Revelation 13:16-18 

V(16 )And the second beast required all people small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark — the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18Here is a call for wisdom: Let the one who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and that number is six hundred sixty-six.…(Berean Study Bible)>

In the din of everyday life it is easy to miss God’s voice. Those who trust in him and believe his words are sacrosanct must do their very best to go to their private places, or quite spaces, even when totally strapped to the hamster-wheel of life’s daily grind.

God speaks to us as long long as we are willing to listen.  He is able to do that in tiny moments of his choosing because he is God Almighty.
I can lay no claim to being an obedient listener who waits for him to speak through his Holy Spirit to my heart , yet in his grace and mercy, in his infinite wisdom and awesome kindness he sometimes chooses the least qualified , the least likely , the least worthy through whom to communicate his word.

Telling of his grace and goodness cannot always come from an esteemed pulpit, but from wherever we are , reaching the people we can reach, in whatever way we can. So that his Kingdom may be glorified. I am one of those unqualified, unworthy, unlikely servants.
That must have been the way Jonah felt when he decided to ignore the Lords call to travel to  Nineveh to warn the people of God’s imminent wrath which was to come.
Jonah in his limited wisdom and human flesh had no use for the Ninevites,  he believed they were utterly deserving of whatever God was about to visit on them. In his eyes they were wicked people who deserved every bit of what was to come.

It’s such a beautiful ,  wonderful thing to be comforted in the knowledge that God does not harbor the thoughts we harbor, does not hate the way we hate.  In fact the only thing he hates is the sin in us . Even though we sin he forgives us while still holding us in his loving arms.
Though undeserving we still benefit from his unconditional love, his unending forgiveness.


So this morning before going to work I was taking a shower as I always do each day, and out of nowhere his voice spoke to my heart “you like to write, how about writing something for me”?
How about telling those with whom you interact that my words are true today as they were yesterday, as they will be for evermore”?

“Wow” !
The Book of Revelation Chapter 13 Verses 16-18 was revealed to me.
I found it stunning that God would want me to write about that to the maybe four people who would potentially be interested in anything I have to say.  Usually my wife and maybe two of my friends.

According to fortune.com, for the first time ever, shoppers are going to the web for most of their purchases.

An annual survey by analytics firm comScore (SCOR, -0.97%) and UPS(UPS, +0.20%) found that consumers are now buying more things online than in stores. The survey, now in its fifth year, polled more than 5,000 consumers who make at least two online purchases in a three-month period. According to results, shoppers now make 51% of their purchases online, compared to 48% in 2015 and 47% in 2014.

According to the website Forbes.com,  Amazon ruined the Holidays for retailers.
As the owner of a small electronic business I know all too well what that feels like. Before this mad rush to shop online, I understood the mad rush toward the large box-stores during the holiday season.
As Black Friday images emerged showing throngs of people lining up for deals in sub-zero temperatures, companies like Amazon has made it much easier to purchase online insulating shoppers from the madness.

Amazon is now asking the Government to approve drone licencing which would essentially allow the mega retailer to deliver same day to it’s customers.
If approved this will certainly deal a death knell to many mega stores, not to mention small mom and pop establishments which are just barely hanging on for survival.

According to CNNmoney.com ,In a sign of how dramatically the retail shopping landscape is changing, Macy’s is closing 100 of its stores nationwide. Macy’s (M) announced the closures Thursday. They represent about 15% of all Macy’s department stores. The iconic retailer did not disclose the locations of stores, but said most of them will be shut down in early 2017.

For instance, Walmart (WMT)announced plans in January to shut down 269 stores this year and just this week, inked a $3.3 billion deal to acquire Amazon rival Jet.com.  Sports Authority, once the nation’s largest sporting goods retailer, is shutting all 450 of its stores after filing for bankruptcy. Other traditional retailers such as Target(TGT), JC Penney (JCP), Kmart, Sears (SHLD) and Kohl’s(KSS) have also pulled the plug on hundreds of stores in recent months. It’s a grim picture for retail store workers — there have been around 44,000 retail layoffs announced so far this year alone, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas data. Walmart’s closures alone impacted 16,000 workers. Macy’s closures come amid a sixth-straight quarterly decline in sales. However, sales fell less than feared and the company said it’s “encouraged” by recent sales trends. Wall Street applauded the dramatic store closures, sending the stock surging 17%, its best day since 2008.

Last night I needed to purchase a laptop bag for my wife, so after work I drove to K-Mart, they usually have stuff like that right?
Wrong, the store seemed like they were on the verge of closing down.
I drove across the street to Radio Shack, they are smaller , with stores generally the size of my small business . They did not look much better than K-Mart , just smaller more organized but of course they did not have any either.
So I went a few miles up the road in another direction to Staples , only to see total darkness where Staples once stood, it had closed.

I Inquired from staff at a large store next door which is kinda like a dollar store filled with chachkies,  “what happened to  Staples” ? They told me they moved to where Office Depot once was before they closed down.
So I got back into my car and drove the few miles down Route 9  south.  The store was there like she said, but stocked surprisingly sparsely.
I was the only customer except a lady getting some copies made.
I found a few laptop cases and grabbed one for Cheryl, I was through driving.

A friend who owns a petrol station laments to me that he is paying humongous sums of money to the Banks through their merchant services divisions which handles credit card processing.
This I understood well, more and more people are opting for the fast convenience of credit/debit card use over cash, my customers being no exception.
He tells me the bulk of his customers who stop for gas uses a debit or credit card. His establishment also houses a convenient store as well, thats where his profits come from as there are really not much margins on gasoline sales.
However he went on to say that even if the customers are not filling up their tanks but are getting a cup of coffee, they still plunk down a debit/credit card.
Turning them away is not an option .


To the young Generation X’ers this is cool, clutter-free way of doing business, a cashless society.
But a cashless society has it’s downsides.
For instance the Banks are getting exponentially richer as they cut into the meager profits of retailers who have no choice but to accept credit card and debit cards.
This forces more and more small business to close as they are unable to turn a profit.(And the rich shall be richer and the poor poorer)
Credit/debit cards get lost they are prone to being compromised. Hackers are able to hack into large holding servers stealing millions of credit/debit card information which renders owners penniless and at further risk.

So with people literally looking to shop online which drastically reduces competition for large corporations, and the legal tender already proven vulnerable and easily compromised whats next?
V(16 )And the second beast required all people small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark — the name of the beast or the number of its name.

The human specie will do precious little  to halt it’s own march toward it’s ultimate conclusion. In fact humanity is gleefully rushing to it’s destiny, unwittingly ,fulfilling Biblical Prophecy in the process.
Even so, Isaiah 55:11New King James Version (NKJV)11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

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