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  1. I read an intersting article today about China's use of a "social credit system", which provides a score based on an individual's behavior and beliefs. The system brought to mind the famous verse of Revelation 13:17, "so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark". It's isn't hard to see this score eventually being used to prevent employment or even the opening a bank account. Quote from the article: "The ultimate goal is to 'allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,' according to the Chinese government. In place since 2014, the social credit system is a work in progress that could evolve by next year into a single, nationwide point system for all Chinese citizens, akin to a financial credit score. It aims to punish for transgressions that can include membership in or support for the Falun Gong or Tibetan Buddhism, failure to pay debts, excessive video gaming, criticizing the government, late payments, failing to sweep the sidewalk in front of your store or house, smoking or playing loud music on trains, jaywalking, and other actions deemed illegal or unacceptable by the Chinese government." Complete article: https://www.fastcompany.com/90394048/uh-oh-silicon-valley-is-building-a-chinese-style-social-credit-system
  2. Thank you, JTC, S.C.1, Hazard, and Warrior12 for the comments and encouragement. Regarding this topic, I don't want to lead someone the wrong way. We are called to persevere to the end and to complete the race, likewise, we are warned against apostasy. On the other hand, scripture does say that Christ is able to keep those who are His. Perhaps this is another one of those concepts which are challenging for mankind to grasp due to our temporal finite nature (such as one God, three distinct persons).
  3. The deepest anxiety I have is that I won't enter the eternal kingdom of God (new Jerusalem) and God will reject me after death due to my continual sinful nature. I've repented and was baptized, yet darkness still nags at my mind and I still sin... I'm assuming deliberately as we are all responsible for our actions. If I can lose my salvation, how will I know before it is too late?
  4. Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26 (bold mine)
  5. Amen, the Lord God Almighty is the best artist and designer.
  6. Thank you: GandalfTheWise, Yown, Gary Lee, and Neighbor. I have read all of your responses several times over the last couple of days. I thank you for the effort you took to write them. All of you touched on a different perspective or angel and, combined, there is a lot of value here. I'm going to copy these responses into a document for future reference and use. I'm immediately grateful to you, Neighbor, because I had to go review the scripture again. You are correct that evangelism isn't listed as a gift of the Spirit. I'm not sure how I became under the impression it was. Perhaps the roles in the body (teacher, apostle). I see now that perhaps apostle could be our missionaries? Regardless, roles and gifts of the Spirit are two different things. I thank you for being the iron that sharpens another.
  7. I don't believe I've been blessed with the gift of evangelism. In fact, I'm not sure what my spiritual gift is. I'm also cowardly, which is something I need to repent of. However, I've recently come to the conclusion that maybe there are people I can reach now that another cannot. To paraphrase David Platt, "how much do you have to hate someone to NOT share the gospel with them?". Are there any book recommendations, things I can buy and have on hand, to pass out to people? Mere Christianity? Case for Christ? The Bible? What methods have you found effective in sharing the gospel with unbelievers?
  8. Thank you for this insight. Maybe there will be a time to repent of this idolatry. I'm unaware of a reference to it within scripture. I was also told that the MoB was final, but I admit that I've been taught many things which contradict scripture (which is why I must continue to study the word instead of different teacher's interpretation of the word). " And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” Rev 14:11 While this certainly reads to be final and eternal, Rev 22 speaks of a whole group of people who will not see the kingdom of God (thieves, idolators, sorcerers, men who practice homosexuality, the greedy). All of those "sins" or behaviors can be covered by the blood of the lamb if the repentance is true.
  9. Please allow me to present a couple of ideas in conversation. I do not claim them to be the ultimate truth or divine guidance. Some of this will read as science fiction. But I assure you that many in power within this world believe this is our future and are either warning against it or racing towards it (Schmidt, Musk, Gates, etc) . https://futurism.com/kurzweil-claims-that-the-singularity-will-happen-by-2045/ I have felt that the new rush towards AI + the Singularity resembles much of what I've read in scripture concerning the Beast/False Prophet/MoB. Essentially, from what I can read and ascertain, this is a technological Gnosticism where they believe man can become like god by merging with a super-intelligent machine. With this new intelligence, humans could create things never before possible (which is why it is so attractive). The machine intelligence would be "god" and will declare ultimate morality and truth to its followers, causing many to worship it. With new advancements in robotics/genetics, I could see a being "who had life breathed into it" (created, as God breathed life into man), an artificial life merged with artificial intelligence. This being, if connected to all the devices in the world, including satellite weapons, could absolutely call fire from the heavens. An AI intelligence a billion times more intelligent than humans will absolutely perform 'great miracles'. It could blame religion for all world problems, outlaw it (beast turns on the harlot), and make itself the world ruler and religion. Other thoughts on the MoB... your forehead and right hand represent your thoughts and your actions. Are they doing The Lord's will or are they doing Satan/Lucifer's will? A man cannot serve two masters. According to Jesus the Messiah, risen Lord and Savior, there is one unforgivable sin: blasphemy of the spirit. If receiving the mark is unforgivable, it must be an example of blaspheming the spirit.
  10. Mexicans, as a nationality, do still make up the majority of undocumented immigrants. The article is grouping immigrants from all other nations into one collective.
  11. Name all the capitals of the United States... Washington D.C. (preceded by Philadelphia and New York) What do I win?
  12. Thank you all for your prayers. Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday.
  13. I'm blessed to be surrounded by amazing pizza. My favorite companies are Aurelios, Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders, Lou Malnatis. Pizzas: Spinach (alone), Giardiniera Peppers (alone), or Pesto Sauce/Sun Dried Tomatoes. Thin crust.
  14. I'm reading Galatians 5, verses 16 - 26 and could use the prayer of the body of Christ. I've been backsliding and allowing my corrupt nature to reign again... it should've been nailed to the cross. Thank you.
  15. I love coffee too. I do confess that I'm addicted to it.
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