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What’s Worse Than a Dull Saw?

July 6th, 2015

A Dull Saw Cutting in the Wrong Place

The Garage of Shalom has significance that goes beyond tools.

I turned back to God because I was suffering the consequences of my own mistakes, not because I cared about his kingdom. I wanted to change–a little–but that wasn’t the main thing that motivated me. Mainly, I felt that I was losing when I should win, and I was tired of it.

It wasn’t all that long–maybe a year–before God made me understand that human beings were ruled by iniquity, and that I needed to rid myself of mine. But I still thought a lot about money and succeeding at the things I wanted to do. I believe I saw cleaning myself up largely as a means toward that end. I didn’t see correction as the end.

I would not say I was a mercenary person. If I were, I would be practicing patent law right now. But change was not my top priority.

What I have found is that the more I focus on internal correction, the more things around me become ordered. They matter less, which may seem odd, but they fall into line anyway.

I had a bunch of tools. I had tried getting into tools in fits and stops since about 1985, and things had really taken off in about 2007. I got a big table saw that year. I got a MIG welder. Before too long I had a lathe, and I was thinking about a mill.

I couldn’t really use these tools, though. I hadn’t laid the groundwork. I didn’t have enough storage. I hadn’t spent enough on accessories and dust collection. I spent money on the relatively glamorous stuff and skimped on the boring things that made it all work.

Over the last year or so, correction itself has become the thing I want most, and suddenly, the garage is coming together.

I fixed my planer so it produces almost no dust. I made new parts for my jointer’s fence and finally connected the dust port correctly. I shimmed up my table saw extension so large parts don’t jam when they slide over it. I ordered new wheels for my drill press and band saw so the defective ones that were on the mobile bases wouldn’t cause me problems. I added a new rolling tool box. I got a proper shop press.

Things are moving right along.

Last night I sat in here watching tool Youtubes. This is probably the best use there is for a television set. The educational potential of the Internet is unlimited. It sure beats slumping on a couch with a giant bag of Cheez Doodles, watching imbeciles pretending to be vampires or superheroes.

The thing I love about this place is the peace, and you can’t have that without order. The floor is relatively clean (and I can see it). There are horizontal surfaces around me which are not completely covered with junk. Almost all of my tools are stored properly. The mess is mostly confined to one small area I call “the devil’s corner.” But that corner looks better and better with time.

It’s really something; sitting in a shop I ordered (with God’s help), having total strangers teach me for nothing. It’s so much better than being in the house, thinking about all the things I would be doing with my tools if only…

For a long time, I have been wary of becoming a person who works ON tools instead of working WITH them, but the truth is, you have to work on the tools before you put them to use. Otherwise, you end up working on them while you use them, and in the process, you waste time, damage the things you work on, and get off-mission. Learning as you go is desirable and unavoidable, but when it makes it impossible for you to do the thing you originally showed up to do, it’s too much.

If I say I am a tool, I invite sophomoric remarks, so I will say that I am an instrument. I was created for a use. I can’t do what I was created to do unless I have been aligned and sharpened and cleaned. If I go right to my mission without preparing myself, I’ll do a terrible job, and I am likely to do more harm than good.

To use tools well, I have to fix the tools before I approach the work, and to accomplish my purpose, I have to be repaired and armed to a sufficient degree before I begin. I don’t have to be perfect, but I have to be serviceable.

This is what Jesus meant when he said we had to take the logs out of our own eyes before trying to take splinters out of other people’s eyes. He wasn’t saying we should not judge people. He was saying that we needed to judge ourselves first, so we would see clearly when helping other people.

The “judge not” crowd doesn’t really care about self-righteousness or love. They have two main motivations. The first is to be excused from the conflict that arises when we stand up for what is right. People want to hang around with their ungodly friends and be accepted, so they want an excuse to chicken out; they don’t want to have to speak when someone else is making a mistake. They crave popularity. The other motivation is a desire to keep sinning. They see salvation as a license to use drugs, engage in every type of sexual sin, and generally lead ungodly lives, and they don’t want that taken away from them. They want God’s approval AND a life of sin.

Avoiding conflict, in and of itself, is not a worthy motivation. It’s cowardice. I know; I’ve done it many times. Clothing it in God’s word is even worse.

We are expected to examine ourselves continually and confess our imperfections to God. If we don’t do this, we will have problems. We will get diseases. Many of us will die. We will be defeated and dominated by ungodly people as a matter of routine. We will be like woodworkers who came to work with dull tools. Useless and weak.

Here is what Paul said:

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

The reason communion is called “communion” is that it is an opportunity to become like God; to have characteristics in common with him. To be one with him. It’s not about salvation. You can’t be one with God if you are ruled by iniquity. You can’t be free of iniquity unless you confess it and ask him to rid you of it. When you take communion, you’re supposed to judge yourself so you can be improved. If you don’t, God will do it for you, and you don’t want that.

Every one of us has a workshop inside him, and we are supposed to put it in order. We are not supposed to do this alone. God does most of the work. Most of our work is humility, honesty, and faith. You will have a hard time finding anyone in the Bible who impressed God by working hard.

The more work you do on your shop, the more you can do with it.

People who aren’t ready for money beg God for money and try to force his hand with moronic prosperity offerings. People who aren’t ready for spouses beg God for them. Women who have no business having babies beg God for children. We don’t spend much time asking God to make us ready for the good things we want. We practice the Miley Cyrus version of Christianity: give me money and power while I’m still a child, so I can destroy myself and become a notorious idiot.

Peace doesn’t come from money or achievement. It doesn’t come from marriage or raising kids. It comes from submission to God. You should put inner correction at the top of your wish list, if you want to receive the things that are on the top of it now. Otherwise, they will be curses to you.

I look forward to seeing the good things that come from accepting correction, but what I really want is the correction itself. If I have that, my other needs will be taken care of, because I will be the kind of person God can trust with good things.

If you look at scripture, you will find that this advice lines up with it, so quit sending money to TV preachers and practicing positive thinking. Those things don’t work in the long run. Do what God actually told us to do. That ought to work, shouldn’t it?

My church is about to rent a new building. I think it’s a terrible idea. A big house in Miami will have an electric bill of four to five hundred dollars a month. It costs money to mow grass and trim hedges. Everything costs money. The new church is probably as large as five big houses, and our attendance is getting smaller. I know of a big family that won’t be with us much longer. Where will the cash come from? You don’t move to a bigger building when attendance is shrinking. Someone has to pay for it.

On top of that, renting is slavery. You’re paying someone else’s mortgage. You’re buying someone else a building. You can’t leave. You can’t stop paying. You serve the landlord and his property manager.

People think mortgages are unavoidable. Is that true? Does that sound like faith? Is God unable to give us money to buy things outright? Perry Stone has a huge ministry, and he pays for things up front. Is his God better than yours?

I know an excuse when I hear one. A lease is better than nothing, but it is far from optimal, and it should be considered a sign that you’re doing something wrong.

We want the big building, but we don’t want to listen to correction. The music needs to be turned down. The services are too long. There isn’t nearly enough prayer. Very few people are praying in tongues. There is no discernment. There is no self-judgment. We have no foundation, but we think we can build a big temple.

Yesterday we were told that we will have to give more. Actually, we don’t have to do anything. And we can’t. Most people in the church are poor, and because they accept the prosperity gospel instead of God’s keys to prosperity, many are going to stay poor. How are they going to pay a four-figure electricity bill plus rent plus salaries? We have services where about forty adults show up. Something like forty percent of the church’s most devoted volunteers tithe. Can sixteen or twenty people of low to moderate income support a big building?

We don’t have the kind of gifted speakers who can pack churches. We don’t have a music team that can keep people happy for ninety minutes. A churchgoer may not mind listening to certain speakers with rare talents talk for two hours, but we don’t have anyone like that. Our music team doesn’t rehearse much, so, to be brutally honest, they’re doing a C job, and the volume level gives people headaches and tinnitus. We don’t examine ourselves, so we keep doing things that hurt attendance. But somehow we expect people to fill a new church. They’re not filling the one we have!

Is that unbelief? No, it’s honesty and clarity. Yes, Moses and the Hebrews crossed the Red Sea when things looked impossible, but they didn’t jump in on their own initiative. They waited for God to send them. You can’t expect God to support you when you’re wandering around in a place where he never sent you.

Imagine what would have happened had Paul disobeyed the Holy Spirit and gone into Asia Minor to teach. He probably would have been tortured to death, and no one would have been converted. You can’t draft your own mission. It doesn’t work that way.

We don’t examine ourselves, so we’re walking into a trap. Maybe God will pull us out of it in spite of ourselves, but I almost hope not, because that would encourage us to continue being proud and unteachable in the future. If you want to hurt a wino, don’t drive past him with your windows up. Pull over and give him a hundred dollars. He’ll be lucky if he survives the night.

I can’t reach everyone. Maybe I can reach you. I know it will pay off for you. It’s paying off for me.

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Stop Wasting Yourself on Organizations

July 3rd, 2015

The Body of Christ is Not a Church With Walls

God keeps answering my prayers.

I keep asking God to give me correction and to help me to love it and crave it, and he really comes through. This is a lot better than praying for money and big cars, because God actually wants to give me correction. Obviously, he is more likely to answer a prayer that in some way comports with his goals.

I have given up on trying to build organizations such as churches. I just don’t care. I’m not saying no one should do it. I’m just saying it’s not for me. I have a much nicer job, and I will be more successful than the organization-builders and community-builders.

The other day after prayer, I thought, “I can’t get anywhere with organizations, but I’ve had good luck with individuals.” Then it struck me that this is exactly what Jesus would say.

The church is a failure. For centuries, it was the biggest terrorist organization on earth; that ought to tell us something. People lived in fear because they knew that if they said the wrong thing, they could be tortured or burned alive.

We have cut back on the torture and murder, but things are still going badly. Many churches worship Mammon. Some of the old churches reject the Bible and slavishly follow traditions of men. Other churches promote homosexuality and even let homosexuals preach.

Generally, we are not guided by the Holy Spirit, and we are God’s enemies. It happened to the Jews before us, and it has happened to us. And like the Jews, we are convinced we’re right and our critics are wrong.

Satan loves organizations, because he almost always ends up controlling them. Rush Limbaugh has noted that organizations tend to become more leftist over time, and that’s a manifestation of the principle I’m writing about. Satan works through voting, committees, peer pressure, and groupthink, and through these tools, he generally ends up in charge.

That’s good for Satan, because he is small and weak. He does not have the personnel to enable him to work inside every human being effectively. He is not omnipresent. He has to allocate resources. He picks leaders who can influence others, and he gives them help. He gave us people like Hitler, Obama, Oprah, and many Popes. He gave us Castro. He gave us a good number of televangelists.

God does not need an organization. The Holy Spirit can inhabit and guide an infinite number of people in separate locations, even if they never communicate directly. God works through individuals.

We think we’re supposed to save our church, our communities, and our country. Idiocy! Jesus failed at those tasks. Are we smarter than he was? Most Jews rejected him. Most Gentiles have rejected him. The Temple was destroyed, with his consent. Israel was scattered for 1900 years. We’re not going to save large churches, cities, or nations. Don’t talk crazy.

At the churches where I have served, I was hindered, not helped. I was treated with remarkable disrespect. My time was wasted, and so was my money. I thought about things like bigger church buildings. Temples built with hands! What was I thinking?

Now that I have no title and no obligations, I don’t have to fool with any of that. Leave that mess to the carnal. That’s their purpose, I am sorry to say. I know that sounds mean and proud, but it’s true. If you can do spiritual things for God, he won’t want to waste you in a ministry where all you do is park cars or clean toilets. He will put you in touch with people who will listen, and you will connect with them on an intimate level and help them change.

Every church has a lot of people who are never going to get close to God. That’s the choice they make. They think carnal tools are the answer. So God lets them do the grunt work. Psalm 4 says God sets the godly apart for himself. If your interests are heavenly, you will not always be required to slave away at earthly jobs. Your time will be too precious for that.

I do not care if my church gets a new building. Let them worry about that. I will not cook for their functions. I will not try to manipulate people into supporting them financially. Not my job. From now on, I will have liberty to do things that are more useful.

This morning I was close to tears because I realized what a great gift this was.

Think about this. There are no churches in heaven. People work and suffer to build gaudy monuments to preachers’ egos. Then we die and, it is to be hoped, go to heaven. The churches stay here. The money stays here. The denominations perish forever.

No one in heaven will have to carry a pastor’s briefcase or do his laundry! No one will stand up and clap when Benny Hinn walks into a room. That nonsense will be behind us. God will honor us according to what we did for him, not our own pride or greed, and that will be that.

None of this garbage will survive the trip, thank God. But think about this: every person you reached for God will be there with you, forever, in an atmosphere of pure love.

That is what Jesus meant when he referred to “treasure in heaven.”

Many of us seem to think he was referring to big houses and other forms of wealth just like the trinkets we chase here on earth. Why would he give us those things? Why would we need them in heaven, where there is no economy and no lack? Duh.

The story of the Good Samaritan teaches this idea. The two men who passed by on their other side were on their way to Jerusalem, where the temple was located. They wanted to serve the organization, so they ignored a human being in need. This should be obvious to us.

When I think of the tasks I’ve done as a deacon and armorbearer, I feel like I have nothing at all to show for my effort. People were promoted past me. Other people got to do things I wanted to do. They taught and prayed for people. I guarded the offering and helped keep the parking lot orderly. A hired hand could have done those things.

On the other hand, what about the individuals I’ve been able to help?

I counted the people who came to the church through me or through people I had brought. The church is very small, but I can think of over 30 people right now! I can’t remember all of them. And among them, a number have actually made spiritual progress. I have been able to help them, and I have gotten close to them as individuals. Their children and grandchildren will be better off because of what God used me to do.

I’ll take that!

As part of the organization, I am a complete failure, but as a person who deals with individuals, I bore considerable fruit, and my fruit will bear fruit. And I did not do the work. I pointed things out. I steered people onto the track. That’s about it.

The building will disintegrate. The name of the church will be lost forever. The people are eternal!

This is what it’s all about. This is what God has been trying to teach me. Stop thinking about the business. Think about the person in front of you. And know whom to invest in. Don’t be swayed by guilt trips or mirages. Stay away from the tar babies and traps.

I’m going to know these people forever. A thousand years from now, I’ll be able to look at them and realize I am one of the reasons they’re with me in paradise. That’s fantastic.

If you really serve God, you will be unpopular at just about any church. My advice is to avoid serving in the ministries unless you are positive God commands you to join. Stay loose so you will be available to serve God.

If you understand how wonderful this revelation is, you will be blessed powerfully. And you don’t have to send me a “SEED GIFT.” I will not mail you an “ANOINTED HOLY LAND PRAYER CLOTH.” You will not get a “HUNDREDFOLD RETURN” on your money; in fact, I guarantee it.

Think about this when you serve God. Remember that it’s about people, and that does not mean GROUPS of people. It’s about this one and that one, as they are put in your path. Stop trying to load people into a corral like steers. Forget the ones you’re not supposed to mess with. You’re going to lose most people. That’s bad. But God is in the same boat. You’re not going to do better than he does.

I know this will change your life if you can make it part of your heart. Think about it and digest it. I hope it works out for you.

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Stuff I Can’t Say to People in Person

July 2nd, 2015

Memes to Live By

I am not going to lie. I get tired of having my intelligence insulted. Sometimes I almost think it would be better to be stupid, just so I would be able to AGREE with the people who treat me like a moron.

Sometimes I get “corrected” by people who didn’t get through high school. Hello? Is it possible that there is a connection between 1) lack of success and 2) unwillingness to respect the opinions of people who clearly know more than you do?

Anyway, I had an aggravating experience, and I went to the Morpheus meme generator site and cut loose. I am quite pleased with these.

Is it wrong for a Christian to blow off steam? Maybe. But sometimes I think it’s the only thing that keeps human beings from going nova.

Here’s how I feel: if you’re going to treat me like an idiot, be consistent. Don’t tell me how smart I am and THEN treat me like an idiot.

Too much to ask?

Yes.

wonka advice wrong

boromir yield hialeah

dicaprio okay youre still here

humble mcdonalds coffee

lumbergh criticize

told you so meme

dicaprio win win

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You Can’t Always Get What You Want

June 28th, 2015

But if You Don’t Try, You Can’t Even Get What You Need

The workshop is really taking shape, and that’s good, because outer order is a reflection of inner order.

What to talk about first?

I got a jack plane. This is supposedly the most versatile hand plane there is, and people say this is where the “jack” name comes from, as in “jack of all trades.” Don’t ask me if the story about the name is true. Google for yourself.

I found it on Ebay, because buying tools in South Florida is about as easy as hiring people who speak English. You can pretty much expect to pay $75, including shipping, for a decent old plane, so I bit the bullet and found one. It sounds bad, but a new plane of similar quality will be in the low three figures.

The plane was in great shape, but it was impossible to make it work, because the edge was not square to the side of the blade. You can move a blade around in a plane to level it, but if it’s off by more than a few degrees, it won’t help. I had to sit and shape this thing with a diamond stone, after trying to do preliminary roughing on the belt grinder.

The good news is that I’m good at hand sharpening, so it came out swell. Next time, I think I’ll get creative and use my oscillating belt/spindle sander. This is a woodworking tool, but there is no reason why you can’t use it for crude metal jobs, and it happens to be very easy to hold things parallel to the belt or spindle.

Thought of that after I was already done.

Here’s the jack plane doing its thing. I am quite pleased.

06 18 15 stanley 5 plane with corrected bevel making shavings

I also fixed my jointer/planer.

When I started trying to do woodworking, I bought a DeWalt 735 planer, which I discussed here recently. This thing is wonderful. Buy one. It doesn’t really plane wood. If you have a piece of wood with one side that has already been planed flat, you put the wood down on that side and run it through the planer, and it will give you another flat side parallel to the first. If the bottom is wavy, it will give you a wavy side parallel to it, and that’s why you can’t really say it planes things. Planing means flattening.

To plane things, you need a jointer. It will put one flat side on anything, and if you already have one flat side, it will give you another one at an angle to it. Generally, that angle is 90°, but if your planer has a fence that rotates, you can get other angles.

I was able to do surface jointing on the planer, using a homemade sled. I was able to do edge jointing on the table saw. But that was not ideal. So I invested in a new jointer. As it happened, the jointer I bought will also work as a planer, but I don’t need that function, so I don’t use it. It’s a Rikon 10″ combination machine, based on an old model made by the Inca company. It’s very small and light, but it will handle boards 10″ wide, which is incredible. Ordinarily, a 10″ jointer is a giant cast iron beast that takes up half a garage. My machine is a little over 40″ long, and it weighs 140 pounds.

I had never set the jointer up correctly, because I used the wrong manual. I am too lazy to get up and look at the actual paper manual, which may very well be correct, but the PDF manual I had was wrong or at least useless. Last week I downloaded a newer one, and I found out I had the dust collection hooked up hilariously wrong. I fixed that, and then I decided to adjust the fence. When I tried to do that, the little bracket that holds it broke. It’s pot metal. It’s also about 0.090″ thick, which means it’s about as sturdy as a saltine.

I’m a machinist! I’m not scared of broken parts! I machined a little piece to fix it. Then I tried to reattach the bracket, and the other side broke.

Okay.

I decided to make a new bracket out of 2 1/2″ aluminum pipe and some crap I had lying around. It was a fascinating ordeal. I found out how hard it is to cut pipes accurately on a milling machine. But I succeeded. Here are some photos. Mind you, it could be improved in some obvious ways, but it works perfectly as it is, and I am not eager to get back to work on it right now.

06 23 15 rikon jointer fence with aluminum pipe mocked up

06 24 15 aluminum pipe being milled in half for jointer

06 25 15 rikon jointer with new fence support installed

I fired it up, and it’s fantastic. Unlike most wood machines, it’s quiet. It works well. It’s very safe, as jointers go, which is like saying it’s like the least-crazy Kardashian sister, but still.

Now I can joint wood.

I also fixed the dust collection on the planer. Someone told me she collected the shredded wood using a simple burlap bag, so I ordered one on Ebay and tried it. I paid five bucks. I could not find a burlap bag around here without spending that much on diesel.

I attached the bag and did some planing (not really planing), and when I picked the bag up, there was a pile of dust under it.

I gave up and ordered a Powertec 3-micron dust collector bag, model 75006. It arrived a day or two ago, and it’s wonderful. I fastened it to the hose with a hose clamp, and when I ran the machine, absolutely nothing visible escaped, except for the bits that inevitably fall out of the machine itself. Those are no problem to deal with.

The Harbor Freight stand I bought is wobbly, so I Ebayed some M6 hex bolts to replace the stupid Philips screws that came with it. I replaced 16 of the 32 screws yesterday, and I will finish the rest this week. You can tighten a hex bolt more than a Philips screw, so I expect the added friction to put an end to the scissory motion of the stand’s joints.

Now the workshop was all fixed, right? WRONG, sliding table saw breath.

I miss Carnak.

I was fooling with the wood band saw, and I tried to resaw something with a 3/4″ blade. Crud came off the blade onto the wood, leaving black stripes. There was something on the blade. I looked inside the saw and noticed (I almost wrote “saw”) black goo on the tires. I tried to scrape it off, and I used various solvents, but it seemed to be very deep. Eventually I noticed that one tire had a big gap in it, so the goo was the only thing holding it on the rim.

I ordered two Grizzly tires for it (OEM parts), and when they arrived, I took the wheels out, figuring the old tires would come right off. No, sorry. They had turned into some kind of cheese which was stuck to the iron like rat paper on a particularly sticky rat. I had to scrape them off in crumb form, and then I had to rub the wheels with lacquer thinner to melt the bits that wouldn’t come off. Unbelievable.

06 26 15 cheese instead of tires on band saw wheels

When I was done and the wheels were back on the machine, some guy told me Grizzly tires were worthless, and that I could expect them to turn into sponges. Great. But for now, they work.

Today I used the tools. I am determined to make a box, just to prove I can make something. I used the jointer and the table saw, which now has new caster brackets AND a new dedicated dust hose. It was like heaven. The jointer ran perfectly, and the dust collection sort of worked. The table saw hose was much easier to deal with than the old one. Things just fell into place.

I have a bunch of little rough mahogany boards I cut from fresh wood I found in a trash pile, and I also have some leftover walnut from a guitar body. The mahogany has a lot of figuring in it, and I was trying to find a way to use it. Finally I decided to try to add visual interest by making the box from boards which were, themselves, made from strips of contrasting wood. If you joint wood nicely, you can glue strips of it side by side, and they will be as sturdy as a homogeneous board.

Here is what I have right now.

06 28 15 striped board being glued together from mahogany

I have to come up with four more sides. The bottom can be plain.

I can’t tell you how great it is to see my tools work correctly, without aggravation or explosions. I know this comes from learning to love inner correction. I was held back because I didn’t get it. If you don’t love correction, don’t expect God to give you success. You may have something that looks like success to you, but it won’t be. Not unless God has completely given up on teaching you.

Two nights ago while I was trying to fall asleep, I saw a bunch of answers to my organization problems. I saw a way to hang my lathe chucks from the shop trusses, on a gadget I can turn on the lathe, from a piece of scrap I just happen to have waiting. I saw a way to build a box to mount on the lathe headstock, to hold the tools I use most often. I saw a way to build a rolling cabinet to hold my CNC lathe, the control box, and all the lathe’s tooling. All this stuff just came to me. Some of it may even work!

Determination is better than nothing, but the best success comes from being blessed. If you want to apply determination to something truly productive, apply it to prayer.

I still want a few more doodads. Maybe a router plane and a tongue and groove plane. Bench dogs; I think I have a design which would be a lot better than the ones they sell online. I can use a few more items, but I am aware that the biggest profit will come from maximizing what I already have.

If you have a Rikon joiner/planer, get rid of the fence bracket before it blows up while you’re using it. My design will work for you, and it’s fairly easy to copy from photos, but you can do just as well by clamping a piece of aluminum extrusion to the table, after cutting a cavity on one side to accommodate the cutters.

If…WHEN…I get somewhere with the box project, I will post photos.

I guess I should add that I quit my church’s volunteer team. I am not a deacon or armorbearer now. People are noticing a change in the church’s direction; I’m not the only one. Unlike me, they won’t say anything, so when the crisis comes, it will seem sudden to the people in charge. Nothing I can do. I have been withdrawn, so I am not permitted to counsel anyone, and if I did, no one would listen. Which is why I’m not allowed. God will not let me do it. He pulled me back to a peaceful place, and I am not going to mess that up by running back to the front line.

I mind my own business. I arrived after worship started today, and I left at 1:15, after two hours. I checked at 2:00, and church was still going.

The volunteers had a meeting at 7:00 a.m., so had I not quit, I would have been there for at least seven hours!

I’ve been to these meetings in the past, when church started at 10:30. We were told to come at 8:00. I would wake up at 5:30 or 6:00 in order to have time to pray, so I would have to go to bed on Saturday by 8:30 p.m. I would be at church at 8:00 a.m. Almost no one else would come until 8:30, because the volunteers had no respect for other people’s time. The meetings would start at 8:45. We would talk in circles for an hour, or the pastor would give the people a very long lecture which a lot of us didn’t need. For example, he would lecture us on responsibility, and the responsible people had to sit through it. Or he would lecture people on punctuality and attendance, when the only people who were there were the ones who didn’t need the lecture. They were there, after all. Then we would sit around and do nothing.

One thing that extended the service today was a very long appeal for money. The church is trying to start an orphanage in Haiti. They’re nagging people to buy tickets to a banquet. I think this is a dead end and a waste of time. The Mercy and Sharing Foundation has a great orphanage going already, and they spend 100% of contributions on the kids. They pay the administration costs themselves. I would rather send the money to someone who already has buildings, employees, contacts, and a track record.

The pastors brother in law showed us a video and begged us to give money. I mean begged. To me, it seemed like a guilt trip. Charity is very important to me, but I never, never respond to guilt trips, because manipulation has been a source of great pain in my life. I don’t mean to be obnoxious, but this is the same man who runs the men’s ministry, which isn’t going anywhere. He runs the church’s building drive, which isn’t going anywhere. We have an Indiegogo page and some T-shirts. When God wanted Nehemiah to build the temple, he didn’t have him sell T-shirts. He sent a man to pay for it. The way to get a new building is to show love and consideration to people who come to church, and to teach them to pray. It seems like they hope a millionaire will walk in and write them a check. That’s not how it works. They don’t need a millionaire. They need two hundred ordinary people who give steadily, and they need to manage the money correctly.

Some people in the church seem to think I’m rich because I’m not on welfare and my used pickup truck is paid for, and sometimes I sense that people want me to wave my magic checkbook and buy them what they think they need. I bought a used organ, and the head deacon asked me when I was going to give it to the church. I said, “never.” When I located it on Craigslist, they couldn’t get it together long enough to chip in and go get it, so I bought it for myself. I did the work. I paid. My organ. They had some sort of need a while back, and one of the deacons said I should handle it. I asked why, and he said, “Because you’re the man with the money.” Oh, really?

That’s how poor people think about money. They think other people get it magically, and they’re supposed to give it to everyone who has less, on demand, because that’s fair. That’s not how it works. God is fairer than I am, and he doesn’t do that. God is an investor. He doesn’t give money to people who can’t handle it, and neither will I.

The organ was never a possibility. They’re killing attendance with noise already. I don’t want to make it worse. I was going to make them another guitar amp, but I’m afraid to let them have it. They would injure everyone in the church.

At the end of the service, they honored the pastors with free dinners at Tejas de Brazil (a very expensive and mediocre restaurant) plus tickets to a spa. The people at my church love spas. They’re always giving the pastors spa tickets. I don’t get it, personally. I think it’s odd to let strangers rub grease on you and put things between your toes, and it’s boring to sit and do nothing, but they’re entitled to like what they like.

I think the presentation was a bad move. The pastors’ daughter and son in law came down recently for a week of recreation, and then the pastors went with them to their home in Buffalo. A week later, they came back, and then they took off for Chicago. Now we’re pampering them as though they had been working too hard.

The church is only open a few hours a week, and the rest of the time, we see social media posts showing that the pastors are taking it easy. No one is at church.

People are complaining that they work long hours and then see Facebook posts about the pastors taking trips, going to restaurants, shopping, and walking on beaches. We don’t see them repairing the church, evangelizing, or doing whatever it is you expect pastors to do during the week. People ask where the money for tickets and so on come from. Attendance is bad, and that’s to be expected when the pastors aren’t around.

Sorry to see it happen. I can’t save the world.

So far I have missed one Sunday service and one Tuesday prayer session. People keep coming up to me and asking where I’ve been. They think I’ve quit. I’ve been there more than the pastors have! We have a house prophet, and he’s the most honored person there except for the head pastors. Over the last year, he has probably missed a third of the services, and he routinely comes late. It’s very odd that people are so alarmed when I miss two events.

Usually there are only two of us at the Tuesday session, so of course, everyone else thinks I’m AWOL. They didn’t see me because they didn’t come.

I don’t think I’ll go on Tuesday nights any more. If only two people are going to pray, I might as well pray at home, save 36 miles of wear on the truck, and avoid an hour and fifteen minutes of unpleasant traffic.

I feel very free. I feel like I was trying to do an impossible job and my boss told me to let it go. People are worried about me, but I sleep better, I’m losing weight, and I no longer have to drag people who refuse to walk. Sometimes churches develop a cult mentality, and they think that if you disengage, your life must be screwed up, but this time, the problem is on the other end.

Today someone talked to me and said she had been praying for me. She said, “We need you.” I know she meant to be nice, but that’s a pet peeve of mine. When people left my old church, they always sent people after them to tell them how much the church needed them. They never asked the people who left what they needed. She’s a wonderful lady, but she said exactly the wrong thing. Let the organization burn. The people are what matter.

I agree; they need me. And when I was a kid, I needed vegetables and exercise. But I chose ice cream and TV.

I could be helpful to the church, but they would have to listen, and that’s not going to happen. So telling me they need me isn’t addressing the important issue. I don’t care what they need. I care about what they are willing to receive. I’m not a Gitmo guard. I don’t force-feed people. I can’t.

Things get better and better. It’s all about humility and correction. I’m thrilled that I managed to share this to a few receptive people. The rest…what can you do?

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Become a Babel Fish

June 26th, 2015

Children Read; Adults Comprehend

People don’t understand the Bible because God doesn’t explain it to them. They make up explanations. This is how we ended up with the Catholic Church equating the death penalty with murder. They misunderstood the original text of the Torah, which says, “Thou shalt not murder,” not, “Thous shalt not kill.” God commanded the Jews to kill on many occasions.

A great deal of what is commonly believed is wrong, and much of it is actually the opposite of the truth. For example, Christians believe they have to work in order to get into heaven. The truth is that we can’t get in unless we admit we CAN’T work our way in.

You have to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and pray in tongues in order to get understanding, but you can learn a few things just as you are.

I thought it might be good to reveal some things that will help people (those who are capable of learning) to understand scripture.

1. Trees. These are people. It’s especially obvious in the first psalm. “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water.” Nebuchadnezzar dreamed he was a tree. The olive tree is believed to represent Jacob, who is also Israel. I would go further; it represents all people who belong to God. The Bible says the Gentiles are grafted in. The temple, which represents people, was paneled with wood from fragrant trees.

2. Pleasing fragrances represent prayer. This is why the temple was full of incense smoke. It’s why meat was burned there.

3. Sand represents human ideas or the human beings who hold to bad ideas. This is why the Bible says we shouldn’t build on sand. God told Abraham his descendands would be like stars and sand. The stars are the people who are close to God. The grains of sand are carnal people, such as the descendants of Ishmael.

4. Stars are heavenly beings. Satan was compared to the morning star. The saved will be like the stars of heaven.

5. Stone represents God’s ideas. It’s a lot like sand, but it is unified, and it’s big and stable. This is why God builds on rock, not sand, which can be moved by water. The Jews used stone to kill those who broke God’s laws. The laws were written on stone tablets.

6. Pigs are carnal people. They live staring at the ground, looking for things to satisfy their gluttony. They are dirty. They like filth. They are smart by carnal standards, but they are zeroes in the kingdom of heaven. They are generally ruled by foul spirits, as demonstrated by the herd Jesus delivered to demons.

7. Fish are people. Water is words and/or voices. The Sea of Galilee is the earth. The apostles sat above the water drawing fish out, just as evangelists draw people out from under the water of lies that surrounds the earth.

8. Olive oil is the presence of the Holy Spirit. It represents anointing, and anointing means authority. Kings had to be anointed before they could rule. If you hear the Holy Spirit, you have the authority to ignore the law, because you are guided by the one who wrote it. The lampstand in the Holy of Holies burned olive oil, and the light represents the light of the Holy Spirit.

9. Dough and bread are flesh. Yeast is pride. It makes dough look much bigger than it really is, by corrupting it with rot. Unleavened (yeast-free) bread represents the flesh of one who has never sinned and has no pride. This is why it was eaten on Passover. It represented the flesh of Jesus.

10. Bones are spirits. Like bones, spirits hold bodies up. When the spirit leaves, the body goes limp. In Psalm 34, Jesus said none of his bones were broken, referring to the spirits of those who belong to him.

11. Clean, flowing water is the flow of the Holy Spirit. It cleanses. This is why the Jews were taught to use immersion, which we call baptism, for cleansing. They could not use stagnant water. It had to be water from a moving source, which is what “living water” actually means. Water pours from God’s throne in heaven and fills heavens rivers. The things God says pass through Jesus and the Holy Spirit to us. Many Old Testament references to water foreshadow prayer in tongues.

If you keep these things in mind when you read the Bible, you may understand it better.

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Rest

June 21st, 2015

Love God; Share God’s Problems

I am not at church today.

God is giving me a clearer picture of what is happening in my life, and much of it involves things I have experienced at my church. He doesn’t want me there today. I am being pulled back, and during this time I will reflect and learn from him.

A few weeks back I told the volunteer leader I was taking time off from serving. I showed up later than usual last week and the week before. My church has a group prayer session every Sunday morning before the service, and I have been skipping it, because it’s for volunteers. I have been showing up when the music starts.

Several weeks ago, I stopped going to the church’s Wednesday services. They started a Tuesday night prayer service, and I was attending faithfully, if not religiously, and going two nights in a row was just too much. Because only two to three people made it to the prayer services, most people had no idea I had been going. People assumed I wasn’t going at all during the week.

During Sunday services, two of the church’s leaders came to me expressing concern because they though I had quit!

I am not sure what to say about that. In the past I have generally arrived earlier than both of them, and my attendance has been very consistent, so I suppose that when they came to church and didn’t see me there, they assumed I had stopped going.

Staying home from Wednesday services was good, because it gave me rest, and because the services had been decreasing in value. Tuesday nights were great. Of course, given that there were only two or three of us there, I might as well have prayed at home.

I don’t know why the pastors never came. Actually, the lowest-ranking pastor made it once.

God has been showing me the reality of my status at church, and it’s not flattering. Wonderful things have been happening in a very small circle of people I know, mostly outside of church, but when it comes to church itself, I have done nearly nothing. That will not change if I continue serving. My position has been determined, firmly.

Now he is telling me to stay home.

Will he send me back? Maybe to visit, or to attend more or less regularly, without serving. But I am not going to be used to do anything big, because that is not possible. People have made a choice. I gave it the old college try for three years. I should consider myself blessed. Noah and Methuselah had to preach to unwilling people for 120 years before they were withdrawn.

Of course, they lived a lot longer than I will, so maybe that was compensation.

Things are going very, very well in my own life. My prayer life keeps improving. I am being blessed and freed. I am learning important things. My priorities are shifting. Joy is increasing. I feel so much relief. I am succeeding at things I used to fail at. I am being cleaned up, inside and out. I’m even losing weight and exercising, not that those things are important. They just reflect inner change.

But now people are going to come to me and ask me what’s wrong! With ME!

Oh, well.

I know what’s going to happen. “You have to pray for Brother Steve. He is under a spirit of bitterness.” “He has a problem with rebellion.” “he has fallen away.” They are going to think that because I am not hustling for that particular church, Satan has neutralized me.

Charismatic churches have a real pharaoh problem. The pharaohs enslaved the Jews, not to glorify God, but to glorify themselves as man-gods. The Jews were not used to build a temple to Jehovah. They were used to build treasure houses for the pharaohs themselves. Most charismatics are under the same spell. We think it’s all about the organization and the super-holy people at the top. That’s a lot of garbage.

If you’re doing things right, the vast majority of the good things God does in your life will not happen in church. The week is 168 hours long. What kind of Christian are you if your relationship with God consists of four hours of church plus five to ten minutes of daily prayer that doesn’t work? You should be in God’s presence every day, for a good long time.

Your house is your primary church. You should be having prayer sessions there every day. If you’re married, you should be doing this with your spouse. If you also find time to make it to church, that’s great. But what you do outside of church is far more important.

Many preachers will blanch and squeal if you tell them this, because they have the pharaoh bug. They’ve been dreaming of seeing the church satisfy their carnal desires. They’ve been telling themselves, “I gave up striving for money in the secular world, so now God is going to give it to me because I’m building a church.” They’re really counting on that, so if you tell people to quit worrying so much about the church, you will be goring their ox. You will be attacking their monetary income and their potential source of future fame and admiration. You can’t expect them to be happy about that.

All over the US, there are disgusting monuments to greed and the lust for admiration. We call these monuments “megachurches.” Charismatics think the men and women who run them are the nation’s religious leaders, appointed by the Lord. In reality, most of these bloated icons are screwing up our relationships with God.

They teach us that church is where you go to get rich and succeed and have all your earthly problems fixed, and of course, it doesn’t work. People stay sick and die. They stay poor. They go to prison. They get pregnant outside of marriage and have babies they can’t afford to raise. Their only benefit is denial. The church teaches them everything is okay, because those blessings are on the way, and they could be just a few days away. Just keep toeing the line; keep turning the millstone, and your windfall will come.

So we die, turning the millstone.

What God wants is to change us internally. That’s what the phrase “born again” means. Salvation is just conception. If you stop there, you are going to be stillborn. You’re supposed to grow and change, and in order to do that, you have to fight pride and denial.

This isn’t just where the blessings come from. It is the blessing.

This is the message Satan hates. This is why the Jews and the church kill prophets. Satan doesn’t like salvation, but what he really hates is what comes after it. If you can be like God in this world, you are getting what Satan thinks belongs to him. And he is jealous.

If you’re not rejected by churches, you can’t possibly be doing what God wants. I don’t mean that every church has to reject you, but generally, churches can’t stand people who got God’s message.

Churches have all sorts of defense mechanisms. The first is to accept you and put you in a time-wasting position. “Now you’re the Supreme Executive Commander of garbage collection. Serve God well in this, and he will promote you!” The second is to accuse you. “Why are you contradicting Dr. Hinn, PBUH PBUH? Who are you to disagree with a famous high school dropout who has millions of fans?” “Why bring division? Why be negative?” The third is to tell you to leave, and after that, I suppose the only thing left is to kill you.

We don’t teach people the basics. Respect for intelligence. Respect for age. Respect for anointing. Real love, as opposed to flattery. Charity. We don’t teach them to pray in tongues. We don’t teach them to critique themselves in prayer and look for God’s help in improving themselves.

We certainly don’t teach humility, except to people who say things that make us look at ourselves. We’re sure THOSE people are proud!

Charismatic preachers tend to be proud, immature, stubborn, greedy, and spiteful. That’s just the truth. Obviously, that’s a generalization, and there are plenty of exceptions. But as a movement, this is what we generally produce. Our leaders are babies, and if we let them teach us, what are we?

Today God told me something. I already knew most Christians don’t want meat, but I thought they at least wanted milk. That’s wrong. They want sugar water. They want to be told they’re wonderful, and that, yes, it’s fine to fornicate and smoke weed and have no prayer life, because God loves them just the way they are.

I’m sure many women feel love for their stillborn babies. They would still prefer to see them be delivered alive.

You can’t keep your greed and pride and lust and denial and still be a good Christian. You can be forgiven, but you’re not going to amount to anything in the kingdom.

This morning God showed me that Christians who won’t grow are like people who are accepted by medical schools, don’t go, and then try to treat the sick anyway.

Imagine that. Imagine receiving a letter saying you can go to Harvard’s medical school. Then imagine getting all excited and taking that letter down to your local hospital and demanding to be allowed to operate on people.

That’s not how it works. You can’t stop at insemination. You have to change.

My connection to church organizations will have to be loosened, because otherwise I will succumb to the pressure to repeat whatever pleases them. Real prophets always upset people. The fake prophet is the one who always has a good seat and gets invited to the pastor’s house every weekend.

So I am at home on Fathers’ Day. I am healing. I am resting. I don’t have to spend this particular Sunday striving with people who do not listen.

I want to belong to a church, and I hope God will make me part of one, but I am not going to fool with titles or jobs any more. That stuff is for team players, and I don’t mean people who are on God’s team. I accept what I am. I am not going to fight God’s plan for me. He knows better than I do.

It’s funny; the two people from whom I receive the best teaching are a woman in the panhandle and a young man who is struggling to get through college. They are people I was able to reach, and now I get help from them. I haven’t been getting much useful teaching from preachers and so-called prophets.

I wish I could bring everyone with me as I make progress. This has to be how Jesus feels.

I think this will be useful to you if you read it with openness and humility. I certainly hope so, because no one should spend as many years as I did, banging their head against a wall of denial.

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Everybody Wants Dessert

June 17th, 2015

Nobody Wants to Finish Their Salad

Yesterday was interesting.

I had to deal with someone who found out he was going to have to pay a gigantic bill because he had consistently ignored good advice. He argued with the guy who brought the bill. When he was told that his own neglect had caused the problem, he claimed no one had told him do do anything differently. He was angry at everyone but himself.

I got really disgusted, and I quietly departed.

God keeps showing me how I’ve screwed up my own life, and unfortunately, that makes other people’s screwups more obvious to me, especially when I’m within the blast radius when their self-inflicted disasters unfold.

I was also annoyed with people who come to me with problems they created and expect instant help, regardless of what I’m doing and whether they can fix the problem themselves.

I had to take some time to myself, and I vented a bit. I dug up a meme.lack of planning

I also found a neat Morpheus meme.

morpheus emergency

That got me thinking, and I created a bunch of new Morpheus memes. There’s a site that lets you do it. It was tremendous fun. I roamed from topic to topic. You can see the memes below. I threw in a Boromir meme.

MORPHEUS MONEY IDIOTS

morpheus phone flash

morpheus stare wreck

morpheus illuminati

morpheus tithers

morpheus free stuff

morpheus cup shoplifting

morpheus preachers tv

morpheus loud music

morpheus hell listen

morpheus tithing debt

boromir jackass

It’s strange, but a funny picture can have a much bigger impact than a long essay.

I also came up with a new paradigm that may be helpful to therapists. Here it is:

The Five Stages of Jackass

1. Reject your helpful criticism even though you are older and/or smarter than I am.

2. Listen to bad advice from idiots because they kiss my butt and tell me I’m great.

3. Watch awesome spectacle of my self-inflicted destruction while acting surprised.

4. Declare myself a martyr and look for ways to blame you.

5. Punish you; reward idiots.

A lot of stuff is draining out of me. I treated God disrespectfully for most of my life, ignoring his advice and then running to him when I had problems. Believe it or not, I am still not perfect. I still do dumb things. Anyway, I believe God is showing me what dealing with me is like.

I did not treat God well, and people did not treat me well. People who were neither bright nor educated nor mature nor spiritual walked all over me, used me, and stifled me. How can I complain? God goes through this every day, and he has gone through it with me.

God is showing me things. He is showing me I am not supposed to endure disrespect for prolonged periods. You have to deal with it from time to time, but you should not attach yourself to jerks permanently. It’s okay to walk away and let them hate you.

God isn’t showing me that I won’t be disrespected. He is showing me that I should not be complicit in it. I should not snuggle up to fools and make excuses for them. He has shown me that making excuses for myself is evil, and so is making excuses for others.

I think Morpheus would agree.

I want to be the head and not the tail, but I only know how to be the tail, because that has been my curse. I am used to it. So now God is showing me how the head acts. It does not feel natural. But it does feel good.

The tail follows. The head leads. If you kiss up to your abusers, you are agreeing with them and being led by them. If a woman is battered by her husband, and she gets away and goes back, she is battering herself. Is he guilty? Sure. But so is she.

Hard truths, but also liberating.

Abusers humiliate and stunt. God humbles, but he will not humiliate unless you give him no choice. He will lead you with words and ideas and feelings if you let him. He will let you fall and be disgraced, but only when the gentle approach fails. Abusers don’t bother with the gentle approach. Not for very long.

I have to let some people go. I have been saying there was only one abusive person left in my life, and I thought it was true, but now I realize there are abusers who are more low-key. Their intentions are better–or at least it seems that way superficially–but they are counterproductive and toxic.

This world is a mess. It’s like a chicken coop. Chickens attack each other constantly, hammering away at open wounds day after day to establish a pecking order. Human beings who are not Spirit-led are exactly the same, but we hide it better. I do not want to be part of the order. I want to stand outside. You can’t do that without humility before God. If you’re proud, he will subject you to the proud. Look at the Jews and Nebuchadnezzar.

Peace is worth a lot. It’s worth a little loneliness. No one has a lot of friends, no matter what they think, so really, a person who is somewhat isolated isn’t missing out on as much as you might think. If you think you have a lot of friends, call people and ask them to help you move.

Jesus said not to cast our pearls before swine. There are a whole lot of swine out there. And he wasn’t making a suggestion we could take or leave. He was dead serious. He expected us to obey.

Keep asking God for correction. This is what he wants. This is what works. The other things are just distractions. Real peace comes from your heart and mind. Let God order you on the inside, and your surroundings will order themselves.

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Face Front

June 15th, 2015

No Seconds on Vomit

Lots of interesting things are happening.

First off, my Woodriver #92 shoulder plane arrived, along with an offset router wrench.

06 13 15 woodriver plane and router offset wrench

Routers connected to tables are hard to reach with wrenches because the collet nuts are below the tables’ surfaces. What you really need is a wrench with two 90° angles in it. The first angle puts the head of the wrench below the table, and the second one makes it horizontal so it engages the nut. I was going to make my own wrench some day (right), but Woodcraft has prefab offset wrenches on sale, so I got one. It’s amazing. I love it. For around ten bucks, I saved myself a day of aggravation.

As for the plane, I have already told my sad tale regarding the Stanley 92 I bought. The blade was too narrow. The only safe bet is a new plane from a reputable maker, and they are not cheap. Lie-Nielsen makes insanely expensive stuff that works perfectly. Veritas makes excellent stuff that is slightly less expensive. Woodcraft’s Woodriver brand is very good, but it’s Chinese, so it’s cheaper.

I went Chinese. What the heck.

The plane is magnificent. It’s ground from solid lumps of iron. Everything is square. The grinding is much finer than the grinding on the Stanley, which looked like I made it myself. The blade is a tiny bit wider than the body. It’s great. I love it. I’m sure spending more money would have paid off in some way or other, but this is a beautiful tool.

I’ve been thinking about workbenches. My current bench is something I threw together from plywood, two–by-fours, and four-by-fours, before I really knew what I was doing. It’s extremely sturdy, but the top isn’t flat, and it’s not optimal for woodworking.

I considered ripping the top off and putting a real woodworking top on it, complete with a woodworking vise, but I think that’s stupid. I can put holes in it to hold bench dogs for various operations, and I have a Rockwell Jawhorse to hold wood for planing and other stuff, so I don’t really have to have a perfect woodworking bench. I think.

In other news, I am now capable of hand-sharpening things.

When I was a kid, I loved playing with knives, and my parents didn’t care, so I got good at sharpening things. This weekend I had to deal with planes and chisels, and I tried to find the best way to tackle it.

A lot of people use jigs. If you Google “General plane sharpening jig,” you’ll see an example. These things hold blades at precise angles to stones, so the edges produced are straight and accurate.

Other people use bench grinders and align things by hand.

I have a grinder set up for lathe tools, with a white aluminum oxide wheel. This thing is wonderful for its purpose. I put a little homemade jig on it, and it works great. But when I tried to use it for planes and chisels, it gave me crooked results, and little bits of the edges turned blue, meaning they had gotten hot and lost their temper.

Frustrated, I got out my DMT diamond stones. I have them in fine, extra-fine, and 8000-grit. I found that if I held a blade down carefully with my bare hand, I could correct and sharpen edges pretty quickly, without buying jigs and megadollar Japanese water stones.

A long time ago, my dad borrowed a chisel. God only knows what he used it for. Maybe scraping paint off a brick. He left it out in the rain for weeks. Yesterday I decided to fix it.

I held it down on a stone and ground it until it lined up with a machinist’s square. I used WD40 to keep the stone from loading up. Surprisingly, it sharpened easily, and I got a great result. I lapped the back side, and I finished it on the 8000 stone. When I was done, it was shaving-sharp.

06 14 15 Buck Brothers chisel sharpened on DMT stone

I don’t have to buy a bunch of junk and store it. I don’t have to worry about conditioning waterstones whenever I use them. Hooray! Very nice.

I fine-tuned the Woodriver plane blade, which was already fairly sharp. I stuck some wood in the Jawhorse and started using my planes. I couldn’t stop. It was so neat, seeing wide, clear curls coming off the wood. This actually works.

I’m getting a few other things. I watched a DVD by a guy named Frank Klausz, and he made dovetails using hand tools, very quickly. That opened my eyes. Most people use a router. You can also use a bandsaw. Honestly, power tool dovetails are a big pain, and when you use power tools, you always have to worry that something is going to jump out and damage you, the work, or your other tools. If I can dovetail a drawer in half an hour using a hand saw, I’m all for it.

Klausz showed how to take a fairly cheap dovetail saw and tune it up in a few minutes. You can’t use them the way they come from the store. I thought that was neat. But then I learned about Zona tools!

Zona makes small tools for model makers. One of their tools is a tiny dovetail saw. It costs around ten bucks. You don’t have to fettle it. You take it out of the box and start cutting. How can you go wrong? I ordered one. They also make excellent coping saw blades, so I ordered a coping saw. CHEAP! We’ll see how that works out. Why spend a hundred or more bucks on a fancy saw that isn’t any better?

On the spiritual side, I had an interesting experience yesterday.

As I believe I’ve said, I quit serving at my church a while back. I got off their Facebook groups, because they kept typing things like, “PLEASE DELETE THIS POST!!!” They didn’t call or text. They didn’t come to me privately. They just typed things like that, in front of kids and people I’m supposed to lead.

Mind you, I am older than most of the church leaders. I have much more education. I never remind them of those things, but come on.

One post was about a new rule. I was guarding the office door when they counted the offering, and someone made a rule saying no one was allowed in unless I let them in. This offended people, so I went to the church’s FB page and explained it. Nicely. Really, there was nothing wrong with what I said. Trust me. But later on…”PLEASE DELETE THIS POST!!!”

When things like that happen, you realize something supernatural is going on. When you absolutely cannot please someone, a spirit is involved.

Yesterday, I came in and sat in the back. I was in God’s presence, and I was worshiping, but I realized something was bugging me. I looked around, and I realized that in front of me, in various parts of the room, at eye level, women’s rear ends were waving at me. They do that. Many of the women wave their rear ends when they worship, and some wear really tight pants. It’s a bad idea. Obvious?

You can say it’s my fault for being lustful, but that’s stupid. Being tempted is not a sin. If it is, then Jesus is in hell, because he was tempted. You decide. No heterosexual man, holy though he be, will be unaffected by a display like that.

In fact, our pastor’s wife agrees with me. A while back, she posted this: “Ladies: tights are not pants.”

Anyway, I posted this observation:

If you sit in the front row in church you look proud, but if you sit in the back you see all the women dancing in tight pants.

Now, you can decide whether that post is offensive. It’s not, but you will have an opinion. It’s obvious. It’s a problem men deal with. Paul talked about it, saying a woman should even keep her head covered in church.

A lady piped up and said this, revealing that she had no comprehension of what I had said:

I strongly believe this post is not edifying to anyone. Mature christians know how to refrain from speaking this way and instead pray n ask God to guide your own eyes. In shock

“In shock.” That’s what I get. I don’t have the authority to say women should not display their rear ends in church. I don’t have the authority to mention the office rule, so I guess this is not a surprise.

Here is what the pastor’s wife said:

Can’t believe this conversation during our worship time !! Amazing !! Pastora

You have to think about this. I quit bothering them on their page. I quit sharing testimony and revelation on Facebook, almost entirely, because God told me I was wasting it on people who didn’t care. That was great. It was relaxing to be freed. But yesterday, people came to me. Withdrawing from their area of control and showing them respect didn’t make any difference.

Someone said it was interesting that she was on Facebook, criticizing people for being on Facebook. The truth is that everyone Facebooks during services, including worship. The pastors are no exception. This is normal. So the problem wasn’t the Facebooking. It wasn’t even the content, since modesty is something she is also concerned about. The problem is me. It’s who I am. The fact that it came from Steve is the problem.

Remember the Holocaust? The Jews blamed themselves. They tried to assimilate in Germany, even before Hitler came to power. Then when things got bad, they pleaded and tried to please the Nazis. They tried to work within the system.

The restrictions and persecution got worse and worse. The smart Jews left. The rest were shot or sent to starve and burn. Why? Because they were greedy? Because they were arrogant? Because they were successful? Of course not. It was because they belonged to God.

When you become one of God’s favorites, you become a favorite of the devil, too. You may get God to cut off his favor, but you will probably never be able to get the devil to stop working on you. God pulls back from useless people, but the devil loves cruelty and death, so once he gets you down, he keeps kicking.

If people are angry at you because of your anointing, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Stop looking at yourself when you haven’t done anything wrong. It’s not your fault. You didn’t cause it, and you can’t fix it. It’s normal. It is how the rest of your life will be.

The problem isn’t the way I say things. I’m not rude, and besides, you can say things to humble people any way you want. The prophets were unbelievably blunt and harsh, and they are revered. In their time, they were murdered and beaten, but now they’re revered. The problem is the pride of the people I tried to talk to. I’ve had plenty of harsh, rude, criticism from church people–much of it wrong and misguided–and I have not responded the way they have.

Our church has a heavy-duty pride problem, so God has pulled me back. Most people there won’t understand, because, hello, they have pride.

Putting an end to my public revelations won’t help them. That’s not God’s intention. His intention is to help me. It will be harmful to me to keep casting pearls before swine, and I will be wasted on them. It will make me bitter and frustrated. Iniquity is contagious, like mold.

We’ve had a number of false prophecies, and the church is not growing. The branch churches we opened disappeared, and there has been no public admission. Things that should be explored are covered up. That’s a recipe for failure.

After three years, it’s obvious that I won’t be used there, and there are definitely people in the world who will be able to benefit from what I have to offer, so I’m not allowed to strive with the same old crowd any more.

I’m a deacon, or I used to be. Here’s what I did: every Sunday I stood outside the office door. That’s 98% of what I did. It’s not like they were getting a lot of use from me. I didn’t teach. I wasn’t one of the people who is called up to pray for folks in services. I was on the prayer line for a while, but that’s open to anyone who shows up. Whatever it is that I was put there to do, it has not happened.

I did not fight back at all on Facebook. Some of my friends were mad, and they stuck up for me, but I behaved pretty well.

My natural instinct is to start posting correction, but I was in prayer about it today, and God did not like that idea. It would be rebellious.

For weeks, I’ve been praying for God to take the proud people out of my life and bring me humble people. I was proud all my life, and I shut God out. Now I’ve finally learned to love correction, but I’m surrounded by people who are just like I used to be. I deserve it. I sowed for this. But now I want out.

I prayed for God to take proud people away from me, and look what’s happening.

I never used to think of these people as proud. It blew right by me. I did not understand what pride was. But now I see it. And a friend called me to say God had given this word in private, regarding the church: “Arrogance.” The friend was disturbed. It was not what the friend wanted to hear. The friend wanted to believe the best. But this is what God said.

If I go on social media and start yammering, I will be saying, “God, you did exactly what I asked, and now I feel like fighting you. You very graciously showed me the proud people in my life, and you came between us, and now I want to go back and work on them, because I know better than you do.”

If I do that, why should he ever do anything for me again?

When I was a kid, I knew a battered wife. I felt terrible for her. But even then, I knew that she chose what happened to her. When she got away, she went back. If you keep going back to people who have no respect for you, you are your own enemy. You are even more guilty than they are, because you, more than anyone, have an obligation to be on your own side in life.

So I said nothing that could be construed as engaging the Facebook attack.

When God generously, graciously, patiently frees you from something counterproductive, you do not go back. You do not. How many times do you think he will save you?

I don’t put much of anything on Facebook, unless it’s about tools or food or trivial stuff. It’s a complete waste of time. What I wrote yesterday was an exception to my new pattern.

I’m writing here, though. This is my domain, literally. Anyone who comes here uninvited and makes trouble is intruding on my authority. I will not be stifled here, and I will not let anyone comment stupidly.

Posting things here is like writing them on paper and hiding it in a drawer. No one from Miami reads my blog. They’re not interested in what I say in person, so they won’t come here to read it.

I hope God keeps sending me people who will benefit from what he tells me. It is not possible to bless proud people. It cannot be done, because all real blessing comes through listening. Only humble people can be blessed.

I’ve done a lot of slimy, disgusting things in my life. I am not a good person. But it is not right for younger people who are unaccomplished and have limited prayer lives to treat me like a child, especially after telling me I’m a watchman and a prophet.

I plan to keep going to my church, sitting in the back and leaving after a couple of hours so I won’t get worn out. Sooner or later I’ll end up in a new church, and I will not volunteer for anything. I will not speak in front of people. I will not accept any office.

God doesn’t really run churches. They are extensions of the world. It is pointless to try to fit in. I’m sure there is an exception out there somewhere, but I have not seen it yet.

Keep praying in tongues. If you can’t pray in tongues, keep praying for God to show you how. Keep asking for humility. Keep asking God to destroy your pride and help you to be honest. These are the things that will fix your life and heal your heart and mind. The other stuff–the money and houses and so on–will only be curses to you unless you become the kind of person who can receive a blessing.

Forget transferring your worldly ambition and work ethic to the church. Those things are for Satan’s children. Our tools are faith, honesty, love, and humility. Don’t listen to foolish blowhards who think God has chosen them simply because they’ve managed to get people to come listen to them every week.

When God removes toxic people from your life, thank him and get with the program. Do not go back to your own vomit. If you didn’t like it the first time you ate it, the second time will be even worse.

Life is good, and it will keep getting better. I can’t take everyone with me. I accept that. Jesus couldn’t do it either. I will be happy with whoever shows up and takes the right attitude.

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When the Owner is Lazy, the Roof Sags

June 12th, 2015

When Hands are Idle, the House Leaks

I got an interesting revelation yesterday.

We complain a lot about the things that happen to us, especially if we don’t believe in God or we have been sucked in by the prosperity preachers. People who don’t believe in God generally think they deserve good things, and people who have been duped by the prosperity preachers think God is obligated to do things for them because they send morons money.

I don’t complain about disappointments and problems. I realize I don’t deserve good things. I’m glad my life is so pleasant. The fact that it’s as good as it is impresses me, because I know what I really am.

Yesterday morning, I realized that I had been sowing destruction and pain for myself for most of my life. That added a new dimension to my understanding of my circumstances.

If you’re not serving God, you’re serving Satan. There is no neutral ground. And going to church doesn’t make you a servant of God. You have to hear from the Holy Spirit and try to obey. You can’t just treat the advice in the New Testament (or Old Testament) as though it were law, obeying it as well as you can. A person who obeys a list of rules can’t, by definition, be Spirit-led.

If you haven’t been Spirit-led, you have been serving the devil, to one degree or another. So you’ve been sowing destruction.

I’ll tell you something personal. I have tried not to discuss this publicly for quite some time, but I will make an exception.

A relative of mine used drugs and refused to change. She refused to acknowledge that anything was wrong with her. She lived in a house for which her father paid the bulk of the purchase price, and she did virtually nothing to maintain it.

If you want to destroy a house, all you have to do is sit on the couch. If you’ve never maintained a property, you would be amazed at what inactivity can do.

There was a water leak under the floor. She paid a $300 water bill every month and didn’t fix the leak. The living room floor started to rot; even the joists and subflooring started to go. One day the hot water connection under the kitchen sink broke, and steam filled the house. When the steam went away, she thought the problem was gone. The added humidity caused black mold to cover the walls in a short period of time. Water kept pouring out under the house.

Rats came in. They wandered in and out of the kitchen cabinets, eating old bags of beans and whatever else they wanted. During the day, they were easily audible, because they got used to ruling the house. Their excrement was everywhere.

Roaches were thick. Large South Florida roaches that fly and bite. The roof gave out, so there was an additional source of water. Termites love water. They started eating the house.

By the time her father bought her out, the house was so far gone that everything except the outer concrete walls had to be replaced. After she moved her filthy belongings out, it cost him about a thousand dollars to get the remaining junk hauled to the dump. Furniture, dishes…you name it. Things that originally cost many thousands of dollars.

Why am I telling you this? Because it shows that inactivity is sowing.

If you haven’t been spending substantial time in prayer every day all your life, you have been sowing destruction to yourself. So if you get cancer, or your business fails, or your kids die, how can you say you’re surprised?

If things go well, you should be amazed, humbled, and afraid. You should reconcile with God before your bill comes due.

I sowed both actively and inactively. I was lustful, ungrateful, disrespectful, proud, gluttonous, lazy, cruel, greedy, and a bunch of other things I could rattle off if I thought about it. That was active on my part. I didn’t pray. I did virtually nothing for other people. I thought pride and confidence would fix my life, so I didn’t fight them the way I should have. I did little to correct my faults. In these ways, I was inactive.

Now things are not what I had hoped they would be when I was 18. I have never married. I have no children. I didn’t make it as a physicist. I didn’t make it as a writer. Well, what did I expect? What did I sow for? A life much worse than the one I have. I have nothing to complain about.

It sounds like the revelation I got was bad news. Of course, it’s not. A mature person doesn’t shoot messengers. When we receive bad news, we generally react as if something bad has happened, but usually, the news isn’t the problem. Very often, receiving the news is a blessing. If you know something has gone wrong, you can react and fix it. If you’re still in the dark, things will fester and get worse.

The revelation was very good news. It showed me that I have not been cheated, and that I have the power to improve my future. It made me feel relieved, because I have a few years of prayer behind me now. I have good seed in the ground. The bad seed is being eradicated before it can bear fruit. Things are getting better and better.

Other people–people who seem evil or just obnoxious–have blessings I don’t have. Does that mean life is unfair? No, it just means they’ve gotten some undeserved blessings I didn’t get. What happens to them is not really relevant to me. God has a prescription for everyone, and yours may not match your neighbor’s.

I know things some of them will never know on this earth, and I have tools and weapons most of them will never have. Is that fair? Should I want to trade places with them? Obviously not. So who got the better deal?

I can’t share this stuff with most of the people I know, because I’m simply not allowed. It would be like drunk-dialing an old girlfriend who ran off with a rich guy and vandalized my car. I would be inviting more disrespect. Once people show you what they are, you have to treat them accordingly. If you keep going back to them, you are as responsible for their bad acts as they are.

It probably sounds like I’m furious with the people I know, but that’s not it at all. They’re not malicious. They just don’t listen. Talking to people who don’t listen takes a toll. I’ve had my dose. I’m not supposed to take any more at this time.

They can’t have it, so it’s yours. If it sounds negative, you didn’t understand it, and you’re not ready for it. If you get it, it will be helpful to you.

I am not good. I still do things I’m ashamed of. But with God’s help, I am becoming good, and I am heading in the right direction. It’s not about how well you obey rules. It’s about submission, confession, repentance, and prayer. Focus on internal change, by the means Jesus prescribed, and everything else will take care of itself.

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The Truth Can’t be any Planer

June 11th, 2015

Something New: Tools That Work

You’re probably wondering how to handle the chips and dust from your DeWalt DW735 portable (HA!) planer, now that DeWalt has stopped making the dust collection attachment.

I wondered, too. I bought my DeWalt years ago, and I have used it very little because it was inconvenient. It weighs over a hundred pounds. To use it, I had to pick it up off the floor and lift it onto my Workmate. After clearing seventy or eighty pounds of junk off the Workmate. Then I would turn it on and go deaf, and chips would shoot all over the place.

A responsible person does not buy tools without the required accessories and storage. I know that NOW. I needed a stand and a dust system.

I still don’t have a dust collector. I am not sold on them. Yes, obviously, it would be fantastic to have a bunch of 4″pipes running all over the garage, connecting to every tool. But that is a gigantic amount of work and expense, and it looks like it’s not necessary. The table saw does just fine with a shop-vac. So does the router. So do the bench grinder and oscillating spindle sander. The drill press is impossible to rig up for dust collection. That leaves the vertical band saw, and I’m not sure a dust collector would fix it.

I don’t think I need a full-blown dust system–feeble pun not intended–but I should make some sort of effort. And the planer needed to be on a moving platform so I would not have to risk ER visits by lifting it from the floor.

I have become convinced that bench tools are stupid. For the most part. Think about it. You buy a bench drill press to save space. Where do you put it? On the bench. Where it takes up space. Or you put it on the floor. Where it takes up the same amount of space as a floor press, but you can’t use it without getting down on your knees.

Bench tools take up just as much room as floor tools, so you might as well buy floor tools or put bases on your bench tools.

DeWalt makes a nice rolling stand for the planer, but I didn’t like it. It would cost over $150, for 12 pieces of Chinese steel, four wheels, and a slab of MDF. And it had no bottom shelf for a dust bag or whatever. If you rig it for a shelf, you have to put the pedal that unlocks the wheels out where it takes up room. I opted for the He-Man’s choice: Harbor Freight. They make a table that costs $40, plus a mobile base that costs slightly less.

Don’t do what I did. The table is wobbly, so if you want it to be rigid, you will have to add additional steel, which is a pain. The base requires four pieces of 1 1/4″ square lumber to connect the four corners, and because that’s a weird size, you will have to cut the wood yourself. Big mess. The instructions are horrible. I hope the guy who wrote them also writes documentation for China’s nuclear weapons.

The table has no top, so you have to buy plywood and make one, and that’s also a pain. The sanded plywood from Home Depot is sanded in the same sense that club soda is pre-sweetened, so you will have to go back over it, and then you will have to hit it pretty hard with Danish oil or something.

Just buy the DeWalt stand.

Anyway, after three days of work, I got the stand assembled and mounted the planer on it. It works, but I can’t get the wobbles out of it, so I know some metalworking is in my future.

I got the idea for this project a few weeks after I finally threw out the old hose from my shop-vac (I had upgraded to a nice orange hose), so I had to pay $20 for a new hose. Never throw anything out, because the minute you do, you will need it or someone will offer you a thousand dollars for it. On the other hand, grow up and throw things out, because clutter is unhealthy.

You can’t win. I know I haven’t.

If you have the same planer, you will benefit from my dust-collection efforts. I found a 2″ flexible pipe coupling at Home Depot, and I used it to connect it to the 2 1/2″ port on the DeWalt’s dust attachment. You may wonder why a 2″ connector fits on a 2 1/2″ port. I do, too.

I connected the other end of the coupling to the vacuum hose. Then I put a hose clamp over the other and of the hose. When I finally get a dust bag (still working on it), I will slip the dust bag’s collar under the hose clamp and tighten it. The planer has an incredible fan in it, so it will blow the crap through the hose, even though it’s narrow, and it will go into the bag.

One guy on the web uses a pillow case to catch the chips. Supposedly the planer doesn’t make much fine dust, so you can use a crummy filter bag. But I am trying to find something better. Might as well get rid of as much dust as possible.

I will want to put a lower shelf in the stand, to hold the bag. After that, I should be in business.

A planer is a wonderful thing. You can’t use the wood you buy at the store until you plane and joint it, and a planer performs both functions. You will need a planer sled to make it joint, but that’s no big deal. If you put a Wixey DRO on it, you can thickness (“planer” is really a misnomer) wood with great accuracy, and you won’t have to do much sanding at all. If you don’t have a planer and jointer, you will need to get very handy with hand planes, which is not a bad idea, but still.

Speaking of hand planes, as noted in an earlier post, I rehabilitated one last month, and I am adding some new ones to my collection. I seem to have the skill to get old planes going, so I might as well pick up a few.

To make a plane work well, you need an edge like a razor, so you will want water stones or, if you’re a hack like me, a super-fine diamond stone. Anyway, if you can get planes to work, you can avoid a lot of dust, expense, and noise. Machines replace skill and effort, but they come with their own problems.

For jointing, you want a #7 plane or bigger. I don’t have one, but I do look around on Ebay. It’s also nice to have a shoulder plane. It fine-tunes tenons, and you can cut slots with it. IF you can find one that works. Stanley makes one that seems okay until you try to use it. I am referring to the #92. The problem with it is that the blade is narrower than the body. That means you can’t cut all the way to the side, so you can forget cutting a slot, which has to be cut on both sides. I bought a Stanley, and the blade was 0.007″ narrower than the body, so there was no way to make it work. I sent it back, and now I’m waiting for a Woodriver medium shoulder plane. This is the cheapest new shoulder plane that actually works.

You can buy ordinary planes (smoothing, jack, jointer, and so on) used without much fear, but shoulder planes are a pain in the butt, so you might as well grit your teeth and spend for a new one.

I don’t actually know how to USE these things, but I am going to put in a little effort, now that I have learned how to obtain them and make them function.

I guess I went down a rabbit trail there. Sorry.

I got the planer set up tonight, and I am really happy about it. Having stuff is fine, but if you’re not aligned with God’s will, your stuff won’t work, or it won’t bring you pleasure. Now that I’m getting with it, things are going more smoothly, and the things that are happening in the garage are exemplary.

Correction keeps pouring into me, and I am more grateful for it every day. I know, and feel in my heart, that inner correction is the blessing we are supposed to be seeking. We clamor for money, houses, and even sex, but we reject the opportunity to become like the God we beg for favors. No wonder he doesn’t help us.

The devil was cursed for saying, “I will be like the most high,” in his own heart. The funny thing is, we are blessed for saying the same thing. Satan wanted to be like God in that he wanted to be admired. He wanted to be all-powerful. He wanted to punish. We are supposed to be like God in that we love and forgive. We are supposed to have his humility and kindness. If you want God to do things for you on earth, you have to say, in your heart, “I will be like the most high.”

The idiots on TV are trying to convince us that power and wealth will come just because we go to church, send preachers money, and recite Bible promises. If you were God, would you subsidize that garbage? Of course not. It would be like continuing to send your college-student son an allowance after he told you he had become a dope dealer.

You don’t get blessed because you’ve changed. The change IS the blessing. After that, the other things–money, houses, and so on–can’t hurt you. They can’t spoil you. So God has no reason to withhold them, and you just might get them. After all, Jesus gave us instructions for getting wealth: seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. He didn’t say anything about buying Creflo Dollar a jet.

I still can’t write about these things on social media. Today I wanted to say something. I at least wanted to warn people. I wanted to say that the reason I quit sharing things was that I was no longer allowed to, because no one listened. But I wasn’t even allowed to say that. So here I am. Saying it to twelve people.

Today God showed me that trying to warn people who have already had multiple chances is like trying to rekindle a bad relationship. If you’re out, be grateful. Don’t return to your own vomit. So I’m not pushing it.

Here’s a photo of the planer. I am determined to make something out of wood in the near future, just to see my tools do what they’re supposed to do. Maybe a box. I have a great DVD about box-making.

06 11 15 DeWalt planer on HF table with hose attached

Last night after I got done working in the garage, and after I had cleaned up, I turned around to walk out, and I felt as if I had turned too fast. Suddenly I saw the garage with new eyes. It looked new to me. I saw tools that could actually be used. I saw increased order. It was very strange.

External order comes from internal order. There is no other way to get there.

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I Can See my Floor!

June 8th, 2015

May Your Garage Prosper Even as Your Soul Prospers

Outward order is a sign of inward order.

This week I handled some really annoying problems in the Garage of Shalom. I got a new tool box, I moved some junk out, I created a mobile grinding station, and I fixed the casters on my table saw’s extension.

This stuff may not sound important, but the simple fact is, if it’s inconvenient to use your tools, you will stop using them.

First, the box.

Maybe ten years ago, I decided to get a real tool box. A friend had a Craftsman that looked okay, so I decided to try Sears. I didn’t know about Craftsman’s declining reputation.

I ordered a stainless roller cart and a chest to go on top. I still have them. They’re very nice. The steel is thick. The drawer metal measures 0.050″ in thickness, which is very good. The drawers slide well. The casters work. Great box.

Recently I realized I needed a second box. I had a Northern Tool cart for machining, but it was not a great choice. It only had two shelves. You can’t store a lot of stuff in a cart that has two shelves. It made life easier when I was using the mill and lathe, but I still had tools all over the place.

I started looking for a new box, to go in the 20″-wide space between my mill and lathe. I learned some surprising things.

1. Craftsman boxes are really bad now. Boxes have generally gotten thinner, and brands like Craftsman and Husky are awful. For all I know they have some luxury boxes that have thick steel, but I am not willing to take a chance. The boxes I have were discontinued years ago, so I can’t get new ones.

2. Harbor Freight makes pretty good boxes, dirt cheap. But they’re not as good as they used to be, and Harbor Freight is keeping quiet about the change. For $369, you can get a roller cabinet something like 41″ long, and it’s not too bad, but the metal in the drawers is under 0.040″ thick, so they wobble. Someone I know miked an older box, and the metal was 0.050″ thick. Caveat emptor. On the up side, the Harbor Freight box has lots of shallow drawers, which is nice if you have tons of wrenches and screwdrivers.

3. A company called Extreme Tools makes nice boxes for very good prices, but in order to get thick metal, you have to get a box at least 56″ wide.

4. Snap-On boxes have a great reputation, but the prices, even for used ones, are completely insane. A new box in the size I wanted would run over $2000, and a used one in acceptable condition would be well over $1000.

5. Vidmar and Lista make boxes that are much better than Snap-On, but they are very expensive, and they are oddly shaped. You won’t see used ones on the market very often.

I was about to buy a Harbor Freight box, but I changed my mind after I took a dial caliper to the store and checked the drawer metal. The box was just too flimsy and wobbly.

What’s the alternative? Believe it or not, it’s Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee company just came out with a $400 48″ box. It has 6-gauge metal in the undercarriage. The drawers all hold either 100 or 200 pounds each (much more than Harbor Freight). Most of the drawers are over 0.050″ thick. The box has thick powder coating, and it even has a power strip built in. You can put a Milwaukee chest on top of it.

The only negatives are the need for a wood or MDF top to stiffen the work surface, and the lack of shallow drawers. Most of the drawers are fairly deep. Great if you have bulky stuff to store. Not great if you have 2000 wrenches.

I got the box and shoved a bunch of stuff in it. I’m going to make a plywood top. So far, it’s fantastic. I could not come close to it for under $2000.

06 03 15 Milwaukee tool box assembled in garage

Moving loose stuff into the box opened up a lot of table and shelf space, so I was able to move a lot of junk around and open the garage up. It’s fantastic.

A responsible person does not buy tools he can’t store. When you spend $800 on a guitar, you should spend $1500 on an amp. When you spend $800 on a rifle, you should spend $300 or more on a scope. Tools work the same way. If you can’t afford the accessories and so on, you can’t afford the tools.

Lesson learned.

I was going to sell the utility cart, but I changed my mind. I set the belt grinder on it temporarily while I was straightening up, and I saw that the rubber feet on the base were spaced perfectly so they lined up with the inside of the cart tray. I was able to drop the grinder onto the cart, and it fit perfectly. That got me thinking.

I took a piece of the same plywood I used for the grinder base, and I made a base for my bench grinder. The bases are sized so the two of them fit in the cart with no room for wobbling. I use the space under them to store belts and wheels. I put some heavy chucks on the lower shelf, and I plan to add a Bucket Head vacuum for the bench grinder, plus a power strip. It’s excellent.

Now I have a wonderful, convenient grinder station I can wheel around and use whenever I want.

06-06-15 rockwell grinder and bench grinder on utility cart

While I was moving stuff off the table saw, I decided it was time to fix the extension casters. I built the extension myself. I think it was in 2007. I used an old melamine desk for the top. I intended it to be temporary, but it’s sturdy as it can be, so I left it alone. But I did an extremely poor job of attaching the casters, and they were coming loose, making me reluctant to move the saw so I could use it.

I had an old mobile base I had made for the band saw. I was made from 2″ angle iron. I got the plasma cutter put together (should have used the angle grinder) and cut it in pieces, and I made two brackets to hold the casters.

I used a Rockwell Jawhorse to hold the base while I cut it. This tool is wonderful, and right now Amazon is selling it for $99, delivered. That’s crazy cheap.

After cutting the steel, I had two rough pieces to use for brackets. I took them to the belt grinder to deburr them. It works like a dream. They’re beautiful. The grinder won’t hog steel the way a 2″ x 72″ will, but it’s great for finer work.

I drilled the brackets using the drill press, and then I got ready to attach them to the extension. Problem: the bottom of the extension was uneven at the bottom where the pieces of wood were joined. Luckily, I had a Fein Multimaster with flush-cutting blades. In a few minutes, I was able to slice the unwanted wood off. Amazing.

Here you see the result, with the brackets attached to the saw.

06 07 15 table saw extension caster brackets fabricated

Now I don’t have to worry about the casters falling off.

My next project is a cart for the DeWalt planer. I never use it because it’s heavy and dusty. I found out DeWalt makes a rolling base, but there is no way I’m paying $150 for it. I’m going to make one from wood, and I’ll include a lower shelf for dust collection.

I found out that the DeWalt’s dust is coarse, so you don’t need a fancy 0.0001-micron collector. You can actually use a pillow case. DeWalt used to sell a bag similar to the ones used for leaf collection. The planer has an incredible built-in blower, so all I need to do is add a hose and bag. Home Depot has a wide selection of leaf bags, so this will be easy. As with so many of God’s blessings, it’s hard to believe I didn’t see this sooner.

After that, I hope to arrange for dust collection on the vertical band saw, and then I plan to use my tools.

This is wonderful. I have so much more room now, and sometimes I actually do things with my tools instead of staring at them.

This is a reflection of what’s going on inside me. I have realized that mainstream charismatics are wrong, wrong, wrong. They worship money and success, but they should be clamoring for correction and maturity. That’s where the progress, power, peace, and success are.

I can’t really share this stuff with my church. They are on another path. God has shown me that I am not allowed to go on Facebook or show up at services and try to share. I’ve been doing that for three years, and all of the people who are going to listen have listened. It would be a waste of my time–a waste of ME–to keep striving.

I am no longer serving as a volunteer. What a difference it makes. Yesterday I was able to go to church at eleven instead of ten. I was able to leave at 1:15 instead of 1:45 or 2:30. I didn’t have to testify or try to persuade people of anything. The music was too loud, so I showed up 15 minutes into it and wore ear plugs. The service was too long, so I took off early. I wasn’t tired. I still had energy. I didn’t have the familiar feeling of frustration.

They’re nice people. I don’t want to be dismissive or insulting. I still go to church twice a week. But I don’t have to wrestle any more. If they are going to be persuaded, it will not be by me. I did my part, and I have been released so I can heal.

I don’t have to work in the ministries and offer suggestions no one will take. I don’t have to show up for every event and work and spend money. I don’t have to buy every promotional T-shirt. I like it. It would be better if we were unified, so I could work toward worthwhile goals with them, but at least I’m getting some rest.

Things are going really well in my own walk. My friend Travis comes down once or twice a week for prayer, and he’s really taking off. The wise things that come out of him now amaze me. I have other friends whose lives are changing dramatically because they listen. And instead of going to the church’s Wednesday night services, I go to the quiet prayer services on Tuesday. No loud drums. No yelling. Just two or three men, praying quietly. No one else shows up. If the service attracted a lot of people, it would turn into a noisy rally.

I’ve asked God to take proud people away from me and to put me among people who listen. This is almost like asking to be lonely, because there are so few people who fit that description. But it’s worth it. As the psalm says, “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.”

When your heart aligns with God, he will take notice, set you aside, and see to it that things start to work. Donating money is a waste of time (and money). Working as a volunteer won’t get you over the hump, either. What matters is loving and receiving correction. After all, why should God help people who don’t pursue his goals? It’s common sense.

The Garage of Shalom really IS a garage of shalom. It comes from God, not effort.

I wish I could keep sharing the revelation I get, in the usual ways, but I am not permitted. So I blog. Maybe someone will read it and catch on.

I’m glad I got that out. Hope it helps someone.

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White is the New Black

June 3rd, 2015

Up is the New Down

I keep asking God to show me my faults, and–I am tempted to say “unfortunately”–he is coming through. When he does, I feel like I’m on the down slope of a very high roller coaster. I’m thrilled that he heard me, and I’m excited to receive the knowledge. I find myself looking forward eagerly to the improvement that will come of it. But at the same time, the things I see are surprisingly nasty.

I wish there was one thing I could be proud of. I wish my history did not exist. I wish that a thousand years from now, in my purified form, I could look back and not see the disgusting acts and thoughts of my time on earth. But I’m very glad to have pride and denial taken out of me, because there is no way my biased self-image can be permitted to continue to exist.

I don’t receive the knowledge continuously. Every once in a while, I get a burst of it. I don’t think God expects to clean out the Augean Stables of my heart in one session. It’s too big a job, and he isn’t going to subject me to an arduous cold turkey ordeal.

Last night while I was praying, it hit me again. I thought of all the sick things I had done and felt in my life. How can such a person be loved by anyone, let alone a God who has never done anything but good? It’s hard to accept.

It’s true; I’ve done some good. That doesn’t matter much. Would you come to my house for Thanksgiving dinner if you knew there was half a teaspoon of cat manure hidden somewhere in a 25-pound turkey? Of course not. If you’re mostly good and partly bad–and I’m not saying I’m mostly good–there is a word to describe you: “bad.”

We live in a tee ball society now, where everyone gets a prize even if they miss. People can’t be good. They can’t succeed. The solution? Pretend they’re good! Pretend they succeeded!

We judge ourselves against a standard of total failure instead of God’s perfection. So we feel a lot better about ourselves than we should, and we think we deserve things to which we are not entitled.

You can’t grow if you can’t acknowledge fault. You are a product, and products must be subject to quality control. If every product passes, quality drops to an unacceptable level. It’s that simple.

Pride is poison. We try to raise kids to be proud, because pride and confidence provide motivation, but it’s a mistake. It’s a substitute for the power of God.

If you think you’re a pretty good person, you will feel entitled to things. When your neighbor does better than you do, you will feel cheated. A lot of life’s unhappiness comes from the sense that we’ve been cheated, especially in America, where our unrealistic expectations are so entrenched we have collected them in a package and named it “the American Dream.” The truth is that we are only entitled to hell. Every second that we spend here on hell’s doorstep is a great blessing and a reprieve, and we should never complain about anything.

I don’t mean that we should not criticize. God forbid we stop criticizing. I mean we should not take the attitude that we have been deprived of good things we deserve. That simply does not happen on earth. We receive good things we do not deserve, but after we reach the age of accountability, we never receive evil that we haven’t earned.

The modern charismatic church is poisoning people as though they were weeds, spraying them with self-approval which stunts their growth. They always talk about God’s love and lack of judgment. Yes, he loves us. That doesn’t mean he thinks we don’t need to change. And as for judgment, he piled it on us, with great brutality. We don’t feel it because Jesus stepped in the way. It still exists, however. God’s wrath is real, and it had to be satisfied. The bill was not discarded. It was paid.

If you accept salvation and then quit examining yourself, the improvement you experience while you live on the earth will be very limited, as will your power and peace. Correction is not a punishment. It is an opportunity to avoid punishment. If only we could learn to love it and embrace it.

America just witnessed an event which serves to illustrate my points. A male senior citizen just posed for a photo in women’s underwear, the photo was published on the cover of a major magazine, and many Americans responded by declaring him a hero. That shows how the culture of mindless approval has poisoned us.

Of course, I’m referring to Caitlyn Jenner. I respect his right to change his name, even if the gender change is a sad delusion.

He lived a life of sexual confusion, and he did not have a corrective connection to the Holy Spirit, so he never received a solution to his problem. The result? Surrender and intellectual perversion. He lost, so he and his cohorts declared victory and decided to call an evil result good.

If he had really known God, he would have received knowledge and discernment. The man he could have been would be horrified by the man he has become.

Very few Americans have a corrective connection to the Holy Spirit, so we are surrendering, too. We have decided that the strange inclinations we can’t change are normal and healthy. We call evil good and good evil, largely because we see no alternative. The church wandered off into a swamp of effort, pride, and greed centuries ago, so it has failed to connect us to the help we need. Now we drift without anchors or compasses, and there is no limit to our deviations from God’s healthy course.

We have reached a point where all correction is called “judgment” and “hate,” unless it’s the judgment and hate of people who dislike God’s ways. If you call a Christian or an Orthodox Jew a bigot, few people will criticize your obvious hate, but if you say an old man with chemically induced breasts has problems, even if you say it with empathy, you can expect to be excoriated as though you had endorsed child molestation.

The enemy has done a wonderful job of sealing out correction and targeting those who are bold and caring enough to provide it. It’s as though he had convinced people that water was poisonous. Amazing. He even has the people he has misled, continuing his work for him. He destroyed them, and they reward him with fervent service.

They remind me of the Jews who worked in the death camps, stripping the dead and shoving them into ovens. The difference is that the hearts of the Jews were not in their work.

If you can understand your own guilt, you can be rid of pride. If you can be rid of pride, God will stop fighting you. The Bible clearly states that he fights the proud and helps the humble. If you deny guilt and hold onto pride, you are poisoning yourself and your children. It’s pointless for a proud person with a sense of entitlement to complain about his enemies, because they are only doing that which is just. We need to look at ourselves in order to uncover the gaps that let our enemies in.

America will let Jesus sit in the doorway and beg, because we like to pretend we respect him as a really nice person, but it hates the Holy Spirit. It hates truth. We have reached a point where people who listen to God will not be tolerated in mainstream society. Christians love to say we need to stand up for God and make ourselves heard, but that boat has sailed. We need to pray and repent, as individuals. It’s very unlikely that this country will turn from its course of hatred and persecution. Things will almost surely get worse. Like the Jews in Europe, we will be seen as necessary sacrifices, to be burned in the oven of the common good. The country will not help us, and if we stay proud, God will not help us, either.

I encourage you to pray in the Spirit and think about pride and denial. Stop being satisfied with what you are. Stop listening to the positive opinions of people who don’t really know you. Help is available, but it only comes to people who admit they need it.

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Tools I’ve Helped Renew

May 30th, 2015

Don’t Buy What You Can’t Store

Things are going well here. I am getting more done with tools than I used to. Below, you will see an example.

05 27 15 Rockwell grinder with lid installed

That’s a Rockwell 1″ x 42″ belt sander/grinder. I found it on Craigslist. The owner wanted 30 bucks. I could not pass that up, even though I did not want the tool.

I drove up to a borderline-ghetto area to pick it up. The owner was a young man with tattoos. He took me to his backyard, where he had a small shed set up. It was immaculate inside, complete with a two-tone paint job on sheetrock walls. He had a Logan lathe, a Rockwell drill press, and several other old machines set up. I was startled. You wouldn’t have expected anything from the outside.

He couldn’t get the grinder to work, so he removed it to sell and kept the stand.

Because the motor was in the stand, I needed propulsion. I decided to try a treadmill motor.

These motors used to be real bargains. They run on DC, and DC motors are usually expensive, but because there are a lot of old treadmills out there, treadmill motors have been easy to come by.

Some, at least, are controlled by boards that can be removed along with the motors. One of the most common boards is the MC-60. It has no transformers or power capacitors on it, but you can plug one end into a wall socket and the other into a motor, and it will make it run.

I found a 3/4-HP motor and an MC-60 on Ebay. I don’t recall the total cost. Somewhere around a hundred bucks. I made a mistake and fried the rectifiers and thyristors on the MC-60, so I had to put new ones in, but other than that, it worked.

The motor came with a cast-iron wheel for a flat belt, and the wheel had vanes in it so it sucked air through the motor. It wouldn’t work for my purpose, so I made a new aluminum pulley with vanes. I bought a plastic junction box at Home Depot to hold the control and switches. I mounted the whole mess on a piece of thick plywood, and I applied rubber feet.

The grinder needed to have crud cleaned out of it. It was also adjusted incorrectly, so things were rubbing. I got it clean, and it turned out to be in good shape. Even the wheels were okay. They are notorious for falling apart.

I ordered a few belts for it, and now it works. Very nice. A belt will cut non-ferrous things without exploding, and it produces less heat, so it can be very useful. If you’re grinding aluminum on a wheel, you need to be aware that aluminum can melt into the grit, expand when hot, and then make the wheel explode. This can lead to unpleasant events such as having large chunks of wheel imbed themselves in your facial bones.

Bench grinders are extremely dangerous, but almost no one knows that.

I put a reversing switch on the grinder so I can use the lower wheel for thicknessing parts. I will put some sort of table under it, and then I’ll be able to raise and lower the table and shove parts under the wheel, against the rotation. If you grind with the rotation, the belt will try to yank the parts away from you, and it will try to pull your fingers along with it, breaking them if necessary.

Right now I have an Accu-link belt on it, but I think I should get a normal v-belt, because Accu-link belts are not made with reversing motors in mind. It only takes a few seconds to reverse the belt, though.

While building this thing, I learned a lot about DC motors and belt grinders. Now I’ll be ready if I go on to build a 2″ x 72″.

A while back, I found that things were rusting in one corner of my shop. Eventually, I started to suspect that muriatic acid was to blame. I had a jug of it stored in that area. I investigated and found out that muriatic acid will make things rust even if you keep it capped. I moved the acid to another location and started polishing and oiling things. One of those things was a neat old Stanley #6 plane I got from a tool restorer.

The plane had some rust on it, but it wasn’t actually damaged. It got me thinking about another old plane that was in the garage somewhere. I dug the other plane out and looked it over. The sole was deeply pitted on one side. I mean, maybe twenty thousandths deep. I didn’t know if it was worth saving, but online tool people assured me it was worth a go.

I had to grind off maybe an eighth of an inch of pitted and dented blade, but I eventually got a good shaving edge, which I did my best to polish with a 6000-grit diamond stone. I used sandpaper, WD40, and a flat surface to clean the plane’s sole. I found myself a crummy two-by-four to use for test purposes, and eventually, I got the results you see below.

05 29 15 Stanley 4 plane sharpened and cleaned making shavings

It’s not a desirable plane. It was probably made about fifty years ago, when Stanley was making dubious products, but with effort, I got it to function, so now I can’t throw it out.

I’m considering getting a big rolling tool cabinet to organize things. I already have a really nice 26″ stainless Craftsman combo, but it’s not enough. I want something I can put the CNC lathe on, so it won’t be on my bench any more.

It’s hard finding good boxes now. I got very lucky with my Craftsman, because their stuff is mostly junk. So is Husky. There are a lot of used boxes out there, but I don’t think $1300 for a used Snap-On with rust and flaking paint is much of a deal.

Supposedly, the best stuff comes from Vidmar and Lista, but I will never find that locally, and if I did, it would cost a ton.

I made a surprising discovery. Harbor Freight makes very nice tool boxes. Not the best, but much better than Craftsman. You can get a 44″ roller for $369. I took a look, and they’re not bad at all. I also discovered Extreme Tools. Their boxes are supposedly better than Snap-On and Matco, but they’re considerably cheaper. For $900, you can get a 44″ box with 18-gauge steel in the drawers.

You can order from their website, but that’s a bad idea. If you do that, you have to deal with the shipper, and shippers are idiots. They ruin things all the time, and you have to jump through hoops to get things fixed. The best route is to order from Home Depot. The price is about the same, and delivery to your local store is free. Home Depot will then have to eat any shipping problems, and they will also collect the local sales tax so you don’t have to send a check to your state.

It’s a tough choice. I would like to use credit card points, and if you use them to buy Home Depot stuff with a gift card, you get 100% of the value of the points. If you shop at Harbor Freight, you only get 60% of the value. What it boils down to, for me, is about $360 more for the Extreme Tools box. Might be worth it. But then I’ll get hammered again if I buy a side cabinet to go with it.

I see tool organization as part of God’s pattern of correction and ordering. I bought a lot of tools without much thought for storage, so I have stuff all over the place. A second rolling cabinet would make a big dent in the problem.

Speaking of God, things go well in that area. I feel like a fool for taking so long to understand how wonderful correction is, and that it’s the main purpose of our walk with him. I wish I had seen the obvious sooner. I knew it was important, but I didn’t realize it was the biggest blessing available, after salvation.

You can know things without really feeling them in a way that motivates you.

Unfortunately, things are not going as well for people around me. My church is shrinking, and enthusiasm is waning. They insist on loud music and long services, so people come a few times and then get tired of it and move on. I can’t recommend the church to people any more, because I know they won’t stay. Everyone at the church has been made aware of the issues, but they have made a firm decision not to change, so there it is.

Every morning I wake up and spend hours in prayer, and until recently, God gave me revelation which I shared on social media. That’s over. I still get revelation, but I am not permitted to share it. When I consider sharing it, something stops me.

I realize what’s going on. I have been striving to convince people, and they have decided not to listen. I have been wasting my time. God required me to do it for a while, but for my own protection, he has told me to stop.

This is how the Christian life works. The only reason God allows us to remain here in this filthy mess of a world is to reach other people. For that reason, we are required to pray for them and talk to them. But we aren’t supposed to overdo it. We can’t force people to listen. We can’t choose God’s children for him. When people reject us consistently, we are supposed to pull back and let them receive the harvest for which they have sown. That’s where I am now.

If you keep pestering people, your relationship with them deteriorates, and you run the risk of becoming bitter and angry. You also become frustrated, because you feel you’re not achieving anything. When I stopped prodding and encouraging, I felt as though I had put down an anvil. I had been carrying lazy, proud people on my shoulders. It wasn’t until I put them down that I realized they were wearing me out.

It’s a great feeling, but I would rather see people listen and change.

Even God doesn’t get that wish. He can’t change people, and neither can I. He likes to put us in positions where we suffer what he suffers, so we understand what he goes through. Now I know what it’s like to have my time wasted by people who don’t listen. That’s God’s life. The entire Bible is about mankind’s failure to listen and the destruction that followed.

God told me this a few months back: hell isn’t full of sinners; it’s full of people who don’t listen. Sin can’t keep you out of heaven if you are willing to listen. A humble, repentant serial pedophile is better off than a missionary who thinks he knows everything.

Pride is THE worst sin. I know Jesus made it seem like all sins were equal, but he was talking about their effect on salvation. When it comes to destroying a person’s progress with God, pride is IT.

A small number of people have been affected by the things I’ve shared. That’s all I think I will get. Again, I am learning how God feels. He never gets the majority. It’s always a small remnant.

I don’t think the church will be around long. We started churches in Winter Haven and Georgia. The Winter Haven church disappeared, and I’m pretty sure the Georgia church is also gone. There haven’t been any announcements. Things are not going well in the main church. The other day I counted 50 people in attendance, excluding babies and small children. That’s not good. Back when we were moving forward and experiencing revival, attendance was a lot better.

I’ve had a lot of great experiences in the church, and I’ve made some wonderful friends. We have seen each other change for the better. Now I will wait for the next chapter in my life.

I may hop in the truck and check out a flea market today. I’ve never tried it, and they say you can find cast iron skillets and old tools at good prices. If not, it will be a nice outing.

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Receive Everything by Admitting You Deserve Nothing

May 18th, 2015

Life is More Than Fair

God keeps giving me breakthroughs. I don’t know how much I can do for other people, but I do try to share. People don’t have any real motivation to listen to me, and there are all sorts of competing voices out there spreading sweet-tasting nonsense. I can’t do much about that, but I can say a few words once in a while.

I turned back to God because life didn’t feel right, and I was under stress. I felt some guilt, which is commendable, but I was largely motivated by a desire to have a more pleasant experience here on earth. There is no reason to lie about it. I didn’t wake up one day with a burning urge to help God do his work.

In my pursuit of blessings, I was strongly encouraged by the charismatics I looked to for teaching and support. My old church was a silly, embarrassing fermentation chamber of selfishness and denial. Then there were the characters on TV. Some TV preachers told me that what God really wanted was for me to be rich, and that he would make it happen in exchange for donations to their ministries. Other TV preachers said that what I really needed was motivational training, to provide me with the encouragement and willpower to make things happen with my own strength.

My influences were awful. But I knew one thing that was useful. Back in the 1980s, God had made me understand that if I prayed in tongues a lot, everything would work out. So I stuck with that. Unfortunately, most of the teachers who influenced me were working against God, and that slowed me down. I listened and tried to reconcile when I should have walked away.

I knew the money-lovers were wrong. I had been burned by them in the past. They are complete idiots. But I still thought it was important to donate a lot. I also thought it was important to volunteer at church, and that it was important to help build the organization. In addition to these things, I was highly motivated by the idea that when I was aligned with God’s will, things would generally go well in my life, so if I gave money, volunteered, and did what seemed right according to the Bible, I would presumably have a blessed life.

I wanted to do what God wanted me to do, but really, I was thinking about the external blessings more than anything else.

My life improved a lot, but I could not truthfully say that I got satisfactory results.

I started to realize that it was very important to get rid of iniquity. I came to understand that human beings were full of dumb ideas and bad habits which came from external spirits and our own flesh. That was important.

People at my old church did not want to hear about it. Anything that smacked of repentance or correction was considered “legalism,” “division,” and “condemnation.” They seemed to believe that God wanted the Wilkerson family–the pastors and their offspring–to be very rich and highly admired, and that the purpose of the people who attended the church was to submit without question, to give and do without complaint or restraint, and above all, to smile and shut up.

I understood that I needed to change, but I still didn’t have a heartfelt love of change. I was glad that God had helped me to be grateful, and that he had delivered me from eating too much, but I did not have a burning enthusiasm for improvement. Mainly, I wanted the power and help that come from improvement.

I don’t know if I can be blamed for that. I was raised in a dysfunctional family, and I had all sorts of scars. I wanted an ordered and peaceful life.

I kept praying in tongues and receiving new knowledge. During 2014 and the last few months, things started to shift. I had a list of people I prayed for every day, and I started praying a lot for internal change. I asked God to remove our iniquities and put the heart of Jesus in us. I asked him to put his ideas, urges, and emotions in us. Since I started making these requests, things have broken loose.

Over the last few months, I’ve developed a genuine love of correction I have started asking God for it, explicitly and fervently. I have started to crave it. This is a major change, and it has made my life much more pleasant.

Correction, which is another word for righteousness, sounds like an unpleasant thing. It sounds like I asked God to hit me with a stick or take away everything I enjoyed, but that’s wrong. Supernatural correction is just healing and straightening. It enables you to do the things you want to do yet were not able to do in your own strength.

I have always had a lot of weaknesses. I was disorganized. I worried. I was afraid, usually of things that were extremely unlikely to happen. I was bitter because I felt that I had been cheated in life. Even if I rejected bitterness and refused to indulge it, it was still inside me. I had issues with crabbiness, even though I did not like being crabby. My work ethic was bad. I was messy. I procrastinated. I didn’t connect with people as well as I wanted to, because past mistreatment had put barriers and limiting chains inside me.

If you listen to most preachers, they’ll tell you to fight problems like the ones I had. Fighting is swell, if you can’t get rid of the problems. God wants to take your inner problems away so you don’t have to fight them. There is a difference. It’s better to be good than to try to be good.

You can argue all day about whether a person who is good without trying is as praiseworthy as someone who fights his negative traits every day. It doesn’t matter. We are not supposed to be good through willpower and determination. After all, the Bible says our righteousness is like rags used for cleaning people’s rear ends. It’s somewhat better than nothing, but it’s weak and failure-prone.

Think about the people you know who have tried to change. What percentage of people who diet stay thin? What percentage of addicts stay clean for life? Have you ever known anyone who continued to work out and eat right until his death? I think Jack Lalanne managed it, but he was one in millions.

Sometimes we succeed in changing certain things about ourselves, but generally we fail. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger let himself get fat, weak, and flabby at least once, and his self-discipline is legendary.

Correction means relief from your weaknesses. It can come through supernaturally imparted knowledge. It can come from deliverance from spirits. It can come from the power of the Holy Spirit. However it comes, it’s very, very good, and the shocking thing is that it even feels good. It feels better than receiving money. It feels better than meeting your one true love. It feels better than success or physical healing. Once you start receiving it, you’ll understand how good it is, and you’ll want more. As the Bible says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Nothing is as convincing as experience.

Once I started feeling correction happening inside me, I got very excited about it, and I found that I wanted it more than anything. The peace it brings is magnificent. It feels like the peace of accomplishment, but unlike that peace, it is neither temporary nor illusory. It comes from God, not you, so you can’t claim credit.

The inner correction led to outer manifestation. I saw it in my surroundings. My house was gross. There was disorder everywhere. There were places where the dust was a horror to see. I had junk I needed to get rid of. Things needed to be moved. When I started receiving correction, suddenly things started changing. I used to be intimidated by cleaning and organizing, but they became pleasant hobbies.

I bought various cleaners and tools. I got excited about microfiber and HEPA filters. I threw things out. I moved furniture and mopped under it. I washed things that had never been washed. I finally learned how to get a bathroom to look the way it should, instead of being satisfied with bleaching the floor and toilet.

I got back into electronics. I brought my old calculator back to life, and when I couldn’t get the display to work right, I replaced it. I found myself compiling and synthesizing information from various sources. I did homework for several hours a week, and I put everything in a big notebook.

I developed a crazy system of exercises I designed myself. They take about fifteen minutes a day, they require no equipment, they’re easy to do, and they work.

I got off of carbs, caffeine, and sugary drinks, and I started eating more fat, protein, vegetables, and fruit. I feel better. I don’t have carb headaches or caffeine irritability.

I am better able to manage the tasks of an orderly life. I feel like Hercules, cleaning the Augean stables, or Alexander, cutting the Gordian knot.

The funny thing is that I’m being blessed, which is what I wanted back when I was misguided. Isn’t that wrong? Should I be so quick to conclude that the good things that happen to me are indicative of success in my walk with God? Doesn’t this make me a bad, blessing-obsessed Christian? No! I’m getting these things as the result of the inner change which is now my primary goal. As Jesus said, you have to seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness first, and then the other stuff will come. Now that the little things are less important to me, they come more easily.

If you can get to a state in which you really love correction, the way you love pizza or following your favorite sports team, you will receive correction, and with it, you will receive external blessings.

The message is not that blessings come through correction. The message is that correction is the blessing.

Last week, I moved another step forward. God made me realize that I deserve to be in hell. That sounds bad, right? It’s not. It’s liberating.

Every human being above a certain age deserves to be in hell, suffering terribly, under the authority of vicious beings that torture and abuse without rest. Think about that. If that’s true, can anyone on earth claim to have been cheated?

Earth is the rim of hell. It’s a terrible, corrupt place, filled with suffering. But it’s not hell itself. People in hell would do anything to get back here. We can’t imagine how much they want to be anywhere other than hell.

If these things are true, then every bad thing that has ever happened to you has not only been fair; it has been much, much better than what you deserve. Maybe other beings had no right to mistreat you, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it.

Life is not unfair. It’s just not. Life is way more than fair. We are not victims.

Maybe you’ve been raped. Maybe you’ve been imprisoned unjustly. Maybe you have cancer. Your problems may be horrible. But you’re not in hell, and if you could choose, knowing what hell is like, you would beg to be here, with every problem you have, before you would agree to spend one day tormented in the pit.

We have a tendency to complain to God. We think we’re supposed to have good lives, whether we do anything for him or not, simply because other people seem to have good lives. If you can’t find a spouse or a good way to make money, or if you have an illness you can’t get rid of–if you have any problem which seems unusual to you–you may feel cheated. In your heart, you’ll say, “It’s not fair.” But it is fair. Actually, that’s not true. If life were fair, you’d be in hell, and Jesus would never have been tortured to death. Do you really want fairness?

God gave me something to say to myself. I say, “The worst things that have ever happened to me are much better than what I deserved.” These words have supernatural power. When I have a problem that seems like a big deal to me, and I start to feel cheated, I say these words to myself, and I feel the power working in me. Tension leaves me. Bitterness goes. It’s wonderful.

I have been asking God to destroy my pride, and these words are among the tools he gave me to help him get it done. Job suffered until he admitted he could not say he deserved better. We are in the same boat. The Bible clearly says God is the enemy of the proud, and that includes proud believers. It includes people who preach and run churches. It includes proud people who run Christian orphanages. If I think I’ve been cheated, I’m proud; I’m saying I’ve earned something better. As a result, God will fight me, and he can’t lose. If I admit I’m getting a much better deal that what I have coming, he will fight my problems, not me.

It works. It’s not a joke. You have to try it. Say, “I am not a victim,” and mean it. Realize you deserve evil, not good. Get out of denial. Stop comparing what you have to what your “blessed” neighbors have.

If you will put this stuff to work, you will get a result. If you defend yourself and claim God will reward you bases on what you do, you will remain stuck in the swamp of pride, spinning your wheels and sinking. Don’t do it. No one has the standing to defend himself before God. It will poison your future and ruin your success.

I hope someone who reads this will try it.

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Why You Can’t Use the Courses You Passed

May 5th, 2015

Enroll at Ebay University

I got a few comments on my last post, which was about studying electronics online. I feel like I should add a few things.

Andy-in-Japan says: “Thanks for the info – I’ve been looking for something to help out some members of the extended family that were a step up from Khan. And this looks fantastic!”

Steve G. (not sure if he wants his full name here) says: “The MIT courses are good from what I’ve seen. There’s also a new edition of The Art of Electronics out this month that I am digging into now; depending on the things you want to learn, it could be a good resource.”

I’m glad the stuff I wrote looked helpful, and I hope it was, but I know a little more than I did then, so I am adding a few things.

First off, I had to take to my bed after Steve mentioned The Art of Electronics. This book was one of the few dark spots in my efforts to get a physics degree. I felt like it was written in nerdese, which is impenetrable to normal people.

One of the big problems with technical texts is that they are written by people who can’t remember what it was like to NOT know the subject and the jargon. So they use weird slang and explain things poorly, if at all. I think the lab manual from The Art of Electronics is great, but the book seems more like a reference than a teaching tool. I would stay away from it if I were getting started. Which I am, sort of.

I am going through the lab manual now, redoing the experiments with a breadboard, an oscilloscope and multimeters (thank God for Ebay). It’s good for me to remember what it was like to do things in an ordered way, with tables and whatnot.

Second thing…I would not recommend relying on the MIT/EDx course. It’s incomplete. I don’t consider this a knock on MIT. They do a great job producing miracle workers. I think it’s a knock on electronics teaching in general.

I rounded up a few external sources when I got started. I will list them here.

1. The Electric Circuits Problem Solver
2. Electronics Demystified
3. Basic Circuit Analysis (Schaum)
4. Principles of Electric Circuits, Thomas L. Floyd, 2000.

I have some other things, but these are the really useful ones.

I knew I needed to do solved problems in order to learn, so I started trying to do problems in the first three books. I found I could not get through a chapter without extra research, because they mentioned ideas and methods that were not mentioned in the MIT lectures.

For all I know, later on in the MIT course, all these things are covered, but I doubt it, because they are fundamental things that would be unlikely to appear in relatively advanced lectures.

I have been taking written notes from the MIT class, and I have been inserting additional notes between the pages. I write up my own explanations of material from other sources, including debunking some of the BS. This has made a world of difference in my progress.

It doesn’t do you much good to learn three methods from one guy when you find yourself confronted with challenges that require five methods from other teachers. And sometimes the things you learn will turn out to be wrong or so backward they cause you problems.

If your teacher is good, you should be able to do any problem that isn’t above the course’s level, regardless of which book it appears in. Obvious?

Example: I had to relearn Gaussian elimination, for purposes of solving systems of linear equations (voltages and currents and so on). One source said to put augmented matrices in reduced echelon form and then use the results. This is insane advice. It can be incredibly tedious and nearly impossible to put a matrix in that form. In reality, you can save yourself a lot of pain by settling for echelon form or simply creating one row among the unknowns with only one nonzero entry.

I’m not going to explain that, because it’s boring, but trust me: you do not want reduced echelon form unless the matrix is really cooperative, and you can waste your life trying to obtain it. I spent hours trying to do it with a 3 x 3 matrix, and then I wrote my own treatment of linear equations and realized it’s a five-minute job IF you don’t do it the stupid way.

I also learned that Cramer’s rule (another tool for solving systems) is to be avoided at all costs. Lots of tedium, and no advantage over Gaussian elimination. Maybe I’m wrong, but I can’t see any reason to consider using it. But the books teach it.

Another example: an instructor may not tell you how to count loops in a circuit. This may be important, depending on what you’re doing. The answer is simple: count the components and sources, subtract the number of nodes, and add 1. Again, it’s too boring to explain, but it’s very useful.

If I were enrolled in the MIT course for credit, I would be in trouble, because I would never have time to consult the other sources or write my own material. I would have to keep up with tests and so on, so my time would be limited. Because I’m not taking tests, I have time to do it right. And if I ever decided to take the course for credit, it will be a joke, because I’ll be better prepared than most students.

Third thing…if you plan to study electronics, you should definitely get your own equipment and do practical work at home. After all, you’ll eventually need it. You’re studying so you can use what you’ve learned, and you can’t do that without equipment.

I have a breadboard and some handheld multimeters, and I also have some other stuff lying around. An old HP function generator and an HP current source. I learned something that will be very helpful to anyone amassing equipment on the cheap: old bench multimeters are plentiful on Ebay. A bench multimeter is a big box which, if you’re lucky, has an AC cord instead of batteries. They do all sorts of things, you don’t have to hold them in your hands or prop them up, you never have to change batteries, and you can get a nice one delivered for $50.

I forgot to mention the oscilloscope. I have an ancient Hitachi I bought for $50. It would not be useful for creating the next groundbreaking CPU, but it will be a very long time before I reach a point where I need anything better.

Radio Shack has an interesting product that can be useful. They’re going out of business, so this is the time to buy it. Forrest Mims, the electronics educator, helped them create a self-contained project lab, complete with a little breadboard, an ammeter, and components. You can buy it for under $35. It comes with two books of projects. I grabbed one, and it’s nice for gaining practical experience without driving yourself crazy looking for the components you might find in a college lab text. You can also use it for testing your own ideas.

They call it the “Electronics Learning Lab Kit.”

I fiddled around with electronics in the past, but I never really got anywhere. It was like I was in a jar with a big heavy lid on top, obstructing my progress. Now things are really coming together. It makes me wonder what I could have accomplished when I was younger, had I really known how to study. In the past, I just showed up in class and did what they told me. That doesn’t really work unless your teacher is exceptional.

It shows how life changes when you submit to God. When you do things in your own strength, no matter how great it is, you will fail, or your success will be a curse, because God opposes the proud. Once you submit and start gaining supernatural power, tasks that used to defeat you start to crumble before you, and people who used to chase you start running from you.

America is in decline because we’re proud. We forgot who made us strong, so we don’t pray or give him credit. We don’t get to know him, and he does not guide our lives, so we do silly unproductive things, and we lose a lot. People who used to hide from us are now out in the streets giving us orders. Foreigners come here illegally, appear on TV, and shame us for refusing to give them privileges exceeding our own. Terrorists kill us from time to time, on our own soil. This is how life goes for the rebellious.

Things are rapidly getting worse, not just for America, but for Christians who live in America. We are not being spared. Our enemies beat us every day. That’s because we’re not good Christians. We don’t pray in the Spirit. We don’t hear from God. We have no idea which way to turn. He doesn’t help us, because we’re trying to do our own will, and we’re claiming it’s his.

I can’t go back to that. I would rather die than go back to wondering who would defeat me next. It’s not an acceptable way to live. Often released convicts say they will never go back to prison, no matter what it takes to avoid it. I understand that completely. No one wants a life of defeat, hopelessness, and humiliation.

It’s not really important whether I master electronics, but my success is a good example of the way God turns things around when I listen to him.

America is not going to do well. We can’t admit we’re wrong. We think evil is good and good is evil, so we can’t even diagnose our problems. A small residue of people will find help from God, and the rest will continue to fail. Even those who prosper financially will be failures, because they will have to lose themselves in order to get what they want.

When things get really bad, people will point to Christians who are successfully persecuted, and they will say it’s proof God isn’t real. In reality, it will just prove that proud, ignorant Christians don’t get much help from him.

It’s unfortunate that there is no solution to the problem, but at least you can save yourself, and you can help a few people around you avoid the mess. Really, that’s what we should expect. Lot, Noah, Moses, and Jesus were not able to save many people, and that’s a pattern which exists because of the stubbornness of human beings. It will never change as long as we have free will.

Anyway, while the country continues to slide, I will try to enjoy whatever peace and productivity I can.

I hope the information on electronics will be helpful to people, and that folks who know more about it than I do will add to what I wrote.

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