Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving: More than Turkey and Football !


Happy Day to Y'all !








National Day of Mourning

The plaque reads, in part:  "To [Native Americans], Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the relentless assault on their culture.  Participants in national Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today...It is a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience.  Erected by the Town of Plymouth on behalf of the United American Indians of New England."


Funny Thanksgiving Joke

"A man in Phoenix calls his son in New York the day before Thanksgiving and says:
- “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.

- “Pop, what are you talking about?” the son screams.

- “We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,” the father says. “We’re sick of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her.”

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone:
- “Like heck they’re getting divorced,” she shouts, “I’ll take care of this,”

She calls Phoenix immediately, and screams at her father:
- “You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?” and hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife:
- “Okay,” he says, “they’re coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way.”"


GN Commentary: Thanksgiving: More than Turkey and Football! -

"Thanksgiving is about more than turkeys and football. It's a day dedicated to our Lord and Creator. As we approach the holiday this year, let's remember and acknowledge Him, and His role in our national blessings.

How sad to have forgotten the virtues enunciated by 16th president Abraham Lincoln, who in 1863 emphasized gratitude, humility, and reverence in his famous proclamation.

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”

That was over 150 years ago.  If it was true then that the people of this nation had forgotten God, is it not even more true now? And is it possible that Almighty God, the One who gave such bounty and blessing to the United States, is now in the process of removing that blessing?

If so, ought we not to rededicate ourselves and humbly acknowledge Him this Thanksgiving festival, and ask that in His mercy and kindness He would not withdraw those blessings from us?"

Please watch this 3 minute video:"


May you have a good, thankful and meaningful Thanksgiving Day.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

When Was Jesus Born? Part 2. Cause and Effect. Beyond Ruts. Update


For "Scripture Sunday": 

When Was Jesus Born? Part 2

"Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.

image The vast Roman Empire was a structured and expensive government, and this census was “organized to facilitate the collection of taxes” (NKJV Study Bible). In an agrarian society, both tithes and taxes were collected shortly after the fall harvest when the farmer would have sold his crop. Collecting taxes in the winter or any other time is not very effective.

Also, since such a census required people like Joseph to travel back to their ancestral home, it is unlikely the census would have been conducted in the winter time when travel was difficult. This is but one more hint in the text that Jesus Christ’s birth did not occur on Dec. 25. Though the Bible does not give an exact date for His birth, it seems clear that it could not have been in the winter.

For more about why Jesus Christ’s birth could not have been Dec. 25 and how it came to be celebrated that day, see our article “Christmas: Should Christians Celebrate It?”" by Mike Bennett


Cause and Effect in Prophecy

"Deuteronomy 28:1, 15

“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. …

“But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you. …”

Bible prophecy, and the Bible as a whole, teaches us the principle of cause and effect. Obeying God’s good and beneficial laws ultimately leads to wonderful blessings. Disobeying—sinning—ultimately leads to the horrible curses described in Deuteronomy 28.

This is a sure and certain principle—there are predictable consequences to our actions, physically and spiritually.

So why does humanity so easily forget this inevitable truth? Because under the sway of Satan, we have learned to postpone some of the bad consequences, and Satan has used his enormous powers of deception to make the bad look good and the good, bad. He tricks us into thinking there are shortcuts—that we can escape the consequences.

But God wants us to take the long view—to see through the deception to the ultimate reality. He gives us His laws and Bible prophecy so we can see what will cause suffering and what will cause real joy and happiness. Choose life!

For more about the purposes of Bible prophecy, see “Purpose of Prophecy.”"


Beyond Ruts

An Amazing Fact: The distance between train-track rails, better known as the U.S. railroad gauge, is an odd 4 feet, 8.5 inches. Why? Because that’s the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built the U.S. railroads.

But why did the English build them that size? Well, the first rail lines were built by those who built horse-drawn tramways, and they simply used the same gauge. And they used that gauge because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools used for building wagons—which use that wheel spacing.

But why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing? If they tried to use any other spacing, the wagons wheels would break because they did not fit in the old road ruts. So who built these old rutted roads? The first long-distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. And the ruts? They were first made for Roman war chariots—and they used the 4 feet, 8.5 inches measurement. They were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

But why that width? They were made to be just wide enough to accommodate the back-ends of two warhorses. Alas, the influence of old ruts tends to live on forever. The writer of Hebrews warns us about the perils of not moving forward in our Christian lives. “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection” (Hebrews 6:1). The word “perfection” can mean “fullness” or “maturity.”

As we choose to walk with Jesus every day, we will grow and develop. We will not follow old paths without making sure we know and understand those ways. Practicing a tradition might seem right, but if it does not square with the Bible, we might be doing something only because “that’s the way we’ve always done it before.” That’s how train track rails were once laid. So ask yourself, “Am I going down the right track?”
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 2 Peter 1:5"



Well, it's back to just Jay and me working on the guest house.  Mostly we have been concentrating on digging and sinking barriers to keep the rain from getting under one end of the guest house.   The water could not dry out very quickly as the Property Owners Assoc. haven't been cutting their hedge and that might have contributed to the floor rotting.  The guest house is on the corner, so the hedge is theirs.  Since they let that hedge grow as tall as the house there has been no sun to dry anything out. 

We bought 12 ft' long Hardie planks (cement boards), which just fit in my van, dug trenches right outside my fence, then also right up against the house and inserted the Hardie planks, on edge, for barriers.  Some places we installed 8" wide and others 12" wide.  To test if we were getting anywhere we put little scraps of used sheetrock under that side of the house in different places to see if they would get damp.  That's one advantage of not having screwed the new floor down yet, we can see what is going on under it.  We had a real gulley-whomper that even flooded the road below me, but our first completed section didn't show any signs of damp.  More thunderstorms are expected later this week, so we hope to get it all done before then, so we can test it.  When we are satisfied, we will put down the sub barrier and screw down the floor.

Jay went to church with me.  Then as we were giving a ride to another lady we had to re-install one more seat in my van.  Usually we only have the two front seats so that we can carry plywood and sheetrock.  Jeff, our guitarist was away on a filming job, so there were tapes for the music.  We were having  Thanksgiving dinner for the potluck.  

imageUsually there is cornbread stuffing, but I don't eat corn of any kind because most of it is genetically modified with Round-Up and sprayed with other chemicals.  There are others in the congregation who I knew wouldn't eat it either. and  So I made some stuffing for the very first time, but with Ezekiel Sesame Bread, (no flour, made from sprouted seeds and grains) and homemade chicken bone broth, onion, celery, raisins, etc).  Everyone said that it was good.  I also made a custard with some Mexican cinnamon cookies embedded in it.  I was given the carcass of the organic turkey to make bone broth.

The Bible readings were Psalms 92 and 100, Gen. 28:10-32:3, Hos. 12:13-14:9, and John 1:43-51.  The teaching was about The Image of God.

It was cold with a chilly wind, so I was glad that I had taken an extra sweater to wear and a jacket to loan out to another cold soul.  There weren't very many there, but we all had a happy, joyful and blessed time, fellowship and a great day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fulfilled Prophecy: Jesus Born in Bethlehem. When Was Jesus Born? Part 1. Jesus’ Jewish Heritage. Update.


Belated, but for "Scripture Sunday." 

Fulfilled Prophecy: Jesus Born in Bethlehem.

Matthew 2:4-6

image "And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’”

The New Testament records dozens of Old Testament passages that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. (The Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary, Volume 1, lists more than 100 such Old Testament passages on pages 1037-1040.) Matthew includes four quotes about Christ’s birth and young life, including this one.

Jealous and paranoid, King Herod was greatly disturbed when the wise men asked, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him” (Matthew 2:2).

Herod realized that they were talking about the coming of the Messiah (Christ in Greek), and he asked the religious leaders what the Bible prophesied about the coming of the Messiah. They accurately pinpointed the prophecy about Bethlehem in Micah 5:2  "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past."

(Ephrathah, or Ephrath, is the ancient name for the town of Bethlehem, in Judah, in the southern part of the land of Israel.)

Though Herod was willing to turn to Scripture to try to find the One he felt threatened by, he was not willing to recognize God’s power and authority. In fact he tried to thwart God’s plan, first through deceit, then through a terrible act of mass murder, killing all the male children from age 2 and under in the area of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16). This was prophesied in Jeremiah 31:15 and depicted in Revelation 12:4 where Satan, the dragon, was ready “to devour her Child as soon as it was born.” But Christ was protected from this onslaught, as we will see.

You can find more background about these events in the article “The Birth of Jesus.”"


When Was Jesus Born? Part 1

Luke 1:5

"There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

The Bible does not tell us exactly when Jesus Christ was born. The closest hint, found in this verse, seems to point to Christ’s birth in the fall of the year.

What’s the connection? Verse 36 shows that Jesus Christ was born about six months after John the Baptist was born. And John the Baptist would have been conceived nine months earlier (15 months before Christ’s birth), shortly after his father Zacharias had received a message from an angel while serving at the temple.

When did Zacharias serve at the temple? One source says he probably served one-week stints around mid-May and mid-November. (E.W. Bullinger uses the dates June 13-19.) King David had divided the priests into 24 courses, of which the division of Abijah was the eighth (1 Chronicles 24:10). These divisions each served a week at a time, so that each division served two weeks at the temple each year according to the sacred calendar, in addition to the festivals.

A number of commentators lean toward a May or June date for Zacharias’ meeting with Gabriel. Adding 15 months to that would put Jesus Christ’s birth in perhaps August or September. (If Zacharias met Gabriel around November or December, Christ’s birth would have been in perhaps February or March.)

Either way would not support a Dec. 25 birth date.

For more about why Jesus Christ’s birth could not have been Dec. 25 and how it came to be celebrated that day, see our article “Christmas: Should Christians Celebrate It?”"


Jesus’ Jewish Heritage

Matthew 1:17

"So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.

The genealogies of Matthew 1 and Luke 3 give context to the life of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who also was the descendant of Abraham and David. Both David and Jesus were of the tribe of Judah (verse 3), the tribe promised the scepter—the symbol of rulership (Genesis 49:10). As Jesus said, He was born to be a King, and He will rule all nations in the Kingdom of God (John 18:37; Revelation 11:15).

Jesus was ethnically a Jew and grew up with a Jewish heritage. The genealogies help to link the Old and New Testaments into the unified whole that God intended. Though Jesus argued against many human traditions that had grown up around the religion of the Bible, He always showed respect for the inspired writings of what we now call the Old Testament and the laws revealed in it. This only makes sense when you consider that Christ was the “spiritual Rock” that followed and worked with ancient Israel (1 Corinthians 10:4).

For more about the inspiration and unity of the Bible, see “Who Wrote the Bible?” and “What Is the Bible?



After a lot of looking and phone calls, the linoleum for the new kitchen and bathroom in the guest house is finally bought.  As there would be sheetrock chunks, loose screws and stuff on the floor while we are changing out the windows, we decided to do that before we installed it.  It is a white lino with a faint grey marble look to it.  OK, so it might get dirty, but I didn't want brown.  I am used to having a light colored lino here, and it always looks clean, even if it is dirty.  Anyway, I would rather see the dirt so I can clean it, than worry about looking at a brown floor and wondering if it is dirty.  I don't clean house on any set schedule, so dirt gets cleaned when it shows !

Worker David came back and worked a couple of mornings, so he got the old tall window out of what will be the new kitchen, and the new wide window in it's place.  He even fixed the sheetrock inside, but I got a'thinkin', and realized he hadn't put any insulation in the top and bottom where the old window had been, so I unscrewed the new sheetrock and put it in myself.  The new kitchen and bathroom will both have a few modifications and additions to the wiring, so there is no sense in taping, floating or painting yet.

Jay has been hung over, but still came to work.  We got the new wide bathroom window installed where there hadn't been one before.  It goes across the outside wall fairly high up. We have also taken out the side window in the new kitchen because it is just in the way of the plans. A smaller window will be put in on that side, only closer to the front.  Then there will be room for a stove, kind of an important asset !  It should be a good view from the kitchen with these two new windows.

Jay didn't go to church with me, so I had to load the crock-pots full of chicken gumbo and brown rice by myself.  The Bible readings were Gen. 23:1-25:18, 1 Kings 1:1-31, Luke 9:57-62.  The Teaching was about Looking Further and Deeper, about studying and getting deep into the Word.

The potluck was great and everyone enjoyed the beef roast, other dishes, and pies. It seems to fall upon me to make the garlic bread when I get there.  All my chicken gumbo was eaten.  Just a little brown rice and veggies were left in my second crock pot, so I had that with some ground buffalo the next day.