Posted by: reformedmusings | December 9, 2016

Moto X Pure Edition on Android 7.1.1

Back when the Moto X Pure Edition (MXPE) 2015 first hit the market, Motorola advertised that the MXPE would get rapid software updates. That never really came about. Lenovo bought Motorola and basically ignored the product line. The Android 6.0 update was a long time coming, and the stock MXPE still runs 6.0, even though 7.0 came out months ago and 7.1.1 is current. All we get from Lenovo is dead silence, with rumors of a Feb/Mar update to 7.0. I found that unacceptable.

So, I started poking around xda-developers again. I used a number of ROM builds on my old Galaxy S3, which I bequeathed to a family member. After researching several 7.1 builds, I settled on Android Ice Cold Project (AICP) by hashbang173. hashbang173 has done some great work with the MXPE in the past, so I had high hopes for AICP. He based AICP on CyanogenMod 14.1, to which he is also a contributor.

First step was a nandroid image backup in TWRP just in case things didn’t go well. I also backed up my MMS and phone records, and saved current settings for my email, launcher, etc. And, of course, Titanium Backup Pro had current backups of all my apps and their settings.

After all the backups, I flashed the 12/06 nightly build along with the Open GApps Project gapps mini file for 7.1 on arm64.

All this went very smoothly. It took around an hour to wipe my MXPE back to factory in TWRP, then flash the OS and gapps, then go through the initial setup, and finally restoring the appropriate apps from their TiBackups. The result was awesome.

Unlike some older AOSP ROMs, AICP doesn’t include an ad blocker, although it comes rooted with SuperSU. So, I had to load and update AdAway and restart. I spent the next day as time permitted tweaking the myriad of handy settings, especially the Status Bar. AICP includes an over-the-air updater to keep the geeks like me up to date on the daily builds. Each build gets even better.

hashbang173 and crew fix bugs quickly, and update the ROM promptly. They had Android 7.1.1 incorporated within a few days of its release. They also incorporated the December Android security patch within a few days. Lenovo still has the stock MXPE on Android 6.0 with May’s security update. They aren’t even trying.

The MXPE runs very smoothly on AICP, which duplicates the handy Moto gestures and functions nicely. I am really enjoying AICP.  Here it is in all its Android 7.1.1 glory:


Take that, Lenovo! Welcome to the Open Source world.

BTW, it’s chilly here!

Posted by: reformedmusings | November 20, 2016

Meltdown and indictment of Hillary’s snowflake Millennials

I never thought that I’d agree with Piers Morgan, the rabid anti-gun Brit. However, truth is where we find it. Morgan’s observations are spot on. A few highlights:

STOP updating the exact number Hillary won the popular vote by, because it doesn’t bloody matter.

STOP marching around screaming your fury at the result when many of you couldn’t even bothered to vote.

STOP retweeting all your favourite celebrities’ own outbursts of pique, rage and anguish.

STOP demanding the Electoral College reverse the decision in December.

In short, STOP being such a faux-tormented bunch of absolutely deluded cretins.

He indicts the snowflake generation with the facts:

Participation prizes converted a whole new generation into people with no understanding of what genuine competition actually means.

This, coupled with the advent of social media technology that allowed them to post relentless ‘filtered’ images of themselves, led to staggeringly self-absorbed figments of their own perfection.

The combined effect of these two things has been to create a deep-rooted sense of entitlement that manifested itself in a breakdown of biblical proportions when Trump triumphed last Wednesday.

Well, welcome to the real world, my delicate little Instagrammed snowflakes.

Morgan also provides some data to go with those assertions

Try the National Institutes of Health, which reported that 40% of millennials believe they should be promoted every two years regardless of performance….

Oh, and 80% of millennials say they’ll be richer than their parents, yet more of them live with their parents than with a spouse, still take cash off their parents, and work half as hard.

Talk about delusional.

Morgan goes on to make pertinent observations about Donald Trump:

Winners like Trump don’t believe in ‘participation prizes.’ They believe you either win or lose.

Winners like Trump don’t weep and wail when they lose. They vow to win next time.

Winners like Trump don’t take days off to ‘process’ their loss. They dust themselves down and get on with life.

Winners like Trump don’t assume they’ll win. They do what it takes to win.

Winners like Trump don’t leave anything in the field of competition. They give it 100%.

This is called life.

Imagine if those who disagreed with Obama’s election in 2008 and 2012 had demonstrated and rioted, burned cars, and beat up Obama supporters. The Obama justice department would have investigated everyone involved’s grandmother, and his thugs would have burned cities down. All this shows that it is Hillary’s supporters who are the thugs, racists, and haters, and all the mainstream press’ lies about Trump and his supporters are simply projections of the progressive’s own racism, intolerance, and hate. Can you imagine another four years of this freefall in civilization? Praise the Lord that these Bolshevik thugs lost.

Time for the snowflakes to melt back into obscurity, and leave running the country to the adults who won the election and understand how to win again in the world for America.

Posted by: reformedmusings | November 15, 2016

Judge Jeanine: ‘This Wasn’t an Election, It Was a Revolution’

No matter how you voted in 2016, you have to see this video. Judge Jeanine Pirro captures the heart of the election, or revolution as she calls it. She gets it, and even called Trump’s victory months ago:

“They told you you didn’t matter, that if you supported him you were probably uneducated, small-minded and irrelevant, you were beneath them,” Judge Jeanine said.

“Even though we felt forgotten, alone and beaten down, we all came home, because this wasn’t an election, it was a revolution.”

And after watching Judge Jeanine, if you still think she’s wrong, go listen to the ultra-liberal Michael Moore talk about the election. He also said months ago that Trump would win. Here’s how he answers the liars who say the election was about race:

Filmmaker Michael Moore pushed back today against the notion that Americans who voted for Donald Trump did so based on racism.

Moore, who warned fellow liberals that Trump was going to win the election, said Trump voters were motivated by economic pain and lost jobs more than anything else.

“You have to accept that millions of people who voted for Barack Obama – some of them once, some of them twice – changed their minds this time. They’re not racists. They twice voted for a man whose middle name is Hussein. That’s the America we live in,” said Moore, explaining that younger white voters turned out in record numbers for Barack Obama.

That’s from an ultra-liberal. Chris Plante on WMAL this morning said that diversity is like gravity – it’s all around you. The election had nothing to do with race, xenophobia, or anything else that the mainstream media and progressives rant on about. They didn’t get it before the election, and they don’t get it now. They lost, and they still can’t see why. That’s pathetic.

So, the lies from the left continue unabated. The professional, paid rioters continue to try to burn the country down. Was the leader of that group the woman that some really wanted in the White House? Liberals wanted four more years of elitist condescension, economic devastation and racial division? Apparently the LA, NY, Chicago, and DC bubbles protect their inhabitants from the reality outside their bubbles. Ignorance can be fixed through education, but you can’t fix stupid.

Congratulations again to President-elect Donald Trump, so spoke to the people, not past or above them. Time to make America great again – for all Americans, not just the “elite” in NY/DC.

Posted by: reformedmusings | November 13, 2016

Why Hillary lost the 2016 Presidential Election – my opinions

I’ve read and listened to a lot of election analysis and opinions this week from a number of viewpoints. I have juggled all that in my head and have come up with my own position on why Hillary lost.

Before I get to my analysis, I have to note Hillary’s own opinion of why she lost. Hillary did not take responsibility for her corruption, caustic personality, shear meanness to those she considers below her station (like her Secret Service protectors, law enforcement, and military members), willful carelessness with classified information for her personal convenience, personal enrichment through the Clinton Foundation, and constant lies about all of the above. Instead, she blamed FBI Director Comey, apparently failing to consider that Comey would have had nothing to say or do if she’d done her job ethically and transparently as Secretary of State.

That said, here are my thoughts in no particular order:

  1. Hillary’s rampant corruption. WikiLeaks’ publication of Podesta’s and others emails opened a lot of folks’ eyes who may not have been familiar with the standard Clinton corruption scandals, or at least the depth of them. Bill Clinton remains one of only two presidents impeached by the House, and Hillary is his biggest apologist. Anyway, the WikiLeaks releases showed just how corrupt the Clinton camp is – from using the DNC to fix the primary in her favor to the pay-to-play between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department to purposely inciting riots at Trump campaign rallies. Even for a political cynic like myself, those emails painted a picture of a candidate who thought that she was above the law and had no ethical limits to what she would do to both make money and win the election. How did the Clinton’s go from “flat broke” (Hillary’s words) after they left office to an well over $100M fortune 16 years later? WikiLeaks gave us a pretty good picture. The Clinton Foundation apparently has but one real purpose – to increase the Clinton’s personal wealth. A recent survey showed that the #1 fear of Americans, chosen by 61% of those surveyed, is corrupt government officials. If you look up political corruption in the dictionary, the Clinton’s family portrait is there as exemplars. Hard working voters had enough of the corrupt Clinton dynasty. To illustrate how bad the electorate found her corruption, my black friends who did not vote for Trump (though many did), voted for a third-party candidate, not Clinton.
  2. Disenfranchisement of the forgotten voters. Liberals and progressives like to see themselves as social justice warriors for the disenfranchised, at least according to their definition. They apparently thought that disenfranchisement wasn’t a zero-sum game, but it is. While favoring their “oppressed of the week” list, be it their favorite urban minorities in Obamerica or the LBGTXYZACD alphabet crowd, the progressives not just left out the unfavored who have no place in their progressive utopia, they mocked them freely. They still do, calling these hard-working Americans vile names. Those “shadow” voters from rural areas, military veterans, and those who have lost their jobs to increased minimum wages, globalization, the war on coal, Obamacare, etc., apparently turned out in force for the only candidate who expressly cared and spoke for them – Donald Trump. What the liberals and progressives in their arrogance called fear mongering, the shadow voters clearly live as reality. Hillary’s contempt for these folks was clearly stated, and they turned out in droves to bury her political ambitions.
  3. Fear of a continuation of Obama’s disastrous policies. Obama has done more to destroy America than anyone since Emperor Tojo. Obama emasculated our military, turned us into an international laughing stock of weakness with his “America last” approach and apologies, weakened our economy by pushing increased minimum wages for unskilled labor, driving a record number of American’s out of the workforce due to despair, destroyed 1/5th of the U.S. economy with a hostile government takeover of the heath care industry, drove working Americans to despair with the costs and poor service of Obamacare, tried to eviscerate our civil rights from freedom of religion to the right to keep and bear arms by executive fiat and onerous regulations, and thumbed his nose at the rule of law and those who enforce the laws, resulting in regular riots in Obamerica and the wanton slaughter of young black men by other young black men. That’s Obama’s legacy, and Hillary promised to double down on all that. Such a future held only despair for those who love this country, and the shadow voters who Obama hoped he had beat into submission and silence turned out in droves to reject his perverted vision for the country. Obama campaigned hard for Hillary, making the election a referendum on his policies. Well, he got his answer when Americans backed Donald Trump’s vision to make America great again.
  4. The undisguised mainstream media bias. The mainstream media – ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, etc., as well as progressive online supposed news sites, were nothing but the propaganda arm for Hillary’s campaign. Someone observed that if you didn’t watch Fox News or Fox Business, or visit The Drudge Report daily, you wouldn’t know the extent of Hillary’s personal email compromise of extremely sensitive national security information, anything about the WikiLeaks releases or, initially, the Clinton Foundation corruption. The latter changed when it became too big a story for the MSM to ignore, but the MSM still minimized it. Denials of this fact only made the hypocrisy worse. We no longer have a First Amendment free press with the MSM, and anyone with a brain can see it. I laughed when I read a recent NYT re-dedication to objective reporting, which they still say was always the case during the election. Please. I believe that the overwhelming bias of the MSM actually drove people to Trump. Corruption begets corruption. The shock and crying eyes of the MSM on election night, and the ignorant tirades since, confirmed the obvious truth – Hillary was their entitled darling and a Trump victory was unthinkable to these “unbiased journalists.”
  5. Literal vs. serious. Speaking of Donald Trump, Selana Zito of the Atlantic (good article) observed that “The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.” Here’s my translation: while the progressives and their propaganda arm, the mainstream media, took Donald Trump literally but not seriously, the disenfranchised shadow voters took Trump seriously but not literally. General Curtis E. Lemay once said that he would bomb North Viet Nam back into the stone age if they didn’t stop their aggression against the South. He was using a well-known (to non-progressives) language device called hyperbole.  Trump uses a lot of hyperbole, and smart folks take it as exactly that. However, the progressives ignored the clear intent of what Trump said and tried to turn it around into a negative. They apparently thought that no one would notice, but we all did. When they tried to portray Trump’s clarifications for their language-challenged benefit as policy walk-backs, the shadow voters weren’t fooled. The MSM’s progressive arrogance came across loud and clear in their dishonest reading of most of what Trump said, driving more nails into Hillary’s political coffin at the ballot box.
  6. The Founding Father’s wisdom. In the end game, what saved the election and the country from the Clinton machine’s abject corruption and contempt for America was the Constitution itself. You see, our founders looked at other attempts at democracy and saw that democracies inevitably imploded due to the tyranny of the majority. We see this today in places like Argentina. Pure democracy has been accurately described as two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner. In the 2nd Amendment community, we describe the liberty inherent in a republic as two wolves and a well-armed lamb deciding on dinner. Changes the outcome a bit, eh? The Electoral College was designed so that no one area of the country can sway an election, but that all areas must be heard. If we had a pure democracy, California (LA Basin), Texas (multiple), Pennsylvania (Philadelphia area), and New York (NYC metroplex) voters might be the only ones that counted because of their population dominance. The rest of the country’s voters would be irrelevant. The Electoral College avoids that travesty by spreading the power geographically while still accounting for large population centers. Candidates must campaign everywhere to get the 270 electoral votes necessary to win an election. That wisdom recently saved America from two dangerous and corrupt extremists – Al Gore and Hillary Clinton. Hillary ignored the “fly over” country as a bunch of benighted dolts, and that cost her very dearly. The Electoral College remains a critical tool to guard our liberty. Judging by the post-election hue and cry from the left, we have failed to teach several generations of Americans simple, basic civics. Or maybe we just need to give the civics-ignorant demonstrators a participation trophy.

So, there you have my thoughts on the 2016 presidential election at this time, subject to additional thought. Note that Comey did not make the list. America dodged a potentially fatal bullet when Donald Trump won the election. Trump won while spending half of what Hillary spent and with a fraction of the staff size. Trump appealed to potential voters across diverse areas of the country who were disenfranchised by the progressive policies of the last several decades, giving a voice to those who had all but lost hope. The “bitter” crowd that clung to their religion and guns, so described by Obama in 2008, has voted to flush Obama’s disastrous agenda and give Donald Trump the opportunity to make America great again.

Posted by: reformedmusings | November 12, 2016

Help for anti-Trump snowflakes

For all those celebrities and other snowflakes who don’t understand or accept the design of our great republic that provides the Electoral College (here’s an awesome summary video on the history, purpose, and value of the Electoral College) to prevent a tyranny of the majority (like Argentina where voters in Buenos Aires rule for the entire country), here’s the information that you need:

Enjoy the trip, and don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out!

Posted by: reformedmusings | November 10, 2016

Post-election thoughts and the violent left in America

I had a long post in my head on the just-finished 2016 election in which Donald Trump won the presidency fair and square, and the Republicans held both the House and Senate. However, in researching for my post, I came across two of Bill O’Reilly’s Talking Points which said it about as well as it can be said. I will note that I’m not O’Reilly’s biggest fan, but he nailed this one.

The first – The People Revolt and Trump Wins – provides some excellent perspective on why Crooked Hillary lost the election, despite the mainstream media being the active voice of her campaign. Very well done by O’Reilly.

The second – Is A Civil War Brewing in the USA? – talks about meltdown of the American Bolsheviks left, with rioting, actual violent attacks on individuals, and threats of murder and assassination. These morons think that this is Venezuela, and are empowered by Obama and Clinton who spouted their hateful rhetoric and false accusations of racism, sexism, xenophobia, etc., during the election. The defeated left doesn’t get it even now. Obama empowered the thugs in Obamerica, and this is the harvest.

This chap calls out the rampant hypocrisy of the left, especially concerning accepting election results in our republic (Caution: contains some foul language):

Awesome. A lot of the thugs in the street are just being used as tools by an elite class that they claim to hate. I wish that was a new definition of stupidity, but sadly it’s all too familiar. So, this is for all you butt-hurt snowflakes:

So, snowflakes, the ordinary working people of America finally and soundly rejected the American Bolsheviks. The corrupt Clinton machine is dead. Lying Hillary has been relegated to the dustbin of history. Start acting like mature adults. America will be great again. Get over it.

Posted by: reformedmusings | November 10, 2016

Congratulations, President-elect Trump!!!

America has repudiated the corruption and self-serving egos of the political establishment, and chosen to drain the swamp and Make America Great Again!!!


Actually, the democrats have been in decline since Obama’s disastrous election in 2008. Obama has divided the country and trashed America in front of the world in a way few could have imagined.  Everyone could see it except for the political elites and hard-core socialists. Look at just how small the areas that voted for Hillary were:


The Hillary voters live primarily in Obamerica. They want something for nothing, and that “nothing” comes from hard-working Americans who earn honest livings to provide for their families. Those hard-working Americans have finally had enough, and look now to Donald Trump for relief. It’s time to drain the swamp and Make America Great Again, and Donald Trump now has his hand on the drain plug!

Posted by: reformedmusings | November 7, 2016

Trump is our only hope for freedom

Watch and learn:

Hillary belongs in jail.


Vote to make America great again! Vote for Trump!

Posted by: reformedmusings | October 30, 2016

Message to Black Christian Voters

Posted by: reformedmusings | September 21, 2016


Outstanding analysis of the lies of Black Lies Matter, and their true use to the Democrat establishment:

Posted by: reformedmusings | September 11, 2016

Never forget!


9/11/2001, much like Pearl Harbor on 7 Dec 1041, was a failure of expectations. No civilized human being imagined that airliners full of passengers would be used as missiles against fully-occupied civilian office buildings. Those that did were not human beings; they were radical Islamic barbarians. Never forget who the enemy is or fail to name them – radical Islamic barbarians.

Posted by: reformedmusings | September 4, 2016

News the race baiters don’t want you to see

There’s not much to say about the tragedy in Louisiana with the epic flooding. The race baiters like Obama golfed rather than assist the sticken. Black Lies Matter was no where to be seen. But the Cajun Navy, local volunteers from the stricken area and from some distance away, came to the rescue. Race, ethnicity, creed, etc., were irrelevant. Only the preservation of human life mattered.

The best report I’ve see was from Slow Facts. He wrote an outstanding piece called You Dried the Rain and Dammed the Flood. This is must read about the real America. Don’t believe hardly anything that you read, and be suspicious of what you don’t read, in the mainstream press.

Posted by: reformedmusings | September 4, 2016

The Best Active Shooter Response Video Yet

First, the term “active shooter” is a misnomer. When we all go to the range, we are all active shooters. The correct term should be active killers. But, I was apparently not consulted when this bit of propaganda was coined. Be that as it may…

The Houston Police Department made a pretty good training video a while back, but it never mentioned being armed. In contrast, the Liberty University incorporates the reality that in free states like Virginia, it is likely that some citizens will be armed when terrorists or some other psycho shows up wanting easy victims. Excellent training video with great advice.

Along the same lines, Mas Ayoob wrote seven great tips for armed citizens facing terrorists. A mandatory read.

Be armed, trained, and ready.

Posted by: reformedmusings | September 4, 2016

Sermon on Sin and Providence

Sin and Providence – The Mystery of Concurrence

Old Testament Reading: Genesis 50:15-21
New Testament Reading: Acts 2:22-33
Sermon text: Job 1:6-22

Audio located here.

The Concept of Concurrence

Pastor Brian has been going through the life of David in 2 Samuel. A few weeks ago, we saw that David did not go to war with his army, but stayed home instead. While at home, he was tempted by the sight of Bathsheba bathing, gave into the temptation by breaking first the 10th Commandment in coveting his neighbor’s wife and then the 7th Commandment by committing adultery with Bathsheba. She became pregnant, and to cover up his adultery, David had her husband, Uriah, killed at the front lines, thereby violating the 6th Commandment. Adultery is bad enough of a sin, being a rejection of the good gift that God in His wisdom has provided, but to try to cover it up by murdering the an innocent party goes beyond the pale.

It seemed like the perfect crime. The king of Israel violated the 10th then the 7th Commandment, then covered it up by violating the 6th, no one who knew would talk and no one else was the wiser. As Mel Brooks would observe over two-and-a-half millennia later, it’s good to be the king.

Well, not entirely. You see, we live Corum Deo – before the face of God. God is omniscient, not only seeing all that we do, but also all that we think – even what’s on our computers. Remember Psalm 139 says:

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!  
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.  
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.  
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.  
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.  
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

God sends the prophet Nathan to confront David with his sins. Although David immediately repents (good thing for Nathan, BTW) and God spares his life, there were consequences. We saw those played out in the death of the child conceived in adultery and in the rebellion and death of his son Absalom. Sin always carries consequences. We believe otherwise to our peril.

At this point, you’d think that the adulterous Bathsheba would fade into obscurity. Spoiler alert. As we will hear in a week or two, she doesn’t. David marries her and they have a son with whom you are probably familiar – Solomon. Solomon, the eventual result of David’s and Bathsheba’s commission of adultery, and David’s commission of murder to cover it up, becomes the next king in God’s promised line, the line to Jesus Christ Himself. Whoa. What’s up with that?

Chapter 3, paragraph 1 of the Westminster Confession of Faith says this about God’s decrees:

God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

It seems appropriate to define sin at this point. The Westminster Shorter Catechism defines sin as any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God. We sin when we don’t do what we ought to do, and when we do that which we ought not do. I sometimes think that we do not give the Fall full credit due its implications. The Fall introduced sin, death, and decay into a perfect universe. The Fall touched everything, from imparting total depravity into our hearts to introducing futility and corruption into creation itself, which groans with us as Paul tells us in Romans 8:20-23. The effect of the Fall was both radical and complete. We should never overlook that truth.

With that background, let’s look at God’s providence, as we read in Chapter 5, paragraph 4 of the Confession:

The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in His providence, that it extends itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, but such as has joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to His own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceeds only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.

As the Confession shows, there are two related aspects of concurrence, but we will only consider one today. The first involves how God interacts with His creatures in general, how they are “powered” as it were. As Paul says in Acts 17, we live and move and have our very being in God. That has profound implications, as Scripture shows, but we don’t have the time to do the entire topic justice. The second aspect, the more difficult if that’s possible, is the mysterious relationship between God’s preceptive will, His decretive will, and His willful creatures, which the Confession discusses in Chapter 5, paragraph 4.

Dr. RC Sproul, Sr., notes that everything that happens, even our sin, is the will of God. Said another way, there are things in God’s decretive will that violate His preceptive will. God’s preceptive will is His Word, the Scriptures, our only rule for faith and practice. His decretive will is His secret counsel of all that will come to pass. So the concept is that God decrees things in His secret, hidden will that violate His Word. Berkhof defines concurrence as the “cooperation of the divine power with all the subordinate powers, according to the pre-established laws of their operation, causing them to act and to act precisely as they do.” We saw that David provided a perfect example of this. Yet, God is not the author of sin as James makes clear in 1:13 and John does in his first letter 2:16. Kinda makes your head hurt, eh?

How does all this work? Very well, thank you. Seriously, no one knows the mind of God. His knowledge is too wonderful for us. As Calvin said, “Finitum non capax infinitum.” The finite cannot contain or comprehend the infinite. God is infinite, we are finite creatures. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Dt 29:29 warns us that the secret things belong to the Lord; they are not for us to know or speculate upon. We would be wise to heed the warning.

That said, Scriptures is full of examples of this complex interaction between God and His sinful creatures. They run right from the beginning of redemptive history to the very end. We will cover some of those this morning, but we will not exhaust the subject. Hopefully, today you will walk away with an appreciation for the doctrine of concurrence and how to think about it in your lives.

Concurrence in the Scriptures

Consider God’s servant Job in today’s sermon text.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.
The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14 and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

Who were the Sabeans and Chaldeans? Were they a gentle people at their weekly tea and krimpet party when Satan enticed and incited them? Were they discussing donating their bingo winnings to World Vision to feed the hungry at that moment? Were they reading How to Win Friends and Influence People when God changed their hearts and turned them into thieves and cattle rustlers?

Not hardly. They were thieves and cattle rustlers to their core. It’s what they did. Look how God describes them later to Habakkuk:

They are dreaded and fearsome; their justice and dignity go forth from themselves. Their horses are swifter than leopards, more fierce than the evening wolves; their horsemen press proudly on. Their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle swift to devour. They all come for violence, all their faces forward. They gather captives like sand.

God didn’t change the Sabeans or Chaldeans, He simply removed His protective hedge from around Job and let them do what came naturally to them, what they likely wanted to do for a long time. They were sinners from whom God removed His restraint. God later describes this phenomenon relative to the sinful Israelites in Ps 81:12:

So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.

One might be inclined to think that would be a favorable thing. We get to do whatever we want – woohoo! Far from it. Paul describes this removal of restraint as a judgment in Romans 1:24 and 26. Remember – sin always has consequences.

Another clear example is Pharaoh, when he would not release the Israelites. God didn’t change Pharaoh from a leading Christians for Israel contributor into an unjust king who hated the Jews. No, God merely removed his restraining hand and allowed the Pharaoh to do what he wanted. In Exodus 14:17, God explicitly stated that He removed His restraint from the Pharaoh at that time so that the Egyptian army would be destroyed in the sea, with God getting the glory. The same release of restraint was true of the Sabeans, Chaldeans, and at times is so even with us if we are honest with ourselves.

And yet in the end, the sins of the Sabeans, Chaldeans, Pharaoh, and ourselves today, all serve God’s ultimate purpose in ways that we often could not imagine. We only know so in Job and elsewhere because God tells us in Scripture.

Consider the passage from Genesis 50 read earlier. Joseph’s brothers decided to kill him by leaving him in a hole in the ground with no food or water. They were persuaded to change their minds and instead sold Joseph into slavery. God didn’t make them do that. It was the brothers’ own jealousy that drove them to sin. Then Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce Joseph, and subsequently lies when her seduction fails, which puts Joseph in prison. God didn’t change Potiphar’s wife from  a virtuous woman and dedicated Red Cross volunteer into a devious, lustful liar. She was a devious, lustful liar whom God simply let proceed in accordance with her own sinful desires.

If anyone had a reason to be bitter towards their brothers, it was certainly Joseph. Yet, in Genesis 45:5, Joseph clearly states that it was God who sent him to Egypt to preserve life. God opened Joseph’s eyes to see the grander plan. How could Joseph harbor ill-will towards his brothers when God used Joseph so powerfully. They meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. That’s the doctrine of concurrence.

In Isaiah 10:5, God uses Assyria as His rod of anger. Again, did God change the peace-loving Assyrians into aggressive conquerers? History says otherwise. The Assyrians wanted to conquer the land of Israel. God merely removed His hedge from Israel and His restraint from Assyria to do as they willed.

Consider Habakkuk. He complained to God about the evil in Israel succeeding while the innocent suffered. God’s solution was to bring in the Chaldeans. Remember them? God didn’t change the gentle, tea-totaling Chaldeans, turning them from holding fund raisers for blankets for the homeless into fierce and heartless warriors. No, they spent centuries honing their skills as fearsome conquerors and pillagers of other nations. Yet, God used their heartless sins to accomplish His purpose for Israel.

As if there were any doubt, God makes explicit in Isaiah 66:4 that He does not approve of the sins of the proud. Yet those sins facilitate bringing God’s sure plans to fruition.

I saved the ultimate expression of the doctrine of concurrence for last. We see concurrence clearly in our salvation. In Acts 2, Peter clearly lays out the Jews’ sin in murdering Jesus, yet he also says that it was God’s plan. Peter says the exact same thing in Acts 4:27, 28. God did not change devout temple worshipers and strict law keepers into blood-thirsty murderers. No, the mobs held murder in their hearts of their own will. Peter does not excuse the murderers because it was God’s plan, but lays their guilt squarely upon them. Yet their lawlessness and murder proved critical to bringing about the ultimate answer to sin and the Fall in the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Think on that for a few minutes. Without God’s absolute sovereignty and superintending providence over His universe, there would be no salvation for His elect.

One might raise an objection at this point. How can God hold us accountable for sins which he uses to bring about his decretive will? Sound familiar? I hope so, because Paul tackles that question head on in Romans 9:19-23:

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

Calvin minces no words in his commentary on these verses:

“Indeed, it is evident that no cause is adduced higher than the will of God….he [Paul] placed the will of God in the highest rank for this reason,–that it alone may suffice us for all other causes.”

God is God – almighty, sovereign, perfectly loving, merciful, and just. We fail ourselves as well as cast a shadow on God’s character when we evaluate what we see unfolding in a fallen world through finite human lenses rather than Scripture. I refer you back to Isaiah 55:8-9, which should find a permanent place in your memory.

Augustine summarized the mystery this way: “God knew that it pertained more to his most almighty goodness, even to bring good out of evil, than not to permit evil to be.” That is indeed a profound mystery to our finite minds.

Application for Today

So, did Bob just run you down a rabbit hole to see how the Mad Hatter was doing this morning? I hope not. The doctrine of God’s providence, especially the difficult doctrine of concurrence, should give us great hope each and every day as we navigate this fallen creation. We find the ultimate expression of how concurrence brings hope to believers living in this fallen world in Romans 8:28:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Everything that happens – good, bad, even tragic – serves to glorify God and progress His plan for the universe and the sanctification of all those called according to His purpose. “All things” means that there is no wasted or pointless event in the universe. All things, without exception, serve God’s ultimate purposes, even our sin and their inevitable consequences. We are not victims in a random universe, but active, critical elements in bringing about God’s eternal purposes. We are absolutely responsible for our sins and the inevitable consequences, but we also know that God will use even our sin to bring about His immutable purposes. That should blow your mind. It does mine. Our hope, or only hope, is that God is sovereign over all. He decrees all that comes to pass. As the Psalmist tells us in Psalm 46:10-11,

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”  
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

This is certainly not a new concept for you. On the first Sunday of every month, we read question and answer #1 from the Heidelberg Catechism. We did so this morning. Did you think about the words, “indeed, that everything must fit His purpose for my salvation”? Meditate on that this week.

When you see the world, your job, your family, or your life seemingly out of control, think about the disciples watching the crucifixion, most from a safe distance. Think about the despair that they felt afterward in the upper room before Jesus appeared to them. They lost sight of Jesus’ clear teaching. God is every bit as in control now as He was then.

Dr. R.C. Sproul, Sr., was in a major train accident on Sep 22, 1993. A barge hit a bridge support that night in Alabama, and the bridge collapsed into a bayou when the Dr. Sproul’s train reached it. Forty-seven people were killed and 103 were injured, including Dr. Sproul. It ranked as the deadliest train wreck in Amtrak history. When the press found out that Dr. Sproul was on the train, they cornered him and asked him where God was on that night when so many were killed and injured. Dr. Sproul replied that God was in the same place He was when His Son was crucified – in heaven and in charge. Dr. Sproul would later write:

I knew that on the horizontal plane of history this train wreck was a horrible tragedy. I also knew that on the vertical plane there are no accidents. I understood that the invisible hand of Providence was involved in this “accident,” and it was one of those events that worked together for good for those who love the Lord.

So it should be for each and every one of us. I am not saying that such a godly attitude is easy. We cannot necessarily know or see what God’s specific end game is in a particular circumstance, but we can always trust that it serves His glory and our sanctification. God never makes anyone sin. We alone are responsible for our sins. But although God hates sin, so much so that Habakkuk observed that God cannot even look upon it, somehow, in ways that we could never imagine in our finite minds, God even uses the violations of His preceptive will to bring about His marvelous plans through His decretive will. Everything serves His purposes, and always to His glory alone. No exceptions. Everything.

What should our response be to all this? Such wondrous truths should drive us to worship and praise our Creator and Savior. We have comfort that all things serve the eternal purposes of God who loves us so much that He sent Jesus, His only begotten Son, to die a horrible death on the cross to pay the price for our sin that we could never pay, then raised Him from the dead in vindication of His perfect righteousness, and crediting that righteousness to all who believe, that we may worship and glorify Him forever in perfect, resurrected bodies. That’s an incredible and eternal love.

Job finishes out his trials by repenting of his pride and worshiping God for His greatness and wisdom. Hear Job’s final reply to the Lord:

Then Job answered the Lord and said:

“I know that you can do all things,
    and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
    I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
    but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
    and repent in dust and ashes.”

Habakkuk closes with a prayer of praise after God reveals the extent of His very difficult providence – the destruction of God’s chosen people by a fierce and remorseless enemy. Here how he closes his prayer:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer’s;
    he makes me tread on my high places.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, they should be our models. It was no easier for them in their day than it is today for us.

The knowledge of God’s secret decrees is too wonderful for us, but we can rest and find our joy in the One in charge, who loves us with an everlasting and perfect love. Be still, and know that He is God.

Posted by: reformedmusings | September 4, 2016

Update from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to 16.04 LTS

So, the next point release has been out for a while, so it was time to upgrade my laptop to the next LTS. The laptop users don’t like change, so it jumps between LTS releases. My desktop takes every new release. I like to live on the bleeding edge, but that sentiment isn’t universal.

Upon updating the Ubuntu 14.04 files as usual, Ubuntu announced the new LTS release and asked if I wanted to upgrade. After restarting to finish the 14.04 updates, I started the 16.04 upgrade. It took about 2 hours (it’s an old laptop) and only asked about overwriting a couple of configuration files. The update proceeded normally and finished with no problems.

When the system rebooted, Ubuntu 16.04 was running flawlessly. Cannonical did an outstanding job with the update scripts. Just another reason that I like Ubuntu – it just works.

Posted by: reformedmusings | July 30, 2016

What’s your vocabulary size?

Here’s a cool test that doesn’t require registration, loading apps, etc. Very straight-forward. Supposedly scientifically based. Here was your humble blogger’s score:


I am Shakespeare!!! But, you know that already. The last part is certainly true, as I make up words all the time.  That annoys some people for reasons that I do not comprehend. Language is a tool, so why not improve it?

Posted by: reformedmusings | July 27, 2016

What Hillary doesn’t want you to know

This infographic from here is outstanding:




And that’s a fact! Don’t let Clinton take your equalizers.

Posted by: reformedmusings | July 17, 2016

Jay Stalien: Black lives don’t matter to Black Lives Matter

Police officer Jay Stalien lays out the raw truth about the scandal of black-on-black crime and the self-serving lies of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) crowd in this post. All I can say is read it in its entirety. But do note on his page that Officer Stalien used to serve in Baltimore before he moved to Florida.

About the black lives that apparently don’t matter to BLM or the race baiters like Obama and Sharpton:

Complaint: More black people get arrested than white boys.

Fact: Black People commit a grossly disproportionate amount of crime. Data from the FBI shows that Nationwide, Blacks committed 5,173 homicides in 2014, whites committed 4,367. Chicago’s death toll is almost equal to that of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined. Chicago’s death toll from 2001–November, 26 2015 stands at 7,401. The combined total deaths during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2015: 4,815) and Operation Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan (2001-2015: 3,506), total 8,321.

Complaint: Blacks are the only ones getting killed by police, or they are killed more.

Fact: As of July 2016, the breakdown of the number of US Citizens killed by Police this year is, 238 White people killed, 123 Black people killed, 79 Hispanics, 69 other/or unknown race.

Fact: Black people kill more other blacks than Police do, and there are only protest and outrage when a cop kills a black man. University of Toledo criminologist Dr. Richard R. Johnson examined the latest crime data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports and Centers for Disease Control and found that an average of 4,472 black men were killed by other black men annually between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2012. Professor Johnson’s research further concluded that 112 black men died from both justified and unjustified police-involved killings annually during this same period.

Note that the last statistic is ANNUALLY, not total for the period. Also note that Chicago is only one city, and at times, not even the worst for black-on-black homicide. Where is BLM’s outrage on this tragedy? Why aren’t they marching in the mean streets of Chicago?

From Officer Stalien’s conclusion:

All of my realizations came to this conclusion. Black Lives do not matter to most black people. Only the lives that make the national news matter to them. Only the lives that are taken at the hands of cops or white people, matter. The other thousands of lives lost, the other black souls that I along with every cop, have seen taken at the hands of other blacks, do not matter. Their deaths are unnoticed, accepted as the “norm”, and swept underneath the rug by the very people who claim and post “black lives matter”. I realized that this country is full of ignorance…

Thank you, Officer Stalien, for having the courage to lay out the truth.

Posted by: reformedmusings | July 2, 2016

Independence Day 2016

I found an outstanding exchange from the British Parliament in February of 1765 over the Stamp Act. Here’s the website’s intro to the exchange and the exchange itself:

We had to include this very interesting exchange between Charles Townshend, who would later be author of the Townshend Acts, and Col. Isaac Barre, as reported by Virginia representative Jared Ingersoll.

Colonel Barre was a member of Parliament who had fought in America during the Seven Years War, receiving injuries that left him blind in one eye and severely scarred on his face.

Charles Townshend:

And now will these Americans, children planted by our care, nourished up by our Indulgence until they are grown to a degree of strength and opulence, and protected by our arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from heavy weight of the burden which we lie under?

Colonel Isaac Barre:

They planted by your care? No! Your oppression planted ’em in America. They fled from your tyranny to a then uncultivated and unhospitable country where they exposed themselves to almost all the hardships to which human nature is liable, and among others to the cruelties of a savage foe, the most subtle, and I take upon me to say, the most formidable of any people upon the face of God’s earth. And yet, actuated by principles of true English liberty, they met all these hardships with pleasure, compared with those they suffered in their own country, from the hands of those who should have been their friends.

They nourished by your indulgence? They grew by your neglect of ’em. As soon as you began to care about ?em, that care was exercised in sending persons to rule over ’em, in one department and another, who were perhaps the deputies of deputies to some member of this house, sent to spy out their liberty, to misrepresent their actions and to prey upon ’em; men whose behaviour on many occasions has caused the blood of those sons of liberty to recoil within them: men promoted to the highest seats of justice; some who to my knowledge were glad by going to a foreign country to escape being brought to the bar of a court of justice in their own.

They protected by your arms? They have nobly taken up arms in your defence, have exerted a valour amidst their constant and laborious industry for the defence of a country whose frontier while drenched in blood, its interior parts have yielded all its little savings to your emolument. And believe me, remember I this day told you so, that same spirit of freedom which actuated that people at first, will accompany them still. But prudence forbids me to explain myself further. God knows I do not at this time speak from motives of party heat; what I deliver are the genuine sentiments of my heart; however superior to me in general knowledge and experience the reputable body of this House may be, yet I claim to know more of America than most of you, having seen and been conversant in that country. The people I believe are as truly loyal as any subjects the king has, but a people jealous of their liberties and who will vindicate them if ever they should be violated; but the subject is too delicate and I will say no more. [1]

The Brits never did get it, but man, they eventually got it from us in God’s sovereign providence.

Also in honor of Independence Day 2016, I offer the following A Cappella cover of Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA:

I’m a rock guy to the core, but I love that song. Happy Independence Day!!! (and don’t burn your eyebrows off)

Posted by: reformedmusings | June 28, 2016

Asus Chromebook Flip C100PA

The Commissioner’s Handbook for the Presbyterian Church of America’s (PCA) General Assembly (GA) starts at about 860 8.5 x 11 pages. During GA, the handbook can grow to about 1,000 pages as Committees of Commissioners reports roll in. That makes for a large and heavy notebook to carry around. Add to that the Book of Church Order (BCO) and references like Robert’s Rules, etc., for more muscle building. I’ve been carrying all that around for over a decade of annual GAs. Enough is enough.

So, I wanted to go fully electronic for the PCA General Assembly this year. I looked at tablets, but they are pretty expensive, especially with a keyboard. Laptops are too big and heavy. I did not want to spend big bucks on something that wouldn’t be used very often. I was between a rock and a hard place until I read this article on ZDNet. It recommended looking at Chromebooks. So I did.

After carefully researching the market, I found the best of all worlds – an Asus Chromebook Flip.


The beauty of the Asus Chromebook Flip is that it has a 10.1 inch touch screen like a tablet, a keyboard like a notebook computer, and you can fold it on its hinge all the way around so that it basically becomes a tablet:


When folded back on itself, the keyboard is disabled and it automatically goes into tablet mode. Very cool! I bought the version that has 4 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. It also takes a micro SD Card, so storage shouldn’t be an issue. And, of course, it’s made to work with Google Drive. The Asus runs on a ARM-based Rockchip Quad-Core RK3288C CPU, which will enable it to run most Android apps by the end of the summer, although it can be “hacked” to run some now. I’m running Bible Study by OliveTree‘s Android app right now.

The Flip sports a 10.1″ 16:10 WXGA (1280×800)/Wide View Angle LED Backlit Touch Screen run by a Rockchip Mali T764 GPU, and it looks great. The aluminum case feels very solid, and houses two USB2 ports, one micro-HDMI port, audio jack, proprietary charging port, volume controls, and a power button around its edges. It also has a digital microphone, speakers, and an HD webcam. All that weighs in at a hair under two pounds (.89 kg).

The keyboard is a comfortable size, but the tradeoff is that it doesn’t have all the standard keys. Some missing key functions can be had using shift key combinations, but not all. For example, there’s no home or end key, nor have I found a way to get that functionality. It does have some Chromebook-specific keys for web browsing. The touchpad has no buttons, but right-clicking can be simulated by clicking the touchpad with two fingers.

That brings us to the primary limitation of Chromebooks. They are designed to be connected to the Internet pretty much all the time. The built-in 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth™ V4.0 help with that, but you need a source with which to connect. Providentially, most restaurants, coffee houses, hotels, etc., have WiFi available. You can also store data locally to work with, but even those work through the Chrome browser interface. That’s not necessarily bad, but it is different.

Chrome OS works OK, being a model of simplicity. If you can use a browser, you can use a Chromebook out of the box. Chrome OS is automatically updated on a regular basis. I had a few major updates to install when I bought mine, and then another today. If you have an Android phone with Bluetooth enabled, you can authorize the Chromebook to unlock if it detects your phone in close proximity. That’s very cool, especially in table mode.

For GA, this all worked out fine. I loaded the Commissioner’s Handbook, the BCO, and my supporting documents on the Chromebook. They are automatically backed up on Google Drive so that you can get them anywhere on any device that supports Google Drive. However, you need to “right-click” on each document and select the proper option if you want it locally available. The Chromebook defaults to storing things on Google Drive, not locally, and it’s easy to make a mistake in location.

WiFi in my hotel was fine, but it was pretty spotty at GA. There were a few times that I had to use my phone’s WiFi hotspot capability to get documents on the floor of the Assembly, but that worked fine.

The battery life of the Flip is amazing. Asus claims 9 hours, but that’s conservative. Our longest day went until almost midnight. I used my Flip almost all day and it was in standby the few times that I didn’t have it open. When I returned to my hotel room after midnight, the battery still had 19% left. Incredible.

The only real downside is performance. I like the Rockchip CPU because it is ARM-based and will easily run Android apps, but it doesn’t provide the snappiest performance. The 4 GB of SDRAM helps. A faster processor would provide snappier performance, but also eat more battery. It will also take significantly longer to get Android apps to run on Intel processors. Everything is a tradeoff. The Flip works fine, but doesn’t keep up with my Dell tablet that I have for work. Still, it works well for document work, which is mostly what I use it for.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my Asus Chromebook Flip. For $249 on Amazon, it was a great deal for the capability. It served its initial purpose very well, and will do so for some years to come. With the keyboard, the Chromebook does more than what a tablet will do at a lower price point, and is smaller, lighter, and less expensive than a laptop or even a standard notebook. Can’t beat that with a stick.

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