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Tuesday, May 20, 2014


by R.C. Sproul

It was the early spring of 1958. I had spent the entire morning hours, till noon, on my knees beside my bed. It was the most passionate prayer experience of my young Christian life. I had been converted in September of 1957 and was now facing the deepest crisis of my nascent spiritual pilgrimage.

At issue was this: my girlfriend was coming to campus. She was the girl I loved and desired to marry. My resolve toward matrimony with her was kindled when I was in the eighth grade, five years earlier.

The previous months were difficult for her. She received a letter I wrote to her the night I became a Christian. She read it with zero comprehension of what I was talking about. At first she was puzzled by my new religious fervor. Her bewilderment turned to grave concern as our mutual friends warned her that I had gone off the deep-end and morphed into a religious fanatic. Then concern gave way to hostility knowing she could not spend her life with a religious nutcase.

Each day she fielded my letters that were laced with quotations from the Bible and testimonies of each new experience I had with Christ. Soon we both understood that our relationship was headed for a train wreck, one not unlike the one she and I experienced in Alabama in 1983 — hence my prayer vigil. This was not mere intercession. It was importunity, spiritual begging with a vengeance. I knew that unless she became a Christian, there was no way we could ever marry.

I picked her up at the bus station, and she checked-in at the girls dorm on campus. After dinner I took her to our weekly Bible study in the parlor of the church across the street from “Old Main.” There in the course of the opening of the Word, her heart was opened as well, and she made the transition from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. She met the Master, and He redeemed her.

That night her sleep came in fits and starts. She kept pinching herself asking silently, “Do I still have it?” Satisfied that indeed she still had it, she drifted off to sleep.

First thing the next morning I picked her up at the dorm to begin our journey home for the weekend. On the way down Route 19 toward Pittsburgh, she looked at me with a radiant smile and said, “Now I know who the Holy Spirit is.”

She had grown up in church. She sang in the choir. She heard the words of Scripture, but they bounced off her recalcitrant heart. She had no ears to hear, no eyes to behold the excellency of Jesus. Until that night in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, the Holy Spirit was a mere abstraction, a third of the ritual of the weekly benediction. But now she knew Him as the third person of the Trinity.

Less than twenty-four hours as a Christian, and she had no training in theology. She was illiterate with respect to the content of the Bible. But she was, by intuition, already a Calvinist. She understood that her conversion was not caused by my prayers or by my oratory. She knew the cause did not reside in the inclinations of her own flesh. She knew her faith was not self-created. No, she clearly knew that what was wrought in her soul was wrought by the immediate, supernatural, and efficacious work of God the Holy Spirit.

The accomplishment of all that was needed objectively for her redemption had been achieved by Christ centuries earlier. But the personal application to her soul, the subjective appropriation of the objective work of Christ, was done by the Holy Spirit.

It was John Calvin who was known as the “theologian of the Holy Spirit.” He was dubbed this not because he manifested the gifts of tongues or became so preoccupied with the Spirit as to lean toward a unitarianism of the third person of the Trinity. He was called the theologian of the Holy Spirit because of his biblical emphasis upon the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in our redemption. He understood that just as the Bible sets forth the divine work of Creation as a triune activity involving the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, so, in a similar fashion, Scripture reveals the work of redemption as the threefold activity of the Godhead. In our redemption, it is the Father who designs and plans our redemption. It is the Father who sends the Son into the world and, together with the Son, sends the Holy Spirit.

In the administration of redemption, though all three persons of the Godhead are co-equal in being, glory, and eternality, there is nevertheless an economic subordination that takes place. The Son comes to do the will of the Father. His task is to satisfy the demands of God’s justice and righteousness. His meat and His drink is to do the will of the Father. He speaks with authority, but it is an authority not His own. Rather, it is an authority delegated to Him by the Father.

His perfect obedience is both active and passive. Actively, He kept every jot and tittle of the Law. In that endeavor, He was perfectly successful. He is more than sinless. To be sinless is to be free from all fault, taint, or blemish. It is to be innocent of guilt. But the Son is more than innocent. He is righteous. He achieves perfect merit. He fulfills the details of the covenant by which God promised the reward of blessing to those who achieved obedience. It is the fruit of Christ’s active obedience that is the ground of our justification and the righteousness that is imputed to us by faith.

In His passive obedience, like the silent lamb at the slaughter, the Son acquiesces to the dreadful punishment of the curse of God. He drinks the cup of the bitterness of God’s wrath to its dregs.

In His active and passive obedience, the Son accomplishes our redemption objectively. Yet, for that redemption to avail for us, it must be appropriated subjectively. Faith is required as the necessary instrument for us to receive the benefits of Christ’s accomplished work of redemption.

The subjective appropriation of the work of the Son is accomplished by the application of that redemption by the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who regenerates us. In that regeneration, He generates the faith in us that is necessary for our appropriation of the work of Christ.

That application via regeneration and faith is not a joint venture between the sinner and the Spirit. The Spirit does not regenerate those who believe. No, He regenerates the unbelieving sinner unto faith. He quickens to spiritual life those who are dead in sin. He changes the recalcitrant heart of the sinner, making the unwilling willing to come to Christ. He makes the indisposed disposed to Him, the disinclined fully inclined. Our salvation is entirely of God — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Soli Deo Gloria.


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Monergistic Regeneration

Since faith is infinitely beyond all the power of our unregenerated human nature, it is only God who can give the spiritual ears to hear and eyes to see the beauty of Christ in the gospel. God alone disarms the hostility of the sinner turning his heart of stone to a heart of flesh. It is God, the Holy Spirit, alone who gives illumination and understanding of His word that we might believe; It is God who raises us from the death of sin, who circumcises the heart; unplugs our ears; It is God alone who can give us a new sense, a spiritual capacity to behold the beauty and unsurpassed excellency of Jesus Christ. 

The apostle John recorded Jesus saying to Nicodemus that we naturally love darkness, hate the light and WILL NOT come into the light (John 3:19, 20). And since our hardened resistance to God is thus seated in our affections, only God, by His grace, can lovingly change, overcome and pacify our rebellious disposition. The natural man, apart from the quickening work of the Holy Spirit, will not come to Christ on his own since he is at enmity with God and cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor 2:14). Shining a light into a blind man's eyes will not enable him to see, because eyesight first requires a set of healthy eyes. Likewise, reading or hearing the word of God alone cannot elicit saving faith in the reader (1 Thess 1:4, 5) unless God plows up the fallow ground of our hearts and the Spirit "germinates" the seed of the word, opening our eyes to see Christ's true beauty and excellency and uniting us to Him through a Spirit-wrought faith. So the problem of conversion is not with the Word or God's Law but with man's prideful heart. The humility required to submit to the gospel is, therefore, not prompted by man's will but by God's mercy (Rom 9:16) since no one can believe the gospel unless God grants it (John 6:63, 65). As an example of how the Spirit uses the means of the spoken word to disarm closed hearts, the Book of Acts records the work of the Holy Spirit during the preaching of the apostles and, in one instance, states that "the Lord opened her [Lydia's] heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul," (Acts 16:14). The Spirit must likewise give all His people spiritual life and understanding if their hearts are to be opened and thus respond to Christ in faith.

Source:  by John on November 12, 2009 06:44 PM
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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Thorium: An Energy Solution

Thorium is readily available and can be turned into energy without generating transuranic wastes. Thorium's capacity as nuclear fuel was discovered during WW II, but ignored because it was unsuitable for making bombs. A liquid-fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) is the optimal approach for harvesting energy from Thorium, and has the potential to solve today's energy/climate crisis. LFTR is a type of Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (Th-MSR). This video summarizes over 6 hours worth of thorium talks given by Kirk Sorensen and other thorium technologists. Thorium is a naturally-occurring mineral that holds large amounts of releasable nuclear energy, similar to uranium. This nuclear energy can be released in a special nuclear reactor designed to use thorium. Thorium is special because it is easier to extract this energy completely than uranium due to some of the chemical and nuclear properties of thorium.  To learn more about the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor visit:

Solar, Hydrogen, And Aluminum: A Guide To The Latest In Advanced Vehicle Technology


Since the days of Henry Ford and the Model T, cars have always captured the American imagination. For a time, bigger was better and gas-guzzling behemoths like Hummers were all the rage. But times have changed. Retooling the auto industry to produce more efficient vehicles helped save Detroit and advanced vehicles have become so mainstream that Cadillac’s recent Super Bowl ad marketing a luxury hybrid vehicle as a symbol of all that makes America great.

“You work hard, you create your own luck, and you gotta believe anything is possible,” the driver says as he unplugs his car.

While conservative pundit George Will claims Americans are driving bigger cars to show how ungrateful they are for federal efforts to improve fuel efficiency and cut carbon emissions, Americans are actually driving lessthan they used to, and when they do so, they are often driving smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

Many people see efficient vehicles, electric cars — cars that use less or no gasoline — as unrealistic luxuries. The sticker price of Tesla’s Model S means it is a pipe dream for the vast majority the population, even if it earns some of the highest ratings ever. But if Americans look to the innovative Next Big Thing for inspiration, believing that anything is possible — what are those next big things?

Here is a look at some of the highlights of what’s coming next in the world of efficient vehicles:


 Plug-in hybrids



First, what’s happening now? The most visible way that Americans see cars becoming more efficient is through the expanding electric and hybrid vehicle markets. Instead of running on gasoline, these cars use batteries to store an electric charge to completely replace or augment a gas-powered combustion engine. Tesla Motors’ stock continues to do well this year, and it touts impressive sales, but until it offers a modelcompetitively priced with other hybrid or electric vehicles, the vast majority of the population will be entirely insulated from any of its innovative designs. Toyota and Ford currently dominate recent hybrid sales with the more reasonably priced Prius and Fusion. In the plug-in category, Chevy’s Volt competed well with Toyota and Ford’s models, while in the pure electric category, it’s almost entirely Tesla and Nissan’s game with the Model S and Leaf.

A recent study by researchers at North Carolina State University looked at how high electric car usage would have to go before emissions over the whole economy would begin to go down. Because power plant emissions were assumed to increase, they found that electric cars would have to make up more than 42 percent of the total fleet usage to see a reduction of the emissions of key air pollutants.

Replacing an inefficient gasoline-powered car with an efficient one that uses a mix of electricity to charge itself is a good step, but it’s not everything. So what kind of vehicle innovations can consumers look to in order to drop total emissions by a meaningful enough amount to make a dent in carbon pollution?

Solar cars



Look out over a large parking lot on a hot day and it is easy to think about covering the whole surface with a solar farm for cars. Sure, there are efforts underway to install solar shades over parked cars. But what if you could bring your solar panels with you when you drove away? Solar panel-embedded roofs are already available on the Prius, for example, but without the canopy to concentrate the energy, it only powers climate control systems in the cabin. The Ford C-MAX Solar Energi concept car boasts a rooftop covered in solar panels that aim to do more than that.

The designers of the Energi concept car crammed 16 square feet of solar panels on the roof, but that would not be enough to charge the battery on its own over the course of the day — it would take at least a week. The best way that collaborators Ford, SunPower Corp., and the Georgia Institute of Technology found to charge the car’s battery without relying on the grid is to set up a transparent canopy of its own over the owner’s driveway (or office parking lot) that magnifies the sun’s rays to maximize the charge. Concentrated solar photovoltaic power plants operate in a similar manner. The car even slowly moves as the sun tracks east to west across the sky to ensure the energy flows in as directly as possible.

“We call it an 8x multiplier,” Ford’s global director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure Mike Tinskey, told Climate Progress. “Without the canopy you’re just getting 1x.”

Tinskey explained that without the canopy, the panel still charges the car, and would continue to do so even while driving. Without the concentrating lens pulling in more of the sun’s energy, however, on an average day it would generate just one kilowatt of charge. A four-hour battery charge takes 8 kilowatts.

With the canopy, the Energi’s charging time drops from a week to six or seven hours. This charging system won’t be feasible for every prospective owner — Tinskey said that working with offices to allow for employee solar charging during a bright work day may be the best option. He also acknowledged that care must be taken to avoid the super-concentrated rays under the canopy without the car there, as they are eight times as strong as normal sunlight.

The benefit of a concept car like this would be another step away from a fossil fuel powered grid. Since most transportation is still powered by petroleum, and a lot of the grid is powered by coal, beginning to supplement the fleet with direct solar power would start to cut carbon emissions. Ford estimates that savings at four metric tons of CO2 per person.

Because the Solar Energi concept car is a plug-in hybrid, the sun helps to top off the capacity of a vehicle with a range of up to 620 miles. Bob Sheth wrote on Electric Forum that “the vast majority of concept vehicles will never make it to market” though they show how a major auto company can build a car that “is not only good for the industry but also gives potential customers of the future food for thought.”

For now, while the solar version evolves from concept to reality, the normal plug-in hybrid version is currently available. The Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid gets a combined 100 mpg between its electric battery and hybrid gasoline engine. Though the car’s detractors may complain about price (around $33,000), storage, and pickup, its fans (over 10,000 sold so far) love the flexibility of a plug-in hybrid with the comfort of a conventional car.

Tinskey explained that the reasoning behind such a concept car was to show what’s possible while the potential market develops — these cars are not going to be commercially available until consumers see them as safe and robust options. Yet the idea of a car that requires no fuel or outlets for most trips (but is equipped to handle both options), while powering itself by the sun is sure to appeal to many.

The world’s first full-sized solar truck

Rest assured, internal combustion engine fans, Via Motors’ XTRUX has a big V8 engine powered by gasoline, but the hybrid truck also has a 24 kWh decent-sized lithium-ion battery pack and two big electric motors that combine to over 800 horsepower. That’s all well and good for an electric hybrid truck, but what sets this truck apart is the big solar panel in the back.

Similar to those Prius models that have a small solar panel in the roof to augment on-board power needs, this truck uses power harvested from a big solar panel covering the truck bed. The sheer mass of a V8 truck means that the solar power cannot carry the truck as far as it could a sleek sedan, but no other truck can recharge the battery while sitting out in the parking lot or off in the woods on a sunny day. There will be two options: a 400-watt model will cost $2,000 while providing six miles of electric range, and an 800-watt model will cost $3,000 and provide ten miles of electric range. The power can also be used to drive power tools using the truck’s onboard outlet. The solar charge is more to extend the range than anything, but this would be the world’s first full-sized truck powered by solar panels.

Like the Ford Solar Energi, timing and pricing remain a mystery. Until this truck reaches the market, are there new, efficient options for people who prefer pickups?

The amazing aluminum truck



The Ford F-150 is getting a makeover, and that makes people nervous. At the 2014 Washington Auto Show, it seemed like the vehicle that people most wanted to touch — but were afraid to — was the brand-new, 2015 F-150.

They had heard the rumors, that it was made of aluminum, that it had gone light, gone soft. They wanted to see, and hear, for themselves. Rap two knuckles against the blue chassis and instead of a resounding clanking sound, they got a flat, absorbing, plasticky, thunk. Several asserted that the skin had to be plastic — no way was that truck made of aluminum and light-weight steel. Why would Ford do this?

Well, for one thing, the new F-150 dropped 700 pounds, meaning that drivers save on fuel, and are able to tow that much more weight than before. This helps with improving the automaker’s average fuel economy. Another benefit of switching over to a lighter material is that it actually makes the truck more resistant to scratches and bumps.

Water vapor exhaust fumes



One of the main attractions of the Washington Auto Show was the Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle concept car: brightly lit, slowly rotating up on a podium. It didn’t have a traditional tailpipe, just a place for water vapor to leak out the back.

Hydrogen cars — vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells that emit nothing but water vapor as exhaust — have been a pipe dream for decades. The recurring joke is that hydrogen is the fuel of the future … and always will be. The cost of creating an infrastructure from scratch to fuel a fleet of hydrogen cars has long been an issue.

But there is a reason people keep trying, primarily because powering a vehicle with hydrogen has undeniable advantages. The car does not need a heavy battery pack, so it functions as a light, spry electric car that carries only compressed hydrogen. The fuel cell converts the hydrogen into electric power to drive the motor by chemically oxidizing it, yielding only hydrogen and oxygen — water. Nothing is burned, and it does not require a charge from the grid. It therefore emits no greenhouse gases.

Topping off the fuel cell every 300 or so miles is an issue, though, especially when this can only happen in a few places in the United States. Honda has been leasing the FCX Clarity to brave souls in Southern Californiasince 2008, and unveiled the FCEV concept car last year, upping the range from 230 to 300 miles. This still means that even getting to San Francisco from Los Angeles is a dicey affair because there are only nine public hydrogen fuel stations. In fact, there are only ten in the entire country, with the last being in Columbia, South Carolina. The California Air Resources Board aims to have 70 fueling stations up and running in the state by 2016. Hyundai has offered the Tucson ix35 Hydrogen Fuel-Cell vehicle for lease in Europe for years, and in 2015 it will start leasing the American version.

Toyota plans to offer its Fuel Cell Vehicle for sale in 2015, as well, and given the company’s ability to sell a lot of hybrid electric Prius models to the American market, it could be the company to make hydrogen a normal way to power thousands of commutes and road trips. The car would have a range of 300 miles and would be refueled in about as much time as it takes to pump gas — around three minutes. Toyota points to a study with the University of California at Irvine showing that only 68 refueling stations would be needed between San Francisco and San Diego to support 10,000 vehicles. Bob Carter, a Toyota senior vice president for U.S. automotive operations, said in January to “stay tuned, because this infrastructure thing is going to happen.”

Toyota expects to price the car at a bit less than $100,000, meaning they would be more expensive than Tesla’s electric cars. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in January that “there is still the need for substantial cost reduction” with regard to fuel cell technology. After a modest roll-out in Japan, Europe, and California, the idea goes, the price would drop to between $30-50,000 by the end of the decade.

Is that a car or a tricycle?



Don’t be alarmed, the car is supposed to lean into turns. More of a scooter that keeps you dry in the rain, the Toyota i-ROAD is powered by a lithium-ion battery. While it’s very unorthodox, Car and Driver said “we’re genuinely tickled by this Toyota concept.”

Toyota is starting consumer trials in Japan soon to see if this is a feasible car to produce. If so, it’s likely the i-ROAD would start out in Japan or Europe where the 33-inch width would be an asset on congested roadways and drivers would find widespread charging stations. Elio Motors has a gasoline version of the three-wheeled car that promises 84 mpg, meaning a range of 670 miles per tank. The price fits most budgets at $6,800, and they expect production to start in 2015. No word yet on the price of the i-ROAD.

What about charging?



This Tron-like concept car from Toyota is called the Fun-Vii and isn’t likely to show up in dealerships any time soon in this form, but it does show where the more imaginative vehicle designers are looking for the next-next generation models. Though much of the attention goes to this fuel cell-powered smartphone-like changeable colors on its exterior, one thing the company is pretty sure it will be able to do is charge without plugging in. In fact, earlier this year Toyota announced it would begin testing wireless charging technology on some modified Priuses. The service is available courtesy of Bosch and Evantran to Nissan Leaf and Chevy Voltowners who shell out over $3,000 for a home system, which can charge a car in half the time a conventional 120V outlet does.

Electric vehicles are not just useful for low-emissions travel — having a large battery of stored energy plugged into the grid so close to home has other uses, as well. The military has found that having a fleet of electric vehicles on domestic bases can actually make them money when they are plugged into the grid. Electric grid operators love having a network of vehicle batteries to either draw upon when electricity demand spikes or to dump excess power onto when demand drops. This vehicle-to-grid technology is worth so much to the utility that the revenue more than covers the lease payments for the electric cars.

Other families are turning their Priuses into emergency backup generators for when the power goes out. Thiscomes in handy as the electric grid becomes more vulnerable climate change-fueled storm activity, like Superstorm Sandy.

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Rüsselsheim. The Opel Ampera is unique. The first electric vehicle suitable for everyday use has been on sale for almost two years and at a current price of 38,300 euros, the customer gets a car today that is equipped with the technology of tomorrow. Owners across Europe have now driven a total of 100 million kilometers on pure electric power, so it’s time to review real-life electric mobility. The number of electric vehicles in the European market in 2013 is still too low. While their market share has increased slightly over last year, from 0.15 to 0.19 percent, this is still far behind the forecasts of numerous experts.  MORE..  -

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