gave you shorter lives later.” Because mankind really likes to find out the hard way (or you could say the concrete or experiential way) what is right and wrong. “Don't tell me, show me.” God: “OK, I'm showing you.”

So anytime you think God could be experimenting, please leave room for the possibility that he already knew the outcome, he is just working through the steps anyway for [the sake of] our knowledge, not his.”

He sent this back:

Number 2 I felt was unfair of Epicurus, and wrote back:

“Is he able but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.”

Every parent puts things into 2 groups:

Group 1: Things you have to let your child learn to take care of on his own or he will [grow up] weak. (Children who learn not to care when idots mock them - good. Children who were protected so much that when they grow up and go to college, they don't know how to wash their clothes or feed themselves - bad. Or children who can't deal with anybody who has a different opinion from them - bad.)

Group 2: Things you have to step in and protect your child from because to let your child try to learn to deal with it would put him at too high a risk of death.

Every parent has to decide what level of suffering/challenge they will let their children go through for the sake of their future health and independence, and what suffering/challenge would be too dangerous to allow.

Nobody calls parents [malevolent] for making their children face painful but healthy challenges.

What if everything we consider Group 2 [things too dangerous to let us learn to deal with], God considers Group 1 [things we have to learn to deal with anyway]?

US Trip - Day 1

It had been a full 8 years since I last saw my relatives in 2010. Recently I'd been wondering how to set up another visit, and then my Gramma developed cellulitis (festering oozy sores all over her lower legs) and there was no more dilemma. In March 2019 we were finally able to fly to the States for a 30-day stay... my mom, my younger sister and I.

We're back now, so I'll try to do a better job of blogging the trip this time around, and if I succeed I may tackle the 2010 trip too!

Day 1 - March 5

Thank you for your prayers! Shortly after takeoff the pilot announced that there would be turbulence for the entire flight. I hate roller-coasters and certainly didn't want to be stuck on one for 10 hours! Thankfully it was not as bad as we feared.

My Uncle George (seventh child in my mom's family) and his wife, Aunt Melissa, picked us up at the airport, and we had supper at Cracker Barrel on the way to their house.

The Seventh Child:

Day 2 coming next...



第一天 - 3月5號

感謝神!起飛不久, 飛行員公布說我們一路會有氣流。我已經很怕過山車,十個小時怎麼忍耐?感謝神,不是我想的那麼可怕。



News Link: Sleeping is Now a Crime

What about all those awesome youtubers living in their cars and blogging about it? What about people who can't afford Tiny Houses but do just fine in their cars? Even my uncle who has a house will sometimes study and nap in his car in the beautiful outdoors.

A bad law like this is what jury nullification is for.

... the most powerful vote ... is when you are acting as a jury member during a courtroom trial. At this point, “the buck stops” with you! It is in this setting that each JUROR has MORE POWER than the President, all of Congress, and all of the judges combined!

Congress can legislate (make law), the President or some other bureaucrat can make an order or issue regulations, and judges may instruct or make a decision, but no JUROR can ever be punished for voting “Not Guilty!” Any juror can, with impunity, choose to disregard the instructions of any judge or attorney in rendering his vote. If only one JUROR should vote “Not Guilty” for any reason, there is no conviction and no punishment at the end of the trial.

Thus, those acting in the name of government must come before the common man to get permission to enforce law. (Citizen's Rule Book)

Is this legal?


“The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.” John Jay, 1st Chief Justice U.S. supreme Court, 1789

“The jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts.” Samuel Chase, U.S. supreme Court Justice, 1796, Signer of the unanimous Declaration

“The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both law and fact.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S. supreme Court Justice, 1902

“The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided.” Harlan F. Stone, 12th Chief Justice U.S. supreme Court, 1941

“The pages of history shine on instances of the jury’s exercise of its prerogative to disregard instructions of the judge...” U.S. vs. Dougherty, 473 F 2nd 1113, 1139. (1972)


The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and any statute, to be valid, must be in agreement. It is impossible for a law, which violates the Constitution to be valid. This is succinctly stated as follows:

“All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.” Marbury vs. Madison, 5 US (2 Cranch) 137, 174, 176, (1803)

“When rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 US 436 p. 491.

“An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.” Norton vs. Shelby County 118 US 425 p. 442

“The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it.

“No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.” 16 Am Jur 2nd, Sec 177 late 2d, Sec 256

This is why I post on my own blog instead of sharing through Facebook.


If you want to know what's happening with me, come to my blog where you will see everything, not just what Facebook chooses to show you.


In addition I want to learn how to host my own blog as soon as possible. Not just rely on Google's to make my blog, in case they feel like axing my blog in the future.


They can still tweek the Google search engine to deboost websites they don't like, but everybody who already knows me can still access my website and spread it by word of mouth on their own websites.


This still leaves the problem of your own Internet provider keeping a list of black-listed sites and making them slower or often impossible to access, like Facebook does in the video above, but hey, you take as many steps as you can toward freedom and leave the rest to God, time and circumstance.


So this is what you can do:


1. Change from Facebook to a blog.

1. 離開FB,開始用博客。

This way there is nobody deciding which of your articles they want to bury.


With a blog it's all or nothing. Your blog platform has to decide if it's worth axing your whole blog, they can't selectively censor your posts.


Also, the more people vote with their feet, the more FB has to back off and shape up for the people who don't leave.

越多人這樣抗議,FB越會有控制自己尊敬大家的反應, 這也會幫助不能離開FB的人。

2. Next, learn to host your own blog, so there is no blog platform provider to ax your blog.

2. 可以的話,還有一步驟:學習託管你自己的博客預防博客平台可以刪除你的博客。

Even if search engines like Google take the trouble to blacklist your blog so new people can't find it when they Google it, everybody who is already reading your blog can keep on reading it and they can spread it by word of mouth on their own blogs.


3. That leaves internet providers who could make it so a person can't get through to a webpage.

3. 剩下只有互聯網服務提供商可以阻礙人打開你的網站。

But if people have already sent a message  to FB by changing to blogs, and sent a message to blog platforms by learning to self host, this climate sends a message to the internet providers as well, as well al making it safer for those who can't switch over, for whatever reason.


"Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32‭-‬33 NASB)

凡在人面前認我的,我在我天上的父面前也必認他; 凡在人面前不認我的,我在我天上的父面前也必不認他。 (馬太福音 10:32‭-‬33 CUNP-神)

We often think about not being afraid to die for Christ, when a shooter is asking if one is a christian, for instance.


But we don't think about how we deny God in laziness and apathy, when we read books that deny God and then never pick up the Bible to give God equal time to defend himself.


A person might think he'd never be such a coward as to deny Christ at gunpoint. But at bookpoint he long ago surrendered, when he stopped caring about giving God a chance to answer and no longer reads God's Word.


Especially when one has already given allegiance to Christ. If God does not exist, or Christ was deluded, then that is one thing. But when allegiance has been pledged, then the least that Christ deserves is a chance to answer his accusers in his Word.


It's like denying God by gag order. Gag orders can be used unfairly to tie the hands of whistleblowers from presenting their cases. And we gag God when we give ear to opposing messages without also giving ear to God's defense.


He put his defense into a single unchanging book. It shouldn't be that hard to reread it in the light of every new argument.


If after weighing both sides you judge God to be wrong, that may mean either that...


1. The God side IS wrong.

1. 神真的是錯的,或者

Or it is also possible that...

2. It may mean only that your evaluation faculties were not up to the job at the time.

2. 可能只是你當時的評估能力並不能勝任評估這項工作。

But at least this way you tried to be fair and not prejudiced.


Can you suggest a better way for me to have translated this? Leave a comment. Thanks to my sister Ling for collaborating on this translation.

Conversation with a Buddhist weighed down by Buddhism ...

I met a Buddhist lady who felt that the one big difference between Buddhism and other religions was that Buddhism was the most tolerant and inclusive. She said the churches she had visited always claimed Christianity as the ONLY TRUE RELIGION, labeling all the rest as wrong.

She told how some ladies had knocked on her door with a booklet, and she asked them, “If I have extra money to donate, I have no problem donating to a Christian orphanage, but would you Christians donate to a Buddhist orphanage?” They told her directly “no”, and left without sharing their booklet with her.

I told her about how from the beginning of creation, from Adam and Eve and the very first family, God had told people how to worship him, because he had a particular purpose for it, wanting it to represent Jesus who would come and die for the world, and how the Old Testament foreshadowed the New Testament, but how that from the very first family on earth, and all down through history, people were always walking away from what God wanted and inventing their own man-made worship, which could not accomplish the purpose God meant for it.

She was nodding her head and at some point mentioned how she was confused by all the different varieties of Christianity.

I told her that was why we were so careful to do only what we found in the Bible, so that we were not adding rules that God never wanted people to be burdened with -- even to the point that other groups would call us narrow and restrictive -- but we did so to keep from adding burdens God never commanded men to carry, and to keep from contributing to the bewildering array of flavors that she herself had just said made her worry that she would never know if she had found a true or fake Christianity.

She nodded her head, saying this was true of every religion she knew of, people adding stuff and leaving the original.

She said she had wished for a miracle like Christians always seemed to be talking about, telling God she would believe in him if he showed her one, but had not gotten one.

Wanting to relieve her mind, I told her that though we firmly believed that God would give us help in answer to prayer, the Bible did not teach that miracles were happening today. I told how Jesus did miracles to prove who he was, how the apostles also did miracles and could transfer this power to others, but how now that the Bible was finished and confirmed, and all the apostles dead, there was no one left alive to do a genuine miracle.

She said she was very happy to have met me, and that she was deeply burdened, believing in reincarnation, and conscientiously doing many good works to work off her debt from past lives, but oh the strain from never being able to know when it would all be paid back. She said, “You can’t remember any of it so you can never know how much you have left to pay back, and dear god what is the meaning of this wretched life. It is all making me hurt here, here, and here, in my body. I will never know when it is all paid back. The endless scripture readings I attend to pay back an unknowable cloud of victims. My husband says to just throw it all over, but if I do that, the people I have wronged may come back to haunt me.”

“And then I think about going over to Christianity but my husband says they burden people with sin, too, so then I think wouldn’t it be better if there were no religion and no sin, because it hurts me.”

I said, “So if reincarnation is not true, you are carrying this burden for nothing. If reincarnation is not true, you only have to deal with the sin from this life.”

“But I grew up believing in reincarnation,” she said, “like you grew up in Christianity. I can’t change and STOP believing in reincarnation, just like you can’t change and START believing in reincarnation.”

I said our father raised us to believe in the Bible because of its proof, how our father had told us never to do what some people do -- saying that even if Christianity wasn’t true they would believe in it anyway because it was “comforting” – but he had told us never to do that because truth was important. “The Bible says, ‘Know the truth and the truth will set you free.’” I said.

“Oh yes!” she said, and wanted to know if she was wrong to be searching for peace in a religion.

“There’s good fear and bad fear, but the main thing is ‘What is real?’” I said, “If someone says there’s a lion over there and I say, ‘That news makes me uncomfortable, I’m going to forget I heard it,’ that’s not going to save me from the lion. Or if someone says there is a lion when there isn’t, then I’m carrying a fear for nothing. It’s not whether you are comfortable or not that matters, but ‘Is there a lion or not?’”

“If reincarnation is true, fine, I’ll accept the burden,” I said, “but if it’s not, there’s no meaning to the burden…. Peace is important but if someone says for me to kill my mother or be killed, I will say go ahead and kill me then, because some things are more important than life and peace.”

“I know all that,” she said.

I continued, “So if you search for truth, peace will come with it, but if you look for peace and say truth is not important, then you will never find peace.”

“Ah yes!” she said.

**   **   **

Soon after this conversation and others, I attended brother Roger Campbell’s gospel meeting and filmed him answering 3 questions this lady had texted me to ask him: “Motives for Belief”, “Reincarnation”, and “If There Is Only One True God, Why So Many Religions?”

This article was originally written January 2019 

My Yoke is Easy and My Burden is Light

One of my friends thinks God is too restrictive and burdensome. One day I told her:

Look, the Bible says you are going to carry a yoke.

But only God's yoke will be the lightest with nothing false tacked on.

Because you will have a yoke, even if it's just your own best guess made up of the most successful influences on you.

Your parents will try to tell you what to believe. So will your school, government, media, and all the latest gurus, psychologists, and philosophers.

In the end you will trick yourself into believing things God never said you have to believe, carrying burdens God never said you have to carry.

God isn't giving you his standard to burden you but to set you free from all the false rules out there.

That's why Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)

This article was originally written 2018.07.05

Freedom to Make Up Rules Means Less Freedom

The other day I saw two ladies in the park who I assumed were Mormons looking for people to talk to. I was concerned for the friends I was with, and thought about what I would say if my friends ever asked me about Mormonism.

I decided I would have said, “They bind rules on people that God has not bound. They claim God wants you not to do certain things that God actually never forbade. Saying things in the name of God that are not true makes one a liar. In the Judgment Day God is going to say, 'Did I tell you to tell people this or that in my name? Did you tell people I said they couldn't do thus and so?'”

In the past, when asked about any kind of fake Christianity, my automatic reaction was to start off with, “Well, they don't agree with the Bible. They teach a lot of stuff that's not in the Bible.”

However, one of the friends I was with that day doesn't agree with the Bible either, and if I had responded with, “Well, they're not really teaching the Bible” that might have flown right past him.

At the same time I knew he believed in a God, so I felt he would more readily understand the concept that these people are claiming to speak for God and making up rules that God never told them to chain people with.

At any rate I was tired of hearing, “Well, everybody has their own personal standard of right and wrong, so you can never tell somebody they are right or wrong, you know as long as you're not hurting anybody, all religions teach people to be good.”

I thought I would just ask point blank, “Are they making up rules that God never made, and attempting to curtail my freedom? I can most certainly call them out on that.”

In the past, I did tell a Mormon on the subway, “Well, I believe verse such and such contradicts your doctrine of such and such.” The next time I meet a Mormon I will try this rebuttal instead:

“I believe in Galatians 1:8 where it says,
'But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.'

That angel gave Joseph Smith a vastly different gospel. So according to Galatians 1:8 shouldn't Joseph Smith and that angel be accursed for giving us an entirely different gospel? You're trying to bind rules on me that God never commanded.”

This article was originally written 2018.07.05

Will Those Who Are Saved Be Few? Clip 1 得救的人少嗎?

Here is the first installment of Brother Kuan's lesson "Are the Saved Few in Number?" It's a video I show all my students, because he is Chinese and I like the way he uses Chinese thought patterns (and numerous personal stories!) to present the authority of the Bible; the idea of not adding to, or taking away from, or changing it; and some of the differences between denominationalism and the Bible.

Click here to jump to a transcript in Chinese, English, or learn English with the Bilingual transcript.

That last post actually WAS written just after 11 PM and I pressed "publish" just after midnight ... in the teeth of a next day so packed with things to do I had tried to still my racing heart while writing out the schedule for it.

I am terrified of posting. I see my blog as a growing but finished book, so how can I post anything that isn't perfect and ready to go in a finished book? This is why I never post. Or but once a year.  

My blog is not a finished book. It is a draft in progress. If I ever want to make a book out of it, I can pick and choose and rewrite then.

Now, Lord willing, my blog will be broken pieces I've forced myself to post.

Heaven forbid I should bore anyone with posting just to post but I will post the smallest particle of perfection I can eke time for.

Which means, instead of a single post with all the pictures for a trip in one post written up as one article, I may have to post only one picture of the trip per day. Horrible for a book. But not bad if I was doing Tumblr.

I will probably be asking myself at 11 PM:

How many minutes can you spare to post something right now? 30?






What can you post in 10 minutes?

Can you post a sentence? What about 3 sentences?

Could you post a paragraph? What about 2 or 3 paragraphs?

Is there a single photo you could post?

Even if I originally wanted all three paragraphs together in one article, maybe I can just post it a paragraph a day. I can always re-post it re-mixed with new material as the concept grows in my mind.

They Didn't Make It Up

Two good friends and I were listening to this nine-minute Roger Campbell video:

It's in Chinese, so below I have made an English transcript. If you just want to skip to the conversation we had because of this video, scroll down to the end of the translation:

Jesus Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant. As I said before, the content of the Bible is split up into two main sections. The first is called the Old Covenant. The second is called the New Covenant. Whose new covenant is it? It is Jesus' new covenant.

Please turn to 1 Corinthians 11, page 240. 240.

Please notice, when Jesus himself was living on this earth he was a Jew. Let me say that again. Jesus lived on this earth as a Jew.

The Jews at that time were under the Old Covenant law, called the Law of Moses. Why was it called the Law of Moses?. Because in the time of the Old Covenant, God spoke through a man called Moses to give the Jews his law. So it was called the Law of Moses.

I want to bring up two more facts. First, in Taiwan people think, "Jesus is not suited to us Asians." Why? "He's a Westerner." Actually, in fact, Jesus is not a Westerner. "No, Jesus is a Westerner!" Actually, in fact, Jesus is not a Westerner.

Jesus was born in Bethleham. Where is Bethleham? From Jerusalem to Bethleham is about 8 miles. Jerusalem and Bethleham belong to present-day Palestine. Palestine is located in the Middle East. Jesus is an Easterner!

"But his religion is Western, so his religion doesn't suit us Asians." Jesus established his church in Jerusalem. His church started in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is in Palestine. Palestine is in the Middle East.

Actually, in God's sight, people are not split up into Easterners and Westerners, Northerners, Southerners. People are people!

But don't misunderstand - when Jesus lived on this earth he was not a Westerner. Even though later more people in the West accepted him, his religion was not reserved for the East or the West.

So because Jesus was a Jew while living on this earth, because the Old Covenant law, the Law of Moses, was still in effect, so when Jesus was living on this earth he followed the Old Covenant law. Jesus himself followed the Old Covenant law.

But he used his blood to establish the New Covenant. On the night he was betrayed, the night before he was crucified, when he was together with his apostles in Jerusalem, he started his supper, called the Lord's Supper. This is the bread we eat and the grape juice we drink on Sunday.

Let's look at 1 Corinthians 11:24-25.
24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the NEW COVENANT in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
According to verse 25, the new covenant is established with Jesus' blood. So that's why it's called Jesus Christ's New Covenant.

Now all the people in the world are all under the teaching of Jesus. I just mentioned how Jesus told his disciples, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."

Please notice, the Old Covenant law, the Law of Moses, was given to the Israelites. But the teaching of the New Covenant is given to the people of the whole world.

But you say, "Mr. Campbell, it's not everybody that accepts it." We're not talking about whether they accept it or don't accept it. But God's plan, the will of God, is that everybody is under the teaching of Jesus.

So how do we know Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant? Please turn to Hebrews 8. Page 310. 310.

The author of Hebrews often compared the Old and New Covenants. What was the Old Covenant like, what is the New Covenant like. Let's notice Hebrews 8:6,7:
6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant ...
See, he is the mediator of a better covenant.
... which has been enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.
Please notice verse 7 mentions the first covenant and also mentions the second covenant. Now in the book of Hebrews, when the author of Hebrews mentions a first and second covenant, he's talking about the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.

So the author of Hebrews is constantly emphasizing that we have through Jesus a more beautiful [?], a better one. We have a better new covenant, better promises, a better mediator. According to verse 6, who is the mediator of the New Covenant? It's Jesus Christ. Please turn to Hebrews 9:15:
For this reason He ...
"He" is referring to Jesus.
For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
So this verse is very clear. Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant.

So brothers and sisters, friends, don't misunderstand. The Old Covenant law was a really great law. The law of Moses which God gave to the Israelites was a really great law. How do we know? Because it came from God, of course it was good. God knew what the Israelites needed in the time of the Old Covenant, so he gave them the Law of Moses.

But when Jesus came and established his church, God knew that the teaching his church needed and the teaching of the Old Covenant were two different things. So Jesus came to be the mediator of the New Covenant. And don't forget, when Jesus was crucified, he nailed the Old Covenant teachings to the cross.

From that point on, the Old Covenant law, the Old Covenant teachings, were no longer in effect. All people everywhere are now under the teaching of Christ's New Covenant.

About three-fourths of the way through, something in this video or our discussion prompted one of my friends to say:

"So all these rules were made up by men, Jesus's disciples writing down what he said AFTER he was gone, but the rules were really made up by his disciples, like Confucius' disciples writing everything down 100 years later."

"No!" I said, and showed them what Jesus said would happen after he left:
"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you." (John 14:16,17)

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." (John 14:26)

"When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning. (John 15:26-27)

"And especially this verse!" I told them, and we continued reading:

"But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.... But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you." (John 16:5,6,13-15)

Then I showed them how just before Jesus went back to heaven he told them to go back to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit:

The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.... (Acts 1:1-13)

Then we jumped to the day of Pentecost when ten days later the Holy Spirit came with a rushing wind and everybody could hear them speaking in their own language:

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.

They were amazed and astonished, saying, "Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs -we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God." And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" But others were mocking and saying, "They are full of sweet wine."

But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: "Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 'AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,' God says, 'THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.'

"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know - this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power...."

Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"

Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!"

So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. (Acts 2:1-24,37-43)

"So the apostles did miracles, too," my friend said.

I said, "Yes, to prove that their words came from God. When the last apostle died and the Bible was all finished, the miracles couldn't continue very long after. For instance, if you wanted to be able to do miracles, an apostle would have to come lay his hands on you. [Acts 8 - we'd discussed it before.] You could then do miracles but you could never pass on that ability. So when the last apostle died, and the last person who could do miracles died, the age of miracles stopped. Otherwise if I told you I had a new book to add to the Bible and I could back it up with an undeniable miracle that even atheists would accept, then we'd have to add that book to the Bible."

We went back to listening to the video, when I suddenly paused it again and said, "What the apostles wrote had to have come from God, because in the day of judgment he's going to have the Bible and the book of our life lying side by side and he's going to compare the two. (Rev. 20:12) If the apostles didn't get it straight, if it was only their own thinking, if they didn't have the Holy Spirit like Jesus said; how could God judge us in the day of judgment? 'God, what are you doing judging me when it was your apostles who got it all wrong. How dare you judge me.' How could Jesus say his words would judge us (John 12:48) if he couldn't even guarantee that his disciples would write them down correctly?"

And then we finished watching the video.

Sorry for the video-audio lag, I would try to recut it, but ffmpeg doesn't seem to work on my present system (Sabayon Linux) and I can not find a website to walk me through how to get the avconv equivalent of "ffmpeg -i -ss 00:29:59.0 -t 00:09:14.0 -vcodec copy -acodec copy". Any pointers would be greatly appreciated in the comments.

Chinese New Year 2012

For the first time we had two more for Chinese New Year. My second brother brought his wife and my first brother brought his fiance!

My brother was in Taichung to attend a church event, so he and his fiance rode back down with my other brother and his wife on Tuesday, and they all got in at 1 AM. We did not open gifts that night!

My second brother and his wife.

My first brother and his fiance.

They had announced their engagement a few days before.

Chinese New Year

Chinese Lunar New Year is not a fixed date on the solar calendar and can come any time from January through March. (This year it came on January 23).

It's not a private little holiday for the immediate family but like Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one. All the married sons and their families travel home to make the family circle complete again.

By nightfall on Chinese New Year's Eve, all businesses have shut down, the streets are empty, and everybody is home at the big family reunion dinner, prepared to stay up all night celebrating. They do not give gifts but the young people especially get red envelopes of cash.

The next day is the first of the lunar new year. The department stores will probably be open to get everybody's Red Envelope cash, but most other types of businesses will stay closed.

The second day of the lunar new year is when all married daughters and their families return home to see their parents, further congesting the roads with travelers.

On a bad year the Chinese New Year falls on a Thursday and everybody has to go back to work on Monday, with only four days off. This was a very good year with Chinese New Year falling on a Monday and giving most people nine days off!

The Next Day

showing old family photos

Showing my little sister how to play her recorder.

Eating spaghetti.

By late afternoon we were finally ready to open presents and they told me to pass out the gifts. It was my first time to be in charge of that and I hadn't known it was so fun keeping track of who was ready for their next gift and timing them to the situation.

The Next Day

My sister-in-law's sister came down to pick up a homeless cat for a friend and dropped in to see us that morning.

My father doing what he loves best, talking Bible.


I agreed to babysit the cherub because his parents said I didn't have to teach him anything, they just wanted him to have exposure to the English spoken in our family. I had visions of reading him all my Narnia books.

The cherub had his own ideas. Being three, he does not read and he sees life as The World According to Cherub.

When he first walked in the door he screamed if you even looked at him. Eardrum-piercing shrieks that left your ear sort of silent for a second. If you were lucky he wouldn't throw himself to the floor and start trying to inflict brain damage.

About the second day, I decided not only to buy ear plugs but I also decided no more. The instant he shrieked I whisked him over to a deep armchair and waited him out, sending his mom out of sight so he wouldn't keep screaming just for her benefit. I did not care how long he screamed. Holding him in the chair was the most restful part of the class.

I was doing this because in the Chinese culture they fully expect the teacher to train the child and make the child behave, they figure that's why he goes to school, so I have to constantly fight my instinct to keep my hands off and defer to the mother, waiting for her to take care of it.

I had also seen Sister Wang do something like this with her grandson. He had been fed, burped, changed and was screaming in anger at his nap. Sister Wang just kept him on her shoulder peacefully patting his back and saying, "Pa zhe, pa zhe". Every time he pushed away screaming, she would cluck at him sympathetically, telling him what a great singing voice he would have, and putting him back on her shoulder over and over ... FOR 2 HOURS.

Halfway through it was starting to get to his dad, who got up to take his son, but Sister Wang airily waved her son-in-law away, saying if you stopped the process in the middle he would never learn. Her daughter and son-in-law went out somewhere soon after that. Meanwhile the baby eventually tired himself out and took the nap.

Sister Wang told me she had done that with all her kids so that when she needed a free hand, all she had to say was "Pa zhe" and they would curl up and sleep and she wouldn't have to worry about them for that moment.

Anyway, back to the cherub. He peed the chair but I ignored it. When he had tired himself out after 15 minutes and was silent I let him out of the chair. It only took a few times before he would calm down real fast (to get his mother back in the room!) and even suck his thumb contentedly in peace, like he appreciated the time to sort things out in his mind and try being good again. (He even stopped peeing the chair after a few days because it wasn't going to get him out of there any faster.)

I admire energetic children. I have seen people who get nervous with children in the house. That is not me. When the cherub tries to talk to me I listen to him intently, all shiny-eyed at his potential. Even when I was holding him in the chair and letting him scream it out, I was keeping up a steady stream of soft patter about the way all this would make him a stronger, more helpful grown-up in the future, and the great things he would go on to accomplish with his energy.

He also had a habit of smacking himself in the head every time he wanted to get attention or get something because then an adult would rush over offering whatever they could to get him to stop hitting himself, and I stopped that real fast too by putting him in the chair a couple times, and not letting him hit himself while in time-out. I didn't want him growing up to be a cutter.

However, a few weeks later I was dreading the class one morning because it wasn't going to be held at home or in a park but in a nearby department store for the first time.

I had tried to get away from chasing the cherub aimlessly around our house (to his credit he loves helping me "wash dishes" and put vegetables in the juicer, I believe in including little ones in everything even if it takes twice as long ... it saves time further on!) and now I would be chasing him around from aisle to aisle trying vainly to get him to repeat the names of the items on the shelves ... and the first time he threw that first testing tantrum in a new environment where was I going to let him scream it out?

At first the cherub's mom and I did follow him through the aisles. He got one of the wheeled suitcases on display to drag through the store and his mom told me they'd said it was OK for him to do that. Well, if his mom and the store people had said it was OK what could I do? I just made sure he didn't bump into stuff or people.

Up to that point the class was fairly easy because we were walking and I was doing something nice and logical like having his mom repeat in English everything she wanted to tell him or me and putting it in the tape recorder. But when I saw his mom trying to look at stuff on the fly and herded him toward her, he got irritated and screamed.

I immediately strode off with the piece of luggage and put it back in its place on the other side of the store. He never screamed again.

But see, he knows from experience I mean business. I do not keep promising him more and more stuff to get him to stop screaming. No, I take more and more stuff away, and if he screams about that I put him in a chair.

His mom took him to get a shopping cart telling me it made him go slower and he wouldn't run. The sight of him with the cart made things start clicking in my brain. Children are supposed to follow their parents through the store!

I kept my hand on the cart and made him follow his mom wherever she wanted to go, whatever she wanted to look at, except when she didn't know what she wanted to look at and followed him. But as we were watching his mom look at slippers it was suddenly clear-cut in my brain. What if he was my little kid and she was a friend I was going shopping with ... how would I make a son of mine behave? how had I made my baby sister behave when she was little? ... and then it was a lot more obvious how to react to anything he did.

There were still some moments when she had the cart and I had to keep him from running on ahead, my hand ready to grab his jacket, since she thought it was OK for him to wander freely without holding her hand.

I told her I know she wants him to get exercise but any time I was with them he was going to have to hold somebody's hand in the store. As I told my mom later, if you have to constantly worry about your kid breaking into a run and leaving you in the store, then he's too young to be walking about without his hand held. Now he seems to love holding my hand everywhere.

There were some more episodes in the food court when the cherub finished eating before his mom and got up to wander around. I put him back in his chair, with expected results, and I did not care how many people in the food court stared at us. But he was a lot nicer the next time we went out.

He wants to be good and he needs consistent boundaries to base his decisions on, and I want his mom to enjoy taking him many places in life.

How I kicked the flu in 1998 and last week.

In 1998 I was back in the States after 8 years away. Everybody at my aunt's house came down with the flu in turn except for me.

Somewhere I had read about Sacagawea, the Indian guide for Lewis and Clark, drinking a pint of oil to stave off sickness. (I could not find a trace of this anecdote when I looked it up on the web for this post.)

My aunt was cooking Spanish Rice that night and I persuaded her to leave in all the chicken skins because

1. The oil from chicken skins in chicken soup supposedly kills germs.
2. Nobody wants their chicken skins?! I will totally eat them for you.

That night I peeled and ate garlic after garlic with the chicken skins and rice.

In the middle of the night I woke up feeling royally indigested but I refused to get up and went back to sleep.

I was fine in the morning. My mom and sister were throwing up and my cousin would soon be incapacitated in agony, but I never came down with the flu.

Fast forward to last week.

The first we knew my sister was sick was when she started gagging over supper and ran to the bathroom but couldn't even throw up. She just sat on the sofa with a fever and tears running down her cheeks. I just held her and hugged her and kept giving her as many good things to sip as I could think of, a big dose of C, as high as I could safely give her of A, grapefruit seed extract in a cup of water, strong hot ginger tea, etc., and she was all well 2 days later.

It was the afternoon of that third day when I felt the distinct stirrings of nausea. I got to a stopping point on my laptop and took 2000 mg of C before I remembered I had to get some activated charcoal down me first.

If you've never heard of activated charcoal it's a backup that hospitals will give you for food poisoning if for some reason they can't pump your stomach. 2 decades ago my dad ate something bad and came racing home in a taxi with diarrhea. He took charcoal and then went right back to town that day.

I knew I really shouldn't take them together, the charcoal might try to absorb the C and the C might ruin the efficacy of the charcoal but I didn't want to go into this without charcoal.

20 minutes later the nausea was still there and had ratcheted up a notch. I imagined my forehead felt warmer than normal.

I peeled 2 garlic and ate the slices in between typing. When the garlic got too hot, I sliced 2 more garlic and swallowed them down like vitamin pills with a couple of glasses of water, trying to crush them a bit first with my teeth on the way. The nausea went away.

An hour or so later the nausea came back and I washed two more garlic down with water. Again the nausea went away.

At supper I was really hungry and knew it was my last chance to nip the flu in the bud if I didn't want to be throwing up my supper. I remembered my 1998 experience. I had no chicken skins but I had olive oil.

So I took about 5 tablespoons of leftover spaghetti-sauce-ground-beef-macaroni, poured 3 tablespoons of olive oil over it, some liberal pinches of salt, and 4 HEAPING tablespoons of some Parmesan cheese we had just got in the house for New Year's. I love me a little spaghetti with my Parmesan cheese, oil and salt ... it was scrumptious! Why hadn't I been doing this when I wasn't sick? Every bowl of food must taste better swimming in olive oil, Parmesan and salt.

It was so delicious I had two more bowls just like it, eating a clove of garlic with each bite, and then I finished it off with some fresh-ground hot coffee to make sure my stomach acids kicked in and digested the food before my body decided to be sick.

The nausea never came back!!! Not that night nor the next day.

I can only guess what my breath smelled like for Bible Class later but I was happily full and slept well all night, my forehead back to normal.

That was a total of about 15 cloves of garlic and almost 9 T of olive oil.

Sunday Photos

Ling's mom became a christian recently.

Tracy is that person who leaves the trail and comes back with something to cook. Here she picked some greens from somewhere outside our house for another sister after services.

Christine and her husband do the church bulletin every week. Here they are on the right. I teach their 3 beautiful children - a bookworm and two twins.

My mom and dad.

Joyce invited Tracy out to eat on her birthday. Ling and her mom, Jared, Candi and I went too.

This was a hot pot restaurant. Beside each table is a small gas tank on the floor hooked up to the burners:

Walking back after lunch.

Afternoon coffee in a tea cup.

Tracy and I went to the market so she could fix soup for supper. She seldom gets to cook at home.

I shot this video because even though I'm used to seeing live fish on the table (as kids my brother and I would stand at the fish stall waiting to see if one would flop off the table) this was the first time I was horrified to see live fish with their tails tied up to their mouths (just barely seen in the video) still breathing.

Tom Yam Soup

Tracy won.

Jesus Lover, Christian - What's in a name?

We met an American at a wedding feast last week. I think his name was Jim. The music was so loud we were shouting back and forth across the table and even then we sometimes had to shout the same thing 3 or 4 times before being understood, or not.

Jim said he likes to call himself a Jesus Lover and not call himself by the name of a particular group. After all if the important thing is accepting Jesus as Lord, why would you call yourself by the name of a particular group?

Here are things I wish I could have thrown into the conversation to ask him about:

*** Do you think accepting Jesus as Lord includes obeying his commandment to be immersed into him?

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Galatians 3:27)

Would you say that you are not in Christ until you are immersed into him?

*** You prefer the term "Jesus Lover" to an unnecessarily divisive name like Baptist, or Methodist. That is a very Biblical concept:

Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of Christ." Has Christ been divided? (1 Corinthians 1:10-13b)

However, would you consider using the term "Christian" since that, at least, is in the Bible?

but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. (1 Peter 4:16)

According to this verse it would seem God specifically wants us to use the term "Christian" to glorify him.

If the term "Christian" is in the Bible, but the term "Baptist" is not, then wouldn't making up the term "Jesus Lover" which is also not in the Bible be more akin to using the term "Baptist" than using the term "Christian"?

Shouldn't we do Bible things in Bible ways and call Bible things by Bible names?

It would have been good to hear what he had to say. It would have been fun to talk about all kinds of things to do with the Bible. Meanwhile I really appreciate him for bringing up something as interesting as the Bible to talk about and not the weather.

Jim, in case you ever see this post, here's a guy who also doesn't think we should be doing anything but what is in the Bible.

Roger Campbell Gospel Meeting Trip - Day 4

Saturday, 12 March 2011 (Day 4 of 6)

Tracy and I got on the train the next day and met up with Sister Wang, Dorcas, Jane3, Bing Bing and Blanchard; all of us taking the train with Roger Campbell to Taichung, the next city where he was scheduled to preach - all different sermons, too.

The preacher's home in Taichung, John and Michelle Yo's apartment, where we've stayed many times before:

The guys getting ready to go play basketball with my brother. Back when he was 11, the preacher's son Ben (far left) stayed with us for a year when he had to go to school in Kaohsiung. He is such a happy-go-lucky sweet kid all our neighbors loved him too:

Joyce (far right) arrived from Kaohsiung - this was the first chance her college schedule had allowed her to attend the gospel meetings:

Sister Wang. So many interesting discussions have happened at this table:

Brother Yo and Tracy talking with Joyce:

That night, I think most of the young people hung on Brother Campbell's lesson, "Love Before Marriage 婚前的愛", and he certainly got some questions afterward. All in Chinese: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, or you can click on the videos below:

Having fun singing in English after the meeting:

Related posts:

Roger Campbell Gospel Meeting Trip - Day 1
Roger Campbell Gospel Meeting Trip - Day 2
Roger Campbell Gospel Meeting Trip - Day 3
Roger Campbell Gospel Meeting Trip - Day 4: You are here