Monday, June 20, 2016

How To Make Time For The Kids. Healthy Habits. Trip To Palestine!

 

For “Scripture Sunday”, late agaain, as it is Monday.

How to Make Time for Them

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“It's a fact: The less time children and parents spend together and the fewer thoughts and activities they share, the more powerful the entertainment media, peer groups and other influences will be in shaping the thoughts and lives of our children.

Whether or not a child will adopt the parents' values depends upon the establishment of a close relationship with the parent and a continuing and positive parental presence throughout childhood,”; says Dr. Isabelle Fox, author of Being There: The Benefits of a Stay-at-Home Parent.

Your children need to know you value them and that your time with them is for you a top priority.

“You make kids feel valued by spending regular time with them,”; Dr. Fox says. “When your kids feel valued, they'll identify with you and want to please you. They're not going to learn from someone they don't have a relationship with.”;

Of course, with busy and sometimes conflicting schedules of family members, time together is not always easy to come by. One way to ensure that you and your children spend time together is to block out time on your daily and weekly calendars to be with them, just as you would schedule a meeting with an important client. Some families set aside a regular time each week for family get-togethers. One father told me: “We keep Sunday afternoons free for family outings, day trips, hiking, going to movies, a dinner out and the like. It helps us stay bonded together.”;

You might want to designate one evening a week as family night. Explain to your children that this is a time for family activities and conversation. Plan to feature something interesting each week. It might be miniature golf or a baseball game; other times it might be an evening at home with games and popcorn.

Carefully evaluate your family activities. Simply wandering around a shopping mall as a form of family entertainment on weekends can leave everyone feeling unsatisfied and put the emphasis on wrong values. Instead of the mall, substitute active, family-centered activities such as a trip to a museum, a walk in the woods or a visit to a park or arboretum.

Family time can also mean getting work done together. Rather than dividing up household chores, let everyone help cook dinner, clean up the kitchen or do yard work, laundry and maintenance projects around the house. Not only will your children get to spend time with you, but they will learn to do new things and observe their parents working.”  From: http://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/how-to-make-time-for-them

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4 Healthy Habits to Start Right Now

We often intend to start good habits—just not today. So these habits generally never begin. Here are four habits to start now. Not next week or next year. Today!

4 Healthy Habits to Start Right NowI know I need to, but ….”

How often have we used this excuse to describe our relationship with healthy habits? The answer is, too often. It seems like every time we read some article that has scientific backing for a healthy habit, we get inspired to say something like, “Starting Monday, I’m going to ….” Then Monday comes and goes, and we just feel guilty instead of successful.

Motivation is the key to everything. Here are four biblical habits that we need to motivate ourselves to do regularly. The biblical support for each of these healthy habits, as well as some perspectives and hints, should be the proverbial kick in the pants that we all need sometimes.

1. Pray every day for at least as long as a Netflix cartoon episode.

The apostle Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ). The rationale behind this healthy habit is putting a priority on prayer: Isn’t talking to God more important than the time it takes to watch a 20-30 minute cartoon or sitcom on Netflix, play a video game or scroll through Facebook?

Strategy: Make prayer a priority by doing it immediately when you wake up in the morning. King David set an example of regular prayer three times a day: “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray” (Psalm 55:17 ). Even if our prayers at different times of the day are not of equal length, we should make sure at least one of those intervals allows deeper quality time with God. For more ideas and help, read “Plotting Your Prayer Life.”  You can have healthy habits that will positively affect your daily life. Ask God for help to implement these daily habits.

2. Study the Bible every day for at least as long as you check your Facebook feeds.

Remember: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Again, it all comes back to priorities: Isn’t studying the actual Word of God more important than that same amount of time writing a rant on Facebook, checking news websites several times a day or obsessing over work emails? Are we letting other messages obstruct us from God’s message to us?

Strategies: Just like prayer, we have to build Bible study into our daily routines. We could set a phone alarm alerting us to turn the screens off and open the Bible up. We could start studying the Bible during lunchtime. There are options available that give us easy access to the Bible anywhere: online Bibles, audio Bibles, podcasts, Bible apps or the old-fashioned ink-and-paper kind.

We publish many resources to help you study the Bible. Please browse our articles on “Bible Study.”

3. Eat a reasonable diet of beneficial foods, and exercise regularly.

The apostle Paul spoke of the physical body and mind this way: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are” (1 Corinthians 3:16-18).

This habit has a lot to do with perception: Does treating my body like God’s temple include regularly overindulging in harmful foods and lazily avoiding the movement the body was designed for?

Let’s think about how to apply this. Is trying to eat greater amounts of vegetables than processed sugars an unimaginable thought? Is trying to achieve at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise (anything from a brisk walk to mowing the lawn) an impossible task?

Strategies: Eat a vegetable every day. For exercise, set a cumulative countdown of 150 minutes on a stop watch app at the beginning of the week and regularly dedicate time to achieving that goal. There are many health apps you can download on your phone to track exercise and even give you notifications and reminders.

For further insight on health, read “Healthy Diet.”

4. Sleep!

King David said, “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).

Human beings need sleep. Does getting sufficient sleep every night mean that I can’t enjoy my mornings or evenings? Of course not!

Isn’t trying to get between seven to eight hours of sleep a night more important than that extra Netflix episode or that novel that we can’t put down (or other time wasters)? Our bodies rebel in different, unwanted ways when we don’t get enough sleep. When we are tired, we will be less productive at work and less motivated to pray and study.

Strategies: On work or school nights, try to go to bed seven to eight hours before you have to get up. People often want to make up sleep time in the morning, but we are more productive when we get that sleep time during the night. Read “Replace Oversleeping With Motivation” for further insight into healthy sleep habits.

You can do this

You can have healthy habits that will positively affect your daily life. Ask God for help to implement these daily habits. He gives us the strength to build proper habits ( Philippians 4:13 ).

Why not get started today?”

For further insight into healthy habits we need in our lives today, read “Health Science and the Bible.”

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3 Obstacles to Your Healthy Habits

“In the last post, we discussed specific habits we need to build in our lives. But there will always be obstacles to maintaining good habits. So what can we do?

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When we build the habits of prayer and Bible study, we feel a stronger connection to our Creator. No amount of miraculous experiences or spiritual “feel-good” moments can take the place of that consistent link with God.

When we care for our bodies through good health habits, we get a sense of accomplishment and happiness in our lives. We just plain feel better.

Sounds wonderful, right? Except for the pesky fact that an army of obstacles will try to get us to compromise and abandon these healthy habits. So what do we do? We fight. We fight for our spiritual, physical and mental health.

Imagine these obstacles personified and calling your name.

1. The time-wasting obstacle: “Come waste time with me!”
  • I’m your Facebook feed that you just have to check. Once I have you looking at me, I can keep you occupied for at least 20 minutes (maybe more!). The newsfeed never ends, and I make it too irresistible to look away. Funny memes, interesting videos and other people’s lives look deceptively better than yours. How can you resist me?
  • I’m all the movies, TV shows, novels, sports, 24-hour news, political debates and screen time that give you a break from reality. I have endless hours of entertainment, intrigue, drama and other people’s reality. How can you resist me?

How can you face this obstacle? Do better than most adults in the United States by watching less than the average four hours of television a night. Redeem the time instead (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5). In that four hours you could do at least a half hour of Bible study, a half hour of prayer, a half hour of exercise and a half hour of preparing healthy food. And you would still have almost two hours of entertainment, social media and relaxation left over.

You can do this!

2. The necessary obligations obstacle: “I’m more necessary and urgent than God and your health!”
  • I’m your job that takes up most of your time during the week. You need me to support your family, so you feel obligated to put me ahead of almost everything else. I try to get you to avoid making time for God and instead whisper, “I’m your job. You can’t neglect me, so spend even more time with me. This is just the way it is.”
  • I’m your house that always has something needing to be fixed. You need to spend hours on me in order to provide a nice shelter for your family. I try to make you put your most expensive possession ahead of God and your health. After all, you can’t just let your house fall apart!  

How can you face this obstacle? Hard work is an important virtue, so we can’t just stop working (Proverbs 27:23). But we have to remember that our relationship with God is even more important (Deuteronomy 6:5). If our overall busyness in doing the necessary things in life is keeping us from the more necessary things—spiritual and physical health—then we need to reevaluate and reprioritize our time.

3. The difficulty obstacle: “Change is too hard, so don’t do it!”
  • I’m the old habits in your life. I come back to haunt you as much as I possibly can. After a week of great eating, I’m that large milkshake that calls out to you! After sleeping so well, I’m that weekend Netflix binge that tempts you to stay up past midnight. After exercising diligently, I’m the two-week couch potato marathon. After studying the Bible and praying every day, I’m the “urgent” situations that challenge your priorities.
  • I’m the doubt in your mind that you can change. I’m the temptation to just give in and not care.

How can you face this obstacle? Changing will never be easy (Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:8-9), but it is something God does and will always expect humans to do—for our own good. So we should get used to it and do it!

For further insight into defeating these obstacles, read “6 Steps to Overcoming Bad Habits.”  From: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/change/blog/3-obstacles-to-your-healthy-habits/

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Update:

Gradually getting a bit more work done on the guest house.  Roy has been putting in switches for ceiling lights that were moved, such as in the closet, overhead bathroom light and exhaust fan, and the light above where the new vanity will be. 

On Friday, 10th, after working on the guest house, I cooked the Saturday pot-luck and the Sunday Pentecost meal as both were Sabbaths and we are not supposed to cook on the Sabbath.

On Saturday, the 11th, the Bible readings were Num. 8:1-12:16, Zech. 2:14-4:7 and John 19:31-37 and the Teaching was about Pentecost.  I took a buttered crumb sweet potato casserole, and a dessert made with canned pumpkin in a cherry jello with chocolate chips.  One of the elders brought lamb in a big crockpot that was tender and delicious.  They had the left overs that night after their Pentecost service. 

As we share the church with a Sunday Baptist church, we couldn’t use the chapel for Pentecost on the right day, Sunday the 12th, so our church had it the evening before.  I don’t drive in the dark, so I went to the Penetecost Celebration on Sunday afternoon at The Church Of God, in Huntsville, TX.  It was so good to see some old friends again, but farther than I like to drive on a hot Texas summer afternoon.  The Teaching was “Christ Live Within - We Win.”  I took the big electric chef’s pot that I had prepared on the Friday, of parsleyed cabbage, ground grass-fed beef, onion, sliced new potatoes and carrots, which was very well received and eaten up.

DSCF1174Then on Tuesday, I made a trip to Palestine,…… Texas, that is!  I had the van serviced for the trip, and a neighbor foster-mom came and fed my foster cats.  That’s the view from my daughter’s driveway, Lake Palestine is through those trees, and there is a boat ramp and fishing pier right across the road.

The central air conditioner at my daughter and son-in-law’s place on Lake Palestine wasn’t working.  They decided that as they are so seldom there, that they would just install some window AC’s.  My daughter’s SUV could not pick them up and take them there, because there would not be enough room with herself, one medium size dog, two grandsons, luggage and one enormous dog.  So I picked up the ACs at Lowe’s in Conroe, and delivered them to Lake Palestine in my van. It was a long drive on country roads, but we all had a good time there.  I also took some home-cooked organic food, and they were all surprised that they liked it.  I hadn’t seen these two of my great-grandsons for several years, so it was great to get to know them again.  Nice polite kids, and a joy to be around.  My daughter still had to work on the Wednesday, posting on her computer, but the second evening she took us out for dinner in Chandler, TX to a Mexican restaurant called San Pedros, and we all had delicious avocado, mushroom, onion enchiladas.  I stayed for two nights, Tuesday and Wednesday and then came home a different way, on a boring freeway.  But it is a long way for me to drive, 150 miles each way.

Thursday was spent unpacking the van.  Friday we worked on the guest house and I cooked food ready for the Sabbath,  Dirty Rice, made with beef, carrots, chopped bell peppers and onions.  I was surprised how popular it was, as I don’t care for rice myself.

On Saturday the 18th, the Bible readings were Deut. 6:4, Num. 16:1-19:32, 1 Sam. 11:14-12:22 and all of Jude.  The Teaching was ‘Keep Out of this World”, and what happens if we follow the wrong paths.

This time the elder brought chicken in an alfredo sauce and there were other great dishes, salads, desserts and company, so a great time was had by all.

It is now getting close to official summertime and you can tell it by the temperature rising each day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

72 Years After D-Day. Why should Christians celebrate the Feast of Pentecost? Update.

 

72 Years After D-Day, 6th. June 1944.

From Power to Impotence

“Seventy-two years ago, an American-led Allied invasion on the beaches of Normandy marked the beginning of the end of the grip of tyranny over Europe. In little more than a year, the United States would emerge as a superpower and world policeman. Contrast that to today, when that superpower is in retreat—its influence and power rapidly declining.

70 Years After D-Day: From Power to Impotence

In the early morning grayness of June 6, 1944, lookouts manning scores of German artillery emplacements above the Normandy beaches of northern France saw the unbelievable sight of nearly 6,000 Allied ships of all types and sizes steaming toward them. Shocked as they were, they knew what those thousands of ships meant: The long-expected Allied invasion of Adolf Hitler's fortress Europe had begun.

Did God play a hand in those events?

Virtually all of the men who stormed ashore that awful day 72 years ago are dead, but a small handful, men in their late 80s and 90s, will visit those Normandy beaches for perhaps the final time to commemorate that important victory.

Despite the enormous cost of more than 9,000 Allied soldiers killed and wounded on that day, D-Day was a success. But many do not realize that it could easily have been a disaster. As supreme commander of Allied forces that day, U.S. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower knew as well as Rommel that if the invasion could be stopped at the beaches, it might be fatal to the Allied cause.

Over the decades, many have wondered if God had a hand in that historic day.”

Complete article at: http://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/70-years-after-d-day-from-power-to-impotence

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Normandy American Cemetery France

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Christ’s Body.

Matthew 26:26

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

“The breaking of the unleavened bread at the New Testament Passover service is symbolic of Christ’s suffering in our place for our sins. It reminds us of our deserved punishment that fell on Jesus as His body was beaten and broken.

Eating the bread is also symbolic of our allowing Jesus Christ to live His life in us, and our need to live by every word of God (John 6:35; Galatians 2:20; Matthew 4:4). Just as physical food is essential to maintain physical life, living by the spiritual “bread” is essential for a healthy spiritual life.”

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Upcoming Holy Day

Pentecost   June 12, 2016
Pentecost serves as a reminder that God grants His Holy Spirit to the firstfruits of His spiritual harvest.

Why should Christians celebrate the Feast of Pentecost?

Jesus Christ chose the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot in Hebrew) or Pentecost to begin His Church. What is the meaning of Pentecost for Christians today?

A wheat field up close.Nitin Bhosale/Unsplash

Why should Christians celebrate the Feast of Pentecost?

The third of God’s annual festivals (after the Feast of Unleavened Bread) is the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:16-21; Acts 2:1). This festival, also called the Feast of Harvest or Firstfruits (Exodus 23:16; Exodus 34:22), was also the day God first granted His Spirit to the New Testament Church of God (Acts 2).

Pentecost portrays God as the Lord of His harvest, choosing and preparing the firstfruits of His coming Kingdom by giving them His Holy Spirit (Matthew 9:38; Luke 10:2; Romans 8:23; James 1:18). The preceding festival of Unleavened Bread pictures our commitment to come out of a sinful life and live our lives by God’s perfect laws. But we can’t do this on our own. Pentecost pictures God’s willingness to give His Holy Spirit to provide the power those He has called need.

God’s Holy Spirit empowers us with the love of God, the motivation to obey Him and a sound mind to discern His truth (2 Timothy 1:7; John 15:26; John 16:13). Only those who are led by God’s Spirit are called the sons of God (Romans 8:9, Romans 8:14). These Christians have a pledge or down payment on eternal life (2 Corinthians 5:5) and can look forward to the first resurrection, which is to eternal life in God’s family.

The Church of God, which began on Pentecost (Acts 2), is given the mission of preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God in preparation for the next step in God’s plan, the return of Jesus Christ. This is pictured by the next festival, the Feast of Trumpets.”

From: http://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/bible-questions-and-answers/why-should-christians-celebrate-the-feast-of-pentecost

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A longer article about Pentecost: http://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/gods-holy-day-plan-the-promise-of-hope-for-all-mankind/the-feast-of-1

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Update:

Yes, it has been pouring.  Sometimes there were real gulley-whompers, the kind that create mud holes where there never have been any before.  A friend from church brought a 2008 29’ Artic Fox fifth-wheel trailer here for me to sell for them, and the following day when he came to pick up some things his big dually truck got stuck in the driveway.  That’s how wet it was.  

Roy and I have worked most mornings, but it all depends on the weather what we do each day.  One non-rainy day, Roy’s friend dug a French drain on the side of the guest house, trying to make the water drain away from that area better.  We had another gushing rainfall, and water collected in front of the drain.  Today he came back to lower the perforated pipe in that French drain another 4”.  So hopefully it will drain all the way to the ditch now.

Roy and I finally got all the plywood cut and laid for the floor in the new bedroom (which used to be the bathroom and kitchen), in the guest house.  It is only temporarily screwed down, and we have to keep one place as an access to see if we have stopped all the rain water from running under the house.  When we are ready to screw it down permanently we intend to pick up all 4+ sheets of plywood, and put some Tyvek down as a moisture barrier before we screw it down again.

A light in the walk-in closet was moved to the ceiling now that the closet door is in a different place.  The light would have been in the way of a clothes pole.  We have to get this wiring down while the walls don’t have any sheet-rock on them.  Also another light was installed in a little alcove in the laundry room, which is going to be a half bath.  Just a toilet and sink.  That way if there is a workman around, they don’t have to use the bathroom inside the guest house.

Some days it was very humid so we installed the big 220v air conditioner/heater through the custom hole we framed up in the wall with the case very securely screwed on all sides.  Thieves like to push window air conditioners in to gain access, that is what happened to me. So now all my AC units are installed higher up and through the wall.  As there are a lot of trees on that side of the guest house we had to clean a lot of leaves out of the air conditioner, so we put screen wire over the vents with Gorilla tape.

In the new kitchen and bathroom the new sheet vinyl is installed (I call it lino), so we have started building the wall at the end of the tub.  This will be the faucet end, so we built an access panel in the wall behind it.

On Saturday, 28 May, many people in our congregation had to make big detours to avoid the flooded areas, so we started the service two hours late.  Those that had made it on time had a jolly time in the dining hall waiting for them.   Then the sun came out and we were glad that we were all safely there.  The Bible readings were Psa. 100 and 95, Numbers 1:1-4:20, Hos. 2:1-2:20 and Luke 2:1-7.  The Teaching was about Weaknesses and “Loving God Under Trials.” James 1:12.   12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

By Saturday, June 4th, there had still been more rain, but no one was inconvenienced by flooded roads, and arrived on time.  The Bible readings were Num. 4:21-7:89, Jud. 13:2-25 (about Samson), Acts 21:17-26. and the Teaching was about Prophecies again.  How it was foretold that Ninevah, Tyre, Sidon and Egypt would fall and that there would be no more pharoahs.  Pathros, a name for Upper Egypt. Ezekiel 30:14 I will make Pathros desolate, and will set a fire in Zoan, and will execute judgments on Thebes. All those prophecies which came true.

This clearing out the house so that I can sell it, seems endless.  On Monday, I took more items to the consignment shop, and donated several boxes of ‘stuff’, but the place doesn’t look any less cluttered, and probably will be like that for many a day.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Empire Day. Protect Your Children From Technology. “Exceedingly Wise" Ants. Update.

 

Victoria Day, the 24th of May

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

Queen Victoria: Born May 24, 1819

“Victoria Day as we know it today has been known under a number of different names. Our parents and grandparents perhaps best remember it as Empire Day.

With the death of Queen Victoria, who died on 22 January 1901, the nations of the British Commonwealth  including Newfoundland began to search for a way to best celebrate her contributions.

The first ‘Empire Day’ took place on 24th May 1902, Queen Victoria’s birthday. Newfoundland was among the first of the commonwealth nations to officially declare Empire Day an official holiday in 1903.

The holiday has given rise to the

“The 24th May is the Queen’s Birthday. If we don’t get a holiday we will all run away.”

Empire Day remained on the calendar for more than 50 years. In 1958 Empire Day was renamed as British Commonwealth Day, and still later in 1966 it became known asCommonwealth Day. The date of Commonwealth Day was also changed to 10th June, the official birthday of the present Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1957, Victoria Day was permanently appointed as the Queen’s birthday in Canada. In the United Kingdom, the Queen’s birthday is celebrated in June.

Archival Collection at The Rooms: What have we in the archives about Queen Victoria:  In the search bar  type Victoria: http://gencat1.eloquent-systems.com/webcat/request/DoMenuRequest?SystemName=The+Rooms+Public&UserName=wa+public&Password=&TemplateProcessID=6000_3355&bCachable=1&MenuName=The+Rooms+Archives

Victoria Day in Newfoundland and Labrador marks the beginning of the summer, it is time to open the cabins  and get the camping gear out!!”

From: http://archivalmoments.ca/2016/05/remember-remember-empire-day-the-24th-of-may/

Now known as Victoria Day in Canada.  Happy Victoria Day, to our friends across the border.

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Technology isn’t necessarily bad, but excessive screen time can produce a host of digital dangers. How can you guide your children toward safe and wise choices?image_thumb

10 Ways to Protect Your Children From Technology Traps

“Like it or not, today’s children are growing up in a digital and increasingly wireless world. Smartphones, laptops, tablet computers, e-book readers, MP3 players, video game consoles and other electronic devices have become an integral part of their lives—and ours. That’s in addition to “old technology,” such as television, which young and old alike still gravitate to.

And that’s not necessarily bad. The Internet, computer apps, interactive video games and TV programs can all be excellent sources of education and entertainment for children. Communications technology like Skype, webcams, email, Instagram and Facebook can actually augment relationships and help children stay connected to people who care about them—for instance, when grandparents or other relatives live far away.

In balance, technology is certainly useful. The problem is, many children today have strayed beyond a moderate use of electronic devices.

Digital dangers

A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that, on average, kids aged 8 to 18 spend practically every waking moment when they’re not in school engaged in entertainment media of some kind—a staggering 7½ hours a day. Somehow in the midst of all this, teens find time for texting. According to Nielsen statistics, teenagers send and receive around 3,700 texts a month, or around 125 each day.

To be fair, parents are often just as absorbed in technology as their children, which only makes matters worse.

“There’s not a lot of time for family members to talk with each other anymore because it’s consumed by all our entertainment devices,” observes Arizona psychologist Lisa Strohman, J.D., Ph.D., director of the Technology Wellness Center and author ofUnplug: Raising Kids in a Technology Addicted World (2015). “Even when family members are in the same room together, they’re often all on their own screens, so they’re not really ‘present’ for each other.””

Complete article at: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/relationships/parenting/technology-traps/

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Exceedingly Wise" Ants

“An Amazing Fact: Some ants live in super colonies that contain more than 300 million individuals.

Wisdom Verse:
“The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer.” —Proverbs 30:25.

Perhaps you have heard of the famous “parasol” or “leaf-cutter” ants that make gardens and raise their own crops! These amazing creatures are often seen walking in processions, each one holding a piece of green leaf above its head! These bits of green leaf are not for food, but are taken to their nests and made into a compost soil—for these ants are actually farmers. They deliberately sow, prune, fertilize, weed, harvest, and store a fungus crop as carefully as any gardener tends his vegetables.

 
Some ants living in Texas clear a “field” of one or two square yards and then plant rice. They lay out the rice in beds with pathways running among the plants, and they keep their rice fields carefully weeded. When the rice seeds ripen, the ants harvest them, remove the husks, and store the kernels for food. Later, the ants with very large jaws crack the seeds and crush the kernels into meal for the rest of the ants. If the rice gets damp and is in danger of spoiling, other ants have the sole responsibility of carrying the damp grain out into the sunshine for drying.


There are thousands of amazing scenarios to be found among the roughly 10,000 species of ants on earth, and probably many thousands of lessons to be learned from this tiny creature. In fact, the Bible calls the lowly ant, which typically prepares in advance for the colder months, “exceedingly wise.”

 
It’s important for us to store the bread of life in our minds and be prepared in advance when it comes to our relationship with God. As a Christian, you always need to “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV). And we should be “sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21).

 
Most important, we need to be prepared to meet the Lord when He returns. In Jesus’ story of the wise and foolish virgins, only five of them carried extra oil along with them and were ready to meet the bridegroom when He arrived at an unexpected hour. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2, 3). The Lord has prepared to receive us into His awesome presence. Are we prepared to go home with Him?
Father in heaven, give me the oil of your Holy Spirit and make me wise. Help me be prepared to meet my Savior at His soon return.”

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Update:

The new worker, Roy, and I have been working on the guest house floor again.  We found out that the far north wall also needed repair as the bottom plate was damaged.   Jay has been too messed up to work, and didn’t go to church with me either.  His mother is getting very exasperated.

We had the Property Owner’s meeting on Saturday, and I had intended to go to the afternoon service at another church, but made it to the morning church by the second hymn.  That was a good thing as the pastor’s wife was at a hospital with a sick relative, so my help was needed with the potluck in the dining hall kitchen.  I had made a very large pot of food for the potluck (fresh tomatoes in an Italian sauce, ground turkey and whole-wheat pasta), thinking that I was going to the larger church, but it was well received by our little congregation, and I had left-overs for a hungry neighbor.

The Bible readings were Lev. 26:3-27:34, Jer. 16:19-17:13 and John 14:15-21.  Pastor Bobbie gave the Teaching on “The Bible, Our Instruction Book.”  It is our “how-to” book and tells how to raise your kids, treat your spouse and anything else that you need to know.

A dog that looked like the Lost Dog that we have been searching for was on the Petharbor.com website so Roni and I drove the 45 mile round trip to the County Pound, but it wasn’t him.  A disappointing but still a beautiful day.