Sunday, December 16, 2018

How Should Christians Treat the Poor? A Christmas Tree or Not? Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:

How Should Christians Treat the Poor?

image“We should never associate wealth with faith in Jesus Christ. Wealth does not in and of itself deserve honor. We must never show favoritism.

All Christians need to take seriously this challenge of not showing favoritism.

Faith in Jesus Christ owes nothing to finance, education, social standing, or racial profile. During Jesus’ life, He moved among the masses. He did not move among the intelligentsia or the rich and famous of His day.

Therefore, when a church gets it wrong and affords peculiar benefits, blessings, affections and opportunities to someone on the basis of the designer of their shoes, or on the particular emblem on their car, then that church needs a healthy serving of chapter 2 from the book of James.

We may display mercy and kindness, but is it within an exclusive framework? God works to wean us away from bias and prejudice, toward His standard of the treatment of others.

James, brother of Jesus, writes, “My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality (James 2:1, emphasis added). James holds an individual’s assertion of faith up to their treatment of the poor. In verses 1-9 of his letter we are warned about the danger of treating people in different ways according to their outward appearance. In short, he warns of the danger of favoritism based on their financial standing.

A helpful illustration is then provided for the believers to whom he writes.

Two strangers enter into the gathering of God’s people: one rich, one poor. Imagine, he says, that someone comes into your assembly and he has the outward appearances of wealth. He is clad in fine raiment and adorned in gold. Simultaneously, another man shows up and he is obviously at the other end of the spectrum. He is dirty and his clothes are in disrepair.

The strangers come in and the good seat is given to the one of perceived substance. He is shown special attention. He is someone who perhaps will be able to make a financial contribution to the assembly. The other stranger, of course, is a poor man. He is in shabby clothes and for him, there is no special treatment or seat offered.

James next says something very important: if you give partiality to the rich visitor and disregard the poor man, then you have sinned. “You are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:9).

We may think we are a long way from the time in which James wrote these words. Surely we won’t run into anything like that here in our Christian gatherings today. But we don’t have to go too far back to find Christian congregations that imposed fees for preferential seating. There have been actual parishes of the past that allowed their members to pay an annual rent so as to secure a well-placed seat in the church. These pews even came with their own door and with their own key so as to prevent anyone from sitting in the paying member’s pew!

After all, the rich who had secured earthly wealth were entitled, so it was thought, to that kind of preferential treatment. Those whose finances were not sufficient were consigned to finding a spot in the open seating, floor or just simply to stand.

And over the centuries, this favoritism has even spilled into the appointment of leadership in churches. An individual may be assigned a position of leadership not on account of the size of their heart or commitment to God, but rather on account of the size of their wallet. 

Unfortunately, just as in centuries past, money still does the talking far too loudly in some Christian circles. But where it does and when it does the presence of God will eventually depart.

What the Bible makes absolutely clear is that wealth does not in and of itself deserve honor. We should never associate wealth with faith in Jesus Christ.

All Christians need to take seriously this challenge of not showing favoritism.

If we want to know how to assess a fellow Christian’s value, then we must consider the basis upon which God chose His people the Israelites from the hand of the Egyptians. Deuteronomy 7:7-8 states: “The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the LORD loves you.” The fact is that He came and redeemed His people from Egypt when they were just a bunch of slaves! He didn’t come and redeem the ruling class, rather He came and redeemed those who had nothing. In fact, their very beings belonged to their Egyptian masters.

Consider further how Jesus came from a position of unparalleled wealth and glory in heaven, and moved graciously and kindly among the poor and lowly. His approach to the poor? “Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” (James 2:5).

The King set aside glory in order to come down into our humble existence. It is only when we grasp this that we’ll begin to face up to the ugliness of our treating others on the basis of what is external and superficial.

If God had operated on that basis with us, what kind of seat do you think we would have? Rather, God sent His Son while we were still in the debt and filth of our sin.

Let us all pray to God to help us not get this wrong. We cannot make misguided applications based upon our own preferences. Let’s ask God for forgiveness for any times we have knowingly or unknowingly refused to offer the good seat to the poor. May God help us to go forward so we might do right and reflect His love more—so that we might increasingly become the kind of assemblies where all who enter would be welcomed irrespective of social status or resources.”  From: https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/bible-questions-and-answers/how-should-christians-treat-the-poor

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Jeremiah 10, A Christmas Tree or Not?

Is Jeremiah 10 really talking about a Christmas tree, or something else?

YouTube: https://youtu.be/Bv26fCqbJrI

Transcript

[Darris McNeely] “The question has come in from a Beyond Today viewer regarding Jeremiah chapter 10 and what it says about bringing a tree in and decorating it with gold and silver, and whether or not that is talking about a Christmas tree.

[Steve Myers] It says some interesting things when you actually read what it says there in Jeremiah chapter 10. And it starts out I think in an amazing way 348s_thumb2in verse 2 by saying, and this is God talking, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Do not learn the way of the Gentiles.’” Some versions say heathens. And then He goes on to say,

“The customs of the peoples are useless. They’re futile. One cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with an axe.

They decorate it with silver and gold. They fasten it with nails, hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright like a palm tree. They cannot speak” (Jeremiah 10:2-5).

So what exactly is it talking about? Some of those things, especially if you look at the holiday decorations start to sound pretty familiar.

[Darris McNeely] Matches up pretty closely, doesn’t it, to what might, what is a SilverGoldChristmasTree1_thumb3Christmas tree and what Christmas decorations of gold and tinsel on a tree that’s been cut down from the woods, at least in the traditional way, brought into a home, set up, and around which gifts are spread. It is very, very plain, and matches up with this. Now, some commentators on Jeremiah chapter 10 say that this is talking about a form of idolatry where a tree is cut, but then it is cut into a totem or an idol from that, and the axe is actually a skilled artisan carver that makes this into something different from and therefore cannot be applied to the idea of a modern Christmas tree. But I think that the fact that Jeremiah here is talking about avoiding the practices of the heathen that then become idolatry and a part of worship that replaces something that is truthful was something that is wrong and pagan in place of God. I think that it still refer to what is being described here.

[Steve Myers] Absolutely applies in the sense that if you look into some of the practices of the pagans during this day, they did worship trees. They worshipped all kinds of things. They had a god for just about everything you could imagine. So when you look at the trees, especially at this time of the year, they’re looking at the life that a green tree would bring. And that was a common practice back in that day as well.

[Darris McNeely] Yeah, they were cut. They were used in the middle of the winter time because they supposedly didn’t die, still had life in them, and to represent the life that people wanted to gather around at this time of year in the darkest part of the winter. Those trees were a part of the practice of the ancient world, and yes they did migrate into other parts of the world including Northern Europe from which our modern customs in the United States and the Western world regarding a Christmas tree eventually were adopted. And yet they were still connected with pagan ideas and worship that did migrate from the exact part of the world Jeremiah is talking about where anciently green trees, evergreen trees, were even used in the winter time as a part of this type of worship.

[Steve Myers] And I think that’s such an important point. Can you adopt a pagan principle? Can you adopt something from the Gentiles or heathens, those that don’t know the true God, and somehow try to use that to honor God? Well, He says right here don’t learn that way. Do not do that. That is not a way to honor God by adopting some other practice, and try to call it Christian. He says that’s unacceptable. You can’t do it.

[Darris McNeely] And so you’re left with the question: does it really matter? And the answer is it does matter. And truth does matter and our worship and our relationship with God, we should worship Him in spirit and in truth and not according to the ways that are adopted from heathenism or paganism. That’s what the scripture says. It does matter.”      From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/beyond-today-daily/jeremiah-10-a-christmas-tree-or-not

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Update.

Jay came here and helped put down the padding and tack strip for the living room carpet in the mini-house.  I had bought the carpet but we didn’t have time to lay it. 

On Tuesday, I had an appointment to take the black Manx cat in for a check-up.  I couldn’t let him near my foster-cat until he had been checked out, so he had been isolated in my grooming room.  I had disinfected my hands every time I tended to him.  Just as well, he checked positive for FIV, a terminal, contagious, cat disease and had to be PTS.  He was such a sweet, loving, affectionate cat, and I am glad that I gave him his few weeks of love and care instead of him dying alone, hurt and cold on the streets.  I miss him.

The next day, Zack, and I tore the grooming room apart.  We carried the cages outside and bleached them, then disinfected everything before it was all put back in place. While we were waiting for the cages to dry, we laid out the carpet, cut it to size, and let it rest and breathe.

The next day Jay came to install the carpet, but a new shop light fixture needed installing in the workshop, and that took quite a while.  Zack had already put it up,  then tried to put it together and got frustrated with it.  So it had been left for Jay who did a lot of that in a big office where he used to work.  But he couldn’t figure it out either.  So we took it down and laid it out on a table, then it was easy to see how it went together.  It is amazing how simple some things are when you know.  Patience is the key.  So the carpet still isn’t installed.

This week I had quite a lot of veggies, so I spent some time cooking them.  Some were steamed, like the two giant bok choy.  Some were oven-roasted, like the zucchini, new potatoes, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Some were baked, like the big potatoes. The celery and onions were pan fried and I still have quite a few onions to do, then the green beans were boiled.  Once they are cooked I can freeze them in Mason jars.   But as I live on mostly veggies, they won’t last long.

So, for the church potluck, I took the roasted organic zucchini, and some organic chicken breasts in gravy.  The pastor and his wife were both sick with colds, so it was up to Jeff, the elder who plays the guitar, to lead the service, and up to me to take care of the kitchen.  The pastor’s wife had sent chili, green salad and sweet potatoes with Jeff, as they live near each other.  Jay had gone with me, so he helped me clean up the kitchen because he was in a hurry to get home, and so we couldn’t stay for the Bible study afterwards.

The BiBle readings were Psa. 105:1-10, Gen: 28:10-32:3, Hos. 12:13-14:9 and Matt. 2128-32.  The Teaching was about Hanukkah.  Definition: “A  festival lasting eight days, celebrated from the 25th day of the month of Kislev to the 2nd of Tevet in commemoration of the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees following their victory over the Syrians under Antiochus IV, characterized chiefly by the lighting of the menorah on each night of the festival.”  I would like to have heard the teaching, but I was busy getting the hot meal ready for all the people who had shown up on that cold Sabbath day.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

President George H.W. Bush. Christians Who Don't Celebrate Christmas, Here's Why. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:

President George H.W. Bush, How the Mighty Have Fallen!

“Reflections on what the 41st president's achievements and habits have taught me.

A man writing.helloquence/Unsplash

George Bush made a point of writing notes and letters to his family, friends and acquaintances throughout his life. I think that is the biggest lesson for me from his life.

King David deeply lamented the death of King Saul and his son Jonathan. The three were bonded by critical events at the founding of the monarchy of the nation of Israel. Out of the depths of despair, David wrote, “The beauty of Israel is slain on your high places! How the mighty have fallen!” (2 Samuel 1:19).

Last week’s death of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush brings some of the same sentiment. Mr. Bush served one term as the 41 st American President and his death makes us aware that a generation of Americans—the World War II generation; a generation of common people who were caught up in mighty events—is quickly passing from our time. We will do well to remember them.

George Bush enlisted in World War II at the age of 18 and flew a torpedo bomber in the South Pacific theater. His plane was shot down and he survived, though two of his crewmates died. He never desired to be called a “hero,” saying those who died and never came home were the true heroes. This was a modesty instilled in him by his mother, and it served him throughout his life.

At a significant historical moment in history, this same modesty likely helped shape President Bush’s response to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Refusing to gloat over the fall of the Berlin Wall, Bush aided German’s path to reunification and helped shape what he called, and hoped would appear to be, a “new world order.” America at that moment stood astride a new world as the sole global superpower. When Bush and his national security team assembled a coalition of nations to oust Iraq’s Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, it was thought a new moment of international cooperation had appeared. It was not destined to last.

George Bush made a point of writing notes and letters to his family, friends and acquaintances throughout his life. I think that is the biggest lesson for me from his life. No matter how busy we are and how high we go in life, the personal touch of a note or a card is always something that will lift people’s spirits and forge lasting bonds of friendship. I do this often in my work and find it a useful antidote to the instant digital world we inhabit. Words written in ink on paper are always in good taste.

Historians argue whether the times make a man or a man makes his time. I think President Bush was shaped by his time, as most of us are. At his death he is remembered fondly by many Americans for his part in a period of American resurgence of prosperity and world influence. His was a steady hand that guided the state through a unique moment.

A man who stood for beauty and good things in life has died. America was better off for having him as its president.”  From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/how-the-mighty-have-fallen-president-george-hw-bush

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Christians Who Don't Celebrate Christmas, Here's Why

 61 comments Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

“Why do some Christians not celebrate Christmas? Here are the reasons some gave for kicking the Christmas habit.

Have you given up celebrating Christmas? If so, why? Our readers share some of their reasons for not keeping Christmas.

“I cannot find Christmas in the Bible nor can I find that Jesus Christ told us to observe Christmas. Santa Claus is a lie that some people teach their children every year. For that matter, Christmas is false since it has nothing to do with Christ or His birthday.

“Beyond this, business people, who make most of their income during this time of the year, have increasingly promoted Christmas. Well-meaning people go in debt during Christmas time to give gifts to other people, which in turn motivates other people to give gifts to them. It makes no sense to keep a religious holiday that is not biblical, that Christ never sanctioned, that promotes lying to children, that puts people in debt and that blinds people to what Christ really taught.”  —P.A., Georgia

“It is a historical fact that Christmas is not the day or the season when Christ was born. So why observe a day that is a lie? Most people do not want to admit this fact. For example, how does the use of Santa Claus depict the birth of Christ? How does the Christmas tree depict Christ? Celebrating Christmas violates at least the First, Second and Third Commandments of God’s Ten Commandments. Observing a pagan holiday is a sin. God condemns the worship of pagan gods.

“The Bible does not command people to observe the birth of Christ as a holiday. This day, Dec. 25, is the date that has been observed for centuries as a pagan holiday in honor of the pagan sun god. God commands those who want to serve Him not to observe pagan holidays or any custom that breaks His holy laws.   D.S., California

Our family traditionally celebrated Christmas on Dec. 24. We then followed up with a family day on Dec. 25. One day I had a strong desire to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, which I thought I had been doing up to that point. I met a number of people who were having the same strange experience. We asked ourselves, ‘What does God think about Christmas?’ ‘Are we truly pleasing God?’ ‘Am I doing something that Jesus did and taught?’

“I began to think of the songs we sang, ‘O Tannenbaum’ and ‘Oh! Christmas Tree.’ I had been singing to a tree as though it were alive and had some strange power. We decorated it and placed our gifts below the tree as though the gifts and good feeling emanated from and through the tree.

“I thought about the words to ‘Silent Night, Holy Night,’ a truly beautiful piece of music. I wondered about shepherds and their flocks in the fields on a lovely evening at the end of December. But this was a contradiction. December was a very cold time of the year and sheep wouldn’t be in open fields during that time.

“The Christmas stories about Santa Claus and the shepherds in the fields on Christmas Eve were false. I found out that Jerusalem has rain and cold that time of year and it sometimes snows in the region. Sheep are sheltered in the wintertime, not left out in inclement weather.

“I discovered that the Christmas tree and its ornaments and giving of Christmas gifts come from ancient Roman festivals. I also learned that the Christmas tree represents idolatry, which is an affront to God (Exodus 20:4-5). Jesus Christ never sinned in His life and says we should avoid sin, going against God’s will (Hebrews 12:1-4).

“The gifts our children had asked of Santa Claus created a financial burden on us. The lies about Santa Claus and his flying reindeer were misleading our children.

“Also, the Bible tells us it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). During Christmas time, I saw little joy in giving and I saw children always expecting to receive. I have come to understand that godly blessings come from carefully obeying God. This is why I don’t keep Christmas.” —B.B., Canada

“God tells us to avoid the ways of the ancient pagans. Though modern Christianity observes Christmas, this is where it came from. To be frank, Christmas is a lie. Christmas is a substitute for righteous behavior. It makes people think they are doing good things for God, which somehow does Him service.” A.H., Australia

“I have heard that Christmas has been around for nearly 4,000 years. If that is true, and I think it is, I do not see any evidence that the early apostolic Church observed Christmas or tried to ‘Christianize’ a pagan festival that predated Christ’s birth.

“It seems clear to me that the apostles and early Church kept the Holy Days recorded in the Old Testament, and there are several Old Testament scriptures that speak about the Holy Days being kept by all people after Christ’s return to earth. The Bible is clear that we are to shun paganism and observe the annual Holy Days and the weekly Sabbath day.” — D.N., Oklahoma

“I figure you can’t go wrong sticking with what the Bible says and by following the example of Jesus Christ Himself and the apostles and early Church. They never kept Christmas or anything like it. They knew what the Scriptures said about trying to use other religions’ practices to worship and honor God. It just doesn’t work; God expects better from us.

“It’s a shame that most people have never looked into the Bible and history to learn for themselves the true origins of Christmas. It’s an eye-opening study, one I started when I was only a teenager. I’ve learned so much more about what God is all about and what He wants and expects from us since I started relying on His Word rather than human traditions that have no basis in the Bible.” R.A., Colorado”  

I was appalled when I heard the second line of “Oh Christmas Tree”, which is “How I love your branches.”    Now really!  People really need to read Jeremiah Chapter 10 and stop doing the pagan things which God detests.    SVT, Houston, TX

A Satire on Idolatry - Jeremiah 10

10 Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says the Lord,

“Do not learn the way of the [pagan] nations,
And do not be terrified and distressed by the signs of the heavens
Although the pagans are terrified by them;
3
For the customs and decrees of the peoples are [mere] delusion [exercises in futility];
It is only wood which one cuts from the forest [to make a god],
The work of the hands of the craftsman with the axe or cutting tool.
4
“They adorn the idol with silver and with gold;
They fasten it with hammers and nails
So that it will not fall apart.
5
“They are like scarecrows in a cucumber field;
They cannot speak;
They have to be carried,
Because they cannot walk!
Do not be afraid of them,
For they can do no harm or evil,
Nor can they do any good.”

 61 comments      https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/christians-who-dont-celebrate-christmas-heres-why

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Update.

This week I have been spending quite a bit of time helping a friend organize their stuff for sale at the bi-weekly “Yard Sale” at the storage place next to my subdivision.  We loaded three tables where everything is a $1. The more expensive things were marked separately on different tables.  This streamlined  it a lot better as they have so much stuff that it couldn’t be marked individually.

Zack and I cleaned the rug that my daughter had brought me with my carpet shampooer.  Now that I have had one eye done and the rug is cleaner, I could see the colors better.  It was not going to go with the carpet that I had got out of the attic, so we rolled it up and put it back up there. 

We put some more of that window film on the frames of my windows.  I have double paned windows, but that dead air space makes a big insulating difference.

As I had to go to Conroe on Thursday for another eye check-up, we loaded the van with several boxes of things donate to the Women’s Center.  They were very grateful.

I have another cat.  Yes, Gracie the one whose house burned is still here, but I took in a sweet, loving, starving, hurt, homeless, neutered, black Manx.  I call him Manxie.  He had dog bite marks on his neck, an infected eye and he was so skinny.  He is so grateful for anything that I do for him.  But I have to keep him in another part of the house from Gracie until he has been checked out by the vet.  My SPCA boss has said that I can run him through the SPCA system, so his vet bills will be paid by them.  I am too old to adopt an animal, so he would be going through the SPCA eventually for a ‘furever’ home, but for now he is mine.

As the pastor’s wife was sick with a bad cold, I went to the church early to ramrod the potluck.  She sent some cooked sweet potatoes, pea salad and brisket, and I took a ground turkey shepherd’s pie, and some dinner rolls. Some brought other dishes, so I had to make sure everything was warmed up to a safe 165 deg., and put the salads out.

The Bible readings were Gen. 25:19-28:9, Mal. 1:1-2:7, and Rom. 9:1-31.  The Teaching was “Narrowness Rebuked”  about Mark 9:38-40. The weather was wet and dreary, and I went around with wet feet all day.


Sunday, December 2, 2018

Pity Me. What Must I Say or Do for God to Hear My Prayers? Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:

Pity Me!

“Self-pity is the first step in a downward spiral that leads to discouragement.  

A silhouette of a man sitting by a window.Andrik Langfield Petrides/Unsplash

Self-pity is a bad way of thinking because it robs us of the ability to get on with life.

Self-pity is a luxury that we cannot afford, and it is bad for our health. The simplest cure is to count what you have left. As children, we used to hum and sing the words to “Count Your Many Blessings.” The positive frame of mind that came when we assessed what we did have rather than focused on what we did not have was always uplifting.

It is good to write your assets down on a piece of paper and think about them from time to time. We train our brains through seeing, hearing and feeling. Writing, and maybe even talking to yourself as you write, will put you in a positive frame of mind. The old question that asks, “Is the glass of water half full or half empty?” reflects this thought. Half full is positive.

Our minds are wonderfully created—perhaps the most marvelous of all the creation—but we can develop good or bad habits of thinking. Self-pity is a bad way of thinking because it robs us of the ability to get on with life. We may wallow in a sea of storms and waves in our lives and never see the sunshine and calm waters that will come.

Calm, decisive, successful action depends on clear thinking. Good thinking is not clouded with doubts and fears. One of the most powerful moments in which God reached into people’s lives was in Jesus’ first message to the masses (Matthew 5-7). He encouraged people to do something about their lives and not lose hope. He said they were the salt of the earth and were to let their lights shine so others may see. Jesus did not leave room for self-pity. He encouraged us to put all our energy into living. Never feel sorry for yourself.”      From : https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/this-is-the-way/pity-me

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What Must I Say or Do for God to Hear My Prayers?

“There is no prayer our Creator is unable to hear; He is all-knowing and all-seeing. God also has all power over all things, so He is not limited in what He can do in response. Our actions and attitudes can influence God's decision in granting our requests in prayer, however.

A woman with head bowed in prayer.Ezra Jeffrey/Unsplash

We should pray completely convinced and confident that God hears our prayer and is fully capable of answering our every request.

God has the ability to hear all prayers but obviously does not grant all requests made in prayer. What if two people entered into a contest and both prayed for victory—they both can’t be given what they want. So God must decide when to act and when not to act.

Let’s ask the question a slightly different way

Is there anything I can do, or must do to get God to grant my requests? For Him to rescue or assist me in times of distress, or get Him to use His awesome power to help me accomplish my goals?

We are instructed to pray constantly, to keep hanging in there, and to expect an answer.

There is no set formula for prayer that would obligate God to grant a request. If that were true then God would be more like a magic genie in a lamp. We cannot control or manipulate God through any words, actions or rituals. He chooses to answer, or not, as He pleases. We are specifically told not to pray like this. (Matthew 6:7-8).

How do our actions and attitudes influence God’s decision to grant a request made through prayer?

On the negative side, indifference or disobedience to His commands, violence, dishonesty, pride, and injustice create a separation between us and our Creator. God does not give attention to the prayers of people who act and think like that. He may act in mercy towards them to get their attention and lead them towards meaningful change, but He acts as He pleases (Isaiah 59:1-2).

On the positive side, taking His commands seriously and trying to live by them, seeking peace, and having honesty, humility, personal integrity, generosity and fairness—these please our Creator and draw us closer to Him. God will give careful attention to the prayers and requests of such people. He will consider our requests and choose to act, or not act, according to what is good for us. (1 Peter 3:12).

Our Father knows what is best for us

The good that God desires for us is to learn to think and act like Jesus Christ and receive the gift of everlasting life. The path to that good involves suffering and perseverance, just as it did for Jesus Christ.

Consider how Jesus prayed the night before His execution. He prayed that God the Father not require Him to endure the painful suffering and death that lay only hours ahead of Him. The request was not granted. Jesus’ long session of prayer that last night ended with His submission to the will of the Father (Matthew26:39-44). Jesus’ suffering was the only path to the greater goal: God’s desire that many children receive eternal life.

In the same manner, our sessions of prayer and our requests are often the way in which we get our thoughts, attitudes and goals in sync with the thoughts, attitudes and priorities of our Creator.

How to pray

We might pray for release from pain, sickness or suffering, or we might pray for specific blessings, and our Father is happy to give us these good things. But if granting a certain request actually held us back from achieving our full potential as an eternal child of God, would it be good for us? We must have confidence that God knows the difference between the two and can make a better decision than we alone can.

We must not give up prayer thinking we are powerless to influence events. We are instructed to pray constantly, to keep hanging in there, and to expect an answer (1 John 5:14).

We should pray completely convinced and confident that God hears our prayer and is fully capable of answering our every request (Hebrews 11:6). We should also pray with a humble attitude, understanding that what we think is best for us may not be the way to achieve the greater goal our Creator has in mind for us: growing in spiritual completeness after the pattern of Jesus Christ, and to receive the gift of everlasting life.”          From: https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/bible-questions-and-answers/what-must-i-say-or-do-for-god-to-hear-my-prayers?source=btupdate

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Update.

I knew that freezing weather was on it’s way, so Zack, my neighbor helped me do a bit of extra insulating that I hadn’t done before.  I had acquired a box of that insulating window film that you put around the inside of the window and tighten with a hair dryer, and so I thought I would try it out. I knew that when I opened the blinds on the north side it always felt colder, so this might stop that.  It did, and it felt cosier in there. It is invisable and it looks great.  So we put it on all the northern windows in my house and the guest house.

Then on Wednesday, my daughter Wendy arrived ready to take me for my eye surgery in Conroe the next day.  The surgery went OK, I guess, just sounded like someone was scraping dried cement off my eye ball, but it didn’t hurt.  Then because I can’t drive for a while she took me to the eye clinic for my post-op exam on Friday.  That was in Spring, TX as their Conroe office isn’t open on Fridays.  They said everything looked good, but I don’t see any difference in my sight.  Wendy and I had a great visit and then she went on to her daughter’s house.

On Saturday, a friend who has a unit at the storage place next door, picked me up and took me there as they were having one of their twice a month yard sale days.  I helped him put a few flashy and colorful things out to attract attention, and he said that it was his best sales day ever. Several large items that he had wanted out of there for ages, were sold.  He packed up the sale at his unit early as he had had enough, and took me to the afternoon church meeting starting at 2.00 pm.  But then he got a phone call that someone wanted to pick up their purchases so he left me at the church, tended to that, and picked me up later. 

The Teaching, Sermon, Message, call it what you will, was about “Faith vs. Work”.  And do James 2:14-17 and Romans 4:1-8 contradict each other? The conclusion was NO!  True faith and works are the same thing, as you can’t have one without the other, as faith produces good works. Faith without good works is dead.  I hadn’t been to that church for about 6 weeks, so it was great to see everybody.  Therefore,  I had an enjoyable and busy day.