cole lyman Bioinformatics, Emacs, Programming, and Life

Honoring Pi Day

Honoring Pi Day

Honoring Pi Day

Preface: This is a throwback from some years ago (circa 2012) when I was a Senior in high school, and was in honor of Pi Day. Enjoy!

Honoring Pi Day

Preface: This is a throwback from some years ago (circa 2012) when I was a Senior in high school, and was in honor of Pi Day. Enjoy!


π It is romantic, infinite, enigmatic, and yet so simple. It can be discovered by taking the area of a circle, and dividing that by the square of its radius. It has fooled may intellectual men and women throughout the ages, and still today. I will do a little manipulation of π (and hopefully not be committing mathematical heresy) with the advent of π day.

As many know π can be known as 3.14159265… Which would mean that the most accurate π day would have been on March 14, 1592. So, going off this, if π changed every year according to the date, what mathematical effects would this bring?

To illustrate this I will use one of the most basic uses of π, finding the area of a circle. For ease of understanding, our circle will have a radius of 1. Reach back to third grade and remember the formula for the area of a circle A=π r2. Which means that if our radius (r)=1, then the area will be π or 3.141592.

Now let’s have some fun.

If we modify π to change every year, π would equal 3.142012 this year and next year it would equal 3.142013 and so on for eternity. The repercussions of this would be that circles with a radius of 1, would be 0.00042 units2 larger than the ‘true’ π day back in 1592. Even though this is a mere 0.013369018% increase in size and a 0.000001 unit increase per year, it could still be a pretty big deal (ok, not really). It would take 6,000 years, if this pattern is continued, for the ‘area’ of a circle to double (go from 1 unit2 to 2 units2). The year would be 7592, and every circle (where radius is equal to 1) that you would encounter would conceptually be twice the size… Crazy to think about.

But thankfully π is constant, or is it since it is infinite?

Happy π day.

-Cole

The god of Google

The god of Google

The god of Google

Disclaimer I don’t mean for this post to be a sermon, these are only my thoughts. I am passionate about these topics because it is the…

The god of Google

Disclaimer 
I don’t mean for this post to be a sermon, these are only my thoughts. I am passionate about these topics because it is the nexus of two of the most important parts of my life, faith and technology. My views reflect only myself, not any of the organizations that I am affiliated with including Brigham Young University and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The first of the Ten Commandments
The first commandment of the Ten Commandments explains where we should place God in our lives.

This commandment is:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

(Exodus 20:3)

While the gods that the ancient Israelites would have had above the true God may have been made of wood or stone, the gods that we can currently have above the true God are much more subtle. They surround us everyday, and may be constructed of silicon and bytes.

This is not to say that technology is inherently evil. It is simply a tool, just like how the ancient Israelites used tools composed of wood or stone. The issue at hand is not the object itself, the issue is in how you view and use the object. Do you use the tool, or do you worship it?

“Where you invest your love, you invest your life” (Mumford and Sons- Awake My Soul)

If I may add, “where you invest your time, you invest your love (and your life).” Christ said “whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35). I believe that this scripture is telling us less about ‘losing our life’ in the sense of dying for someone else, but rather ‘losing our life’ in the sense of spending our time in the service of others.

I feel that it is essential for all people, religious or not, to audit how they spend their time. Is how we spend our time consistent with what we love, or what we want to accomplish in the world? If it is inconsistent, then there is cause for change.

Which god do you serve?

We can so easily be consumed by the world around us. It is easy to always do what you have always done, but you can only expect to get what you have always got.

Are your actions in line with the ideals and standards that you have? If not, what are you going to do about it?

-Cole

He that has an ear let him hear

“He that has an ear, let him hear”

“He that has an ear, let him hear”

15 April 2016

“He that has an ear, let him hear”

15 April 2016

Many times in John’s writing of Revelation he says the phrase “he that has an ear, let him hear.” This phrase may seem like it is stating the obvious, and could be interpreted as unnecessary literary fluff, but it reality it has deep meaning. Whenever this phrase appears it signals the read to be prepared to interpret what is said next because it is meant to be symbolic.

The phrase itself has an added meaning to me. Almost all of us have ears that can hear, or eyes that can read, but how many of us use them for these purposes? Is God trying to speak with us? If so, are you listening?

If we feel that God isn’t speaking to us or that we aren’t learning from the scriptures, maybe it is that we aren’t hearing. May all of us that have ears hear what we need to hear.

-Cole

Neither cold nor hot I would thou wert cold or hot

“Neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot”

“Neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot”

09 April 2016

“Neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot”

09 April 2016

(Photo credit Leon Mauldin)

In modern-day Turkey there is a city called Laodicea. One of the attributes of this city that stands out the most in modern times is its water distribution system. Not because of its effectiveness, but rather because of its ineffectiveness. Because of where Laodicea was situated in relation to the water source, by the time the water from the hot springs reached Laodicea, it was lukewarm. The temperature of the water was optimal for bacteria to grow, which in turn clogged the pipes of Laodicea (see picture). Had the water been warmer, or colder, the pipes would not have been clogged.

Spiritual Pipes

John was not referring to the effectiveness of Laodicea’s water system when he wrote “Thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot” (Revelation 3:15). He prefaced this with “I know thy works” (Revelation 3:15); John was referring to the spiritual temperature of the Laodiceans.

How can one be spiritually hot or cold? Is there a spiritual lukewarm? I believe that in reality spirituality is a binary matter, meaning that there is no true middle ground. We may say what we believe, but we show what we truly believe through what we do. In the end, we are either on Christ’s side or we are not. Those that say that they are on His side, but show otherwise may be considered to be lukewarm.

When we are lukewarm the spiritual water that flows from God to us is inhibited. We do not act on the promptings that are given to us, and the flow of water will gradually be diminished to a mere trickle. Distractions and temptations will pile up and clog our spiritual pipes. Let us always be spiritually warm, that the living water that we receive may always flow with abundance.

-Cole

Many to One Sacrifice

Many to One Sacrifice

Many to One Sacrifice

27 March 2016

Many to One Sacrifice

27 March 2016

It is unclear who wrote the epistle to the Hebrews, but the thesis of this epistle is as clear as glass. The purpose of this epistle is to convince the Judaizers that the Law of Moses has been fulfilled and that Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient to fulfill the Law of Moses.

This epistle is filled with doctrine that is accepted (and contested) by many sects of Christendom. Isn’t it ironic that the purpose of this epistle was to clear up misunderstandings about the transition from the Law of Moses to the Doctrine of Christ, yet it is the source of much contention in modern Christian sects today?

Sanctification

The author of Hebrews states that “we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10). This is compared with the sacrifices of the Law of Moses that are repeated by a priest multiple times a year. The comparison of these two types of sacrifices is significant because it shows the inadequacy of the Law of Moses. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and his atonement are greater than what the Law of Moses can offer.

Accessibility to God

Later in the chapter, the author states that Christ has brought “a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” (Hebrews 10:20). When Christ was resurrected, the veil in the temple was rent (torn). This allowed all people in the temple to see the Holy of Holies, no matter if the person was a Gentile, a woman, or a leper. This never happened previously because only the high priest was able to be in the presence of the Holy of Holies. Christ enabled everyone, Jew or Gentile, to enter into the presence of God through His resurrection.

Christ’s sacrifice has changed my life. It has enabled me to overcome weaknesses and to improve myself. It is the sweetest feeling to know that there is someone on my side. Someone that knows me and that loves me enough to die for me. Someone to believe in me, and to show His belief through His actions. These are not just words, these are my convictions.

May you be able to feel his love too.

-Cole

The Final Epistle

The Final Epistle

The Final Epistle

20 March 2016

The Final Epistle

20 March 2016

The second epistle of Paul to Timothy is colloquially known as the last epistle (that we have in the Bible) that Paul sent. It is insightful to see the changes that Paul has experienced from his ministry. In his epistle to Timothy, Paul prepares him for the impending apostasy. Paul prepares Timothy not only by sharing warning, but also sharing tender and loving encouragements.

Warnings of Apostasy

Paul begins chapter 4 of 2 Timothy with a prophesy that “the time will come when they [the Saints of the Church of Christ] will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears [desirous of hearing something pleasant]” (2 Timothy 4:3). The scriptures speak often of soothsayers that will say what the people want to hear rather than what the Lord would want the people to hear. Apostasy is when the true doctrine of Christ is replaced with something else, whether that be on an individual or a mass scale.

Furthermore, Paul says that the Saints of the Church of Christ “shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:4). The Greek word for ‘fables’ is mythos, which is interesting considering what occurred with the Christian religion as it evolved through the ages. Pagan holidays were associated with Christian events and many of the doctrines were polluted with concepts gathered from mythology.

Encouragements of Love

Paul has come a long way from the road to Damascus to the point where he is writing this epistle to Timothy. Perhaps it was Paul’s training as a Pharisee, but when he began his ministry he was very brash and extremely bold in most things. As he progressed he developed more of a loving and tender side. He is still direct, and at times as bold as before, yet there is a tenderness that can be felt.

Paul gives a piece of loving encouragement at the beginning of the chapter when he says “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2 emphasis added). Paul shares that me must have longsuffering when we reprove, rebuke or exhort. I feel that this is a lesson that Paul learned during his ministry.

We cannot convince or coerce anyone to do anything that they don’t want to do. No matter how convincing the argument or how enticing the reward, people will do nothing on behalf of someone else’s convincing.

Paul’s Example

If you ever think that you are too far gone, that you can not change from what you have done in the past, stop it! Think of where Paul was early in his life, killing followers of Christ. Then in his last epistle boldly stating “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

What made the difference in Paul’s life? Why did he change? How did he change? It was nothing that Paul did that changed him except for his choice to follow Christ. Paul realized that he was wrong, and he did something about it despite the emotional and social pressures that could have prohibited him from changing. After he realized his weakness, he changed and he changed for good. Paul understood that the grace of Christ was for him.

Let us all follow Paul’s example and ‘fight a good fight,’ choose what is right, and do what is right.

-Cole

Above a Servant a Brother Beloved

“Above a Servant, a Brother Beloved”

“Above a Servant, a Brother Beloved”

11 March 2016

“Above a Servant, a Brother Beloved”

11 March 2016

The epistle of Paul to Philemon is the shortest of Paul’s epistles, however, what it lacks in length it makes up for in content. This epistle is very sweet and it is an extended metaphor to the redemptive powers of Christ.

This epistle serves as a letter of recommendation to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus. Onesimus used to be one of Philemon’s servants, but he ran away. While Paul was imprisoned he taught and baptized Onesimus, now Onesimus wants to return to Philemon (whom Paul also baptized). Embedded in this story is our own personal story of our estrangement from God and our redemption through Christ.

Onesimus’ Change

In this story we must remember that the whole reason that Paul is writing Onesimus a letter of recommendation is that Onesimus has changed. Paul states, “I beseech thee for my son Onesimus… which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me.” (Philemon 1:10–11) Onesimus has changed his ways, he has become a new man.

Our Change

Who does Christ ask us to be? What does He ask us to change? He asks us to be “even as [He] is” (3 Nephi 27:27). All of us have fallen short of the expectations that God has established for us, but we have the chance to return in full fellowship through the recommendation of Jesus Christ.

We do not know if Philemon accepted Onesimus back after he returned, but we do know that God will accept us back through the grace of Jesus Christ. This beautiful metaphor of Philemon and Onesimus helps us remember what that truly means.

-Cole

Saved by the Law or by Grace

Saved by the Law or by Grace?

Saved by the Law or by Grace?

27 February 2016

Saved by the Law or by Grace?

27 February 2016

Paul’s epistle to the Romans is filled with doctrinal clarifications directed towards the Judaizers (Jewish converts to Christianity that still supported the Law of Moses). In Romans 3 Paul rebukes the notion that through sheer obedience we can be saved.

The Irony of Being Saved by Grace

The irony of the notion that we are saved by grace is that “none [of us are] righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). Even if we could be saved by our works, we have all failed at one point or another, so none of use would ever be saved. We are all in need of a higher power to help us.

Paul stated “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20) which means that we can not earn our standing before God. Furthermore, the purpose of the commandments is to show us when our lives are not in harmony with the ways that God would have us live.

Paul said that “the righteousness of God without the law is manifested… Even the righteousness of God which is by the faith of Jesus Christ… being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22–24). What he means by this is that “the righteousness of God without the law” is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which depends wholly upon the grace of Jesus Christ. Without the grace of Jesus Christ it would not matter how obedient we are, because it would never be enough.

The grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient for us. I know that we will always come up short, but when we rely upon Him, we can be made whole.

-Cole

The Great Exchange

The Great Exchange

The Great Exchange

15 February 2016

The Great Exchange

15 February 2016

The latter half of the New Testament is filled with Pauline epistles. It is known that the earliest epistle that Paul went was to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians). In this epistle Paul rebukes the Corinthians sharply, and it is reported back to Paul that they did not take the rebuke very well (I don’t blame them). Therefore, Paul sends a second epistle to the people in Corinth (2 Corinthians) to show an outpouring of love to these people. Because of this outpouring of love, there are many valuable teachings that Paul shares in 2 Corinthians.

The Ministry of Reconciliation

In 2 Corinthians 5:18 Paul states that Christ “hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” What does “reconciliation” mean? This word in the Greek transliteration is katallagē, which means “an adjustment of a difference, reconciliation, restoration to favor” (Greek Lexicon). When William Tyndale translated the New Testament from Greek, he used the term “atonement” to describe katallagē. Through Christ’s atonement we are reconciled with him.

This reconciliation is needed because we all eventually fail in this life. We have been given weakness to overcome them. If we had no weaknesses, we would have no need for the atonement or the grace of Christ. Christ said “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Christ’s grace could never be made perfect in our perfection, we must have weaknesses in order to have his help.

How He Reconciles Us

A beautiful explanation of the atonement is found shortly after these in verse 2 Corinthians 5:21 which reads “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Christ descended below them all so that He could reconcile us, He experienced all of the frailties of humankind without being frail himself. This made Him perfectly empathetic towards us.

The irony of Christ dying so that we can be made alive is comparable to Adam partaking of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil so that we could also be made alive. The Gospel is filled with the juxtaposition of life coming through death, and the atonement is no exception.

Exchange Our Will For His

Compared to what we gain from Christ, He asks very little of us. He asks us to change what we do, and become more like Him. We exchange our selfish natural man desires for His selfless celestial desires. He has ransomed our sins for us, and He will help us achieve what He has in store for us.

-Cole

Naked and Wounded

Naked and Wounded

Naked and Wounded

03 February 2016

Naked and Wounded

03 February 2016

Paul is travelling on his third missionary journey, and when he came to Ephesus he encountered “certain vagabond Jews” (Acts 19:13). These men decided to call upon those that had evil spirits in them, however there was one problem with their plan, they did not have the proper authority to cast out these evil spirits.

Results

The sons of Sceva, otherwise known as the aforementioned “certain vagabond Jews,” tried to remove the evil spirit from the person by saying “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth” (Acts 19:13). In doing this, the evil spirit responds “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” (Acts 19:15). The evil spirit clearly recognized that the “vagabond Jews” were not acting under the authority of Jesus or Paul, but by their own authority.

Because these men were not acting under a higher authority, the following happened. The man that they were attempting to remove the evil spirit from “leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded” (Acts 19:16).

The irony of this results is that the spirit that these men were trying to conquer, was the very factor that conquered them. We can learn that when we are not adequately prepared against opposing forces, we will most certainly fail; however, this is not the main lesson that I would like to extract from this account.

I purport that whenever any of us face ‘devils’ we will be left naked and wounded. Perhaps not physically, but most definitely spiritually and emotionally. Nonetheless, whenever we interact with Christ he will leave us covered and healed. This is His purpose, to make us whole and to heal us from sin.

-Cole