Monday, September 18, 2017

The Feast of Trumpets: Alarm of War, Announcement of Peace. The Feast of Trumpets, A Turning Point in History. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:  The Feast of Trumpets is celebrated all over the world this week: 

Rosh Hashanah 2017:  Rosh Hashanah, The Feast of Trumpets begins at sunset Wednesday, September 20, 2017 and ends at nightfall Friday, September 22, 2017.

The Feast of Trumpets: Alarm of War, Announcement of Peace.

“Trumpets are used as signals of important events, and the Bible describes earthshaking end-time events that are pictured by the Feast of Trumpets.

Feast of Trumpets

The first three festivals, Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost, reenact events that have already taken place and are ongoing in the lives of Christians. The last four festivals listed in Leviticus 23 preview dramatic future events in God’s plan of salvation. All four festivals occur during the fall harvest season in the Holy Land.

The fall festivals begin with the Feast of Trumpets. Trumpets are used as signals of important events, and the Bible describes earthshaking end-time events that are pictured by this festival.

Trumpet plagues

The book of Revelation lists seven terrible plagues announced by seven trumpets (Revelation 8-11). These plagues will come in the times just ahead of us because of humanity’s sins. Consider the sixth trumpet and its announcement of a 200-million-man army preparing for a battle that will kill a third of humanity (Revelation 9:16-18). In spite of these punishments, human leaders and their subjects will continue to pursue selfish and ungodly goals and sins (Revelation 9:20-21).

Thankfully, the seventh trumpet also heralds good news: “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” (Revelation 11:15).

Finally Jesus Christ will intervene in world affairs to stop humanity from self-destruction (Matthew 24:21-22). He will then begin to establish His long-promised utopian Kingdom of God.

The first resurrection to eternal life

At Jesus Christ’s return another incredible event will occur. The apostle Paul announced it this way:

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). Paul also made clear that this would occur when Jesus Christ was returning (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

The Feast of Trumpets focuses on these pivotal events that signal the end of human rule and the establishment of God’s wonderful Kingdom on earth.

Zechariah 14 and Revelation 19 recount the final battle when the evil end-time “beast” and other world leaders try to fight the returning Christ. They will prove no match to our all-powerful Messiah, and the stage will be set for the fifth step in God’s plan, pictured by the Day of Atonement.”

From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/plan-of-salvation/feast-of-trumpets/

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The Feast of Trumpets, A Turning Point in History.

“The Feast of Trumpets depicts the return of Jesus Christ to earth to establish the Kingdom of God.

A person blowing a shofar.God instructed ancient Israel in the appropriate use of trumpets—a hollow animal horn, known as a shofar, and metal instruments—to communicate important messages.

The Feast of Trumpets introduces the autumn festivals—representing the culmination of the present age of man and the beginning of an incredible time during which God will play a much more direct part in world events. Indeed, this festival, a Holy Day, signals the intervention of God in the affairs of humanity on a global basis. The Feast of Trumpets thus represents a dramatic turning point in mankind’s history.

This particular festival also marks the beginning of the third and final feast season (Exodus 23:14; Deuteronomy 16:16), which includes the final four Holy Days of the year.

The return of Jesus Christ!

The Feast of Trumpets depicts nothing less than the return of Jesus Christ to the earth to establish the Kingdom of God! The book of Revelation reveals a sequence of earth-shaking events heralded by angels sounding a series of seven trumpet blasts. The seventh angel’s sounding of the last trumpet signifies that “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” (Revelation 11:15, English Standard Version). The Bible foretells that at this time Jesus Christ will at last return to the earth. Of all the prophecies in the Bible, this one surely heralds the most exciting news possible for this weary, sin-filled world!

The Feast of Trumpets also marks the future fulfillment of the many Old Testament prophecies that speak of a Messiah coming as a king of the line of David who will sit on the throne of Israel and rule with power and authority over all nations. The concept of a conquering Messiah was on the minds of the apostles immediately after Jesus’ resurrection. When He appeared to them just before returning to heaven, they asked Him, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).

Even in His earthly ministry, Jesus had spoken of distinctions between His first and second comings. When Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, questioned Him before the crucifixion, Jesus stated clearly that He had not come to rule at that time. “My kingdom is not of this world,” Jesus told the governor. “If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” So Pilate asked Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus responded that He was: “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth” (John 18:36-37).

After Christ’s resurrection, the apostles excitedly anticipated the fulfillment of Jesus’ promises. They were aware of messianic prophecies such as Isaiah’s that describe a time when “the government will be upon His shoulder” and “of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

In answer to the apostles’ question as to whether He would then establish the Kingdom, Jesus told them it was not for them to know the “times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority” (Acts 1:7). Instead, Christ told them to focus on spreading the gospel—the good news—throughout the world. Later, in due time, the apostles realized that His second coming was not necessarily imminent. Numerous scriptures describe the saints as eagerly looking forward to His return.

Why the symbolism of trumpets?

The excitement of this Holy Day, picturing these monumental events, is captured in the symbolism of this festival. Ancient Israel celebrated it with “a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts” (Leviticus 23:24, NIV).

What is the significance of the dramatic sounds accompanying the observance of this day? To help us understand the symbolism of trumpets, let’s consider the use of that musical instrument in the Bible.

God instructed ancient Israel in the appropriate use of trumpets—in that day, a hollow animal horn, known as a shofar, and metal instruments—to communicate important messages. The sounding of one silver trumpet meant a meeting of the leaders of Israel. Two sounded to call a gathering of all of the people (Numbers 10:3-4). God also used a shofar to herald His meeting with Israel when He descended upon Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:16).

Trumpets could also sound a warning. Numbers 10:9 states, “When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets.” In this case the trumpets sounded a warning of impending danger and imminent warfare.

Trumpets could also furnish a festive sound: “Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets . . . and they shall be a memorial for you before your God” (Numbers 10:10).

With their ability to transmit sound over great distances, trumpets were in ancient times excellent instruments for attracting people’s attention. In connection with this feast day, Psalms 81:3 exhorts, “Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon … on our solemn feast day.” 

Complete article at: https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/gods-holy-day-plan-the-promise-of-hope-for-all-mankind/the-feast-of-0

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Update:

I have been busy all week, but it doesn’t really show.  Just catching up on things around the house, and answering the ad that I put in the local website for some part-time help.  Jay got drunk and was nasty to me on the phone after I had caught him taking things that didn’t belong to him, so when he called again, all nice, asking if he could come back to work, I said “You’ve got to be kidding!!”. 

The four kittens left on Wednesday evening to go to Chris’ so that she could take them to the vet early on Thusday for their neutering surgeries.  She took care of them on Thursday night and Friday then took them to our SPCA Cat Habitat inside Petco on Saturday.  They will be there for about 4 weeks.  They should show well and there should be some adoption applications for them soon.  Also on Thursday she brought me a tortoiseshell cat called Flower to stay with me.  Flower and her folks were in the flood so I am taking care of her until they get their home back in order.  So now I have two ‘torties’ here and they look very much alike except for their body size.  My foster cat, Puddin is fatter.  Flower and Puddin just avoid each other, but at least they aren’t fighting.

So on Thurday morning I cleaned up my grooming room and cleaned the cages where I had kept the four kittens.  I have the cages up at table height as I can’t go grovelling on the floor to tend to cats in cages.  But the cages needed to be got down to clean underneath them, and I just can’t do it by myself.  Also I have a lot of stuff here that I need to get down to take pictures to sell it.  That’s when I knew that I have to have some part time help.  But even though the pay has not been discussed, people just don’t show up.

My van is back, but with the price of mechanics these days, it might as well have gone in for gold-plating, so I was able to drive myself to church.  I took a crockpot of organic chicken and veggies, and another smaller one with steamed, buttered new potatoes, and some more hydroponic butter lettuce.

The Bible readings were Deut. 7:12-11:25, Isa. 49:14-51:3, Heb. 11:8-12 and Rom. 8:31-39.  The teaching was about ‘Spiritual Warfare’, and also how we need each other’s fellowship to keep us on the right path.

Our church is going to celebrate the two day Feast of Trumpets on Friday, and then we will have another Sabbath the next day.  So we are going to take enough food for two days.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Should You Keep the Festivals Jesus Observed? The Feast of Trumpets. God Calling!

For “Scripture Sunday”:  

The Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, will be observed the third week of September.

Should You Keep the Festivals Jesus Observed?

“Jesus observed the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles and the other festivals that God gave to Israel. Should you follow His example? Are those sacred festivals still applicable for Christians?

Jesus Christ observed the festivals God gave to ancient Israel. Christians, of course, are expected to follow His example, to "walk just as He walked" (1 John 2:6).

Some of our readers may be surprised to learn that the United Church of God, (and the Messianic Churches), observe the same religious festivals that Jesus observed. Why would we follow His example in the matter of which days we keep?

One obvious reason is that Jesus Christ was the perfect model of how a Christian should live. Equally important is our conviction that religious practices should be founded directly on what the Bible approves. The only religious festivals commanded or approved in the Bible are the ones Jesus kept. But are these the only reasons, or is there more to this story?

Jesus Christ observed the festivals God gave to ancient Israel. Christians, of course, are expected to follow His example, to “walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6). One reason Christ observed the festivals is that they are relevant to His message, the gospel of the Kingdom of God. By observing them we can learn much about God’s plan to grant eternal life to those who become His sons and daughters through Jesus Christ. This is what gives these festivals their Christian importance and significance.

At one of these festivals a city newspaper reporter once asked me, “Why does your church observe the Feast of Tabernacles, a Jewish festival?”

I had the opportunity to explain that the occasion is not a festival for Jews alone, but for all humanity. This is one of God’s own festivals for the benefit of the human race. She later wrote an article complimenting the church for bringing a truly family-oriented convention to her city.

The Feast of Tabernacles, observed annually in September and/or October, is indeed a family festival. It has a distinct atmosphere, presenting abundant opportunities for close cooperation and communication among family members. It reflects what God is doing to create a family for Himself, His own children. He says to those called to be Christians: “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the L ORD Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18, emphasis added throughout). God seeks a family relationship and calls on us to become a part of that family!

The harvest of the children of God

The festivals of the Bible are closely linked to the harvest seasons of the Holy Land, where Jesus Christ spent His human life. Jesus often compared what God was doing through Him to a harvest. For example, Christ said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white [ripe] for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together’ ” (John 4:34-36).

Here Jesus links the idea of a harvest to His work of bringing humanity into a relationship with God that leads to eternal life. The festivals are not just memorials of what happened to ancient Israel, nor are they meaningless ritual. They were given to reveal major aspects of Jesus’ role in securing the redemption and salvation of all humanity. They are all about the work of Jesus Christ. That is why we keep them.

God’s marvelous master plan

Few realize that God has a master plan He carefully follows. His actions are not random or capricious. He formulated that plan before He created the heavens and earth. He began revealing important aspects of it with our first human parents, Adam and Eve. Let’s examine what the Bible says about that fascinating plan and how the festivals that Jesus observed reveal the order in which God’s magnificent blueprint for mankind will be accomplished.

When did God conceive His plan for creating mankind and offering us eternal life? Paul tells us that he became “a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness-a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time ” (Titus 1:1-2, New International Version).

Time, of course, is measured by the movement of the earth and the other heavenly bodies in space. Paul is telling us that before God created the universe He envisioned human beings and a way for them to receive eternal life. The salvation of mankind is not a new idea with God.

Later, when God evicted Adam and Eve from the garden paradise of Eden, after they had succumbed to the serpent’s influence and sinned, He told the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15).

In Adam’s and Eve’s presence, God revealed to Satan, “that serpent of old” (Revelation 12:9), that the time would come when a descendant of the very woman he had just deceived would crush his deceptive leadership over mankind. But first he would be allowed to strike (by crucifixion) a temporarily disabling blow to the promised Messiah.

God had a clear picture of the future. His plan included the death and resurrection of the Son of God, who was also to be the Son of Man-with God as His Father and the woman, Mary, His mother.

Is it any wonder that God began revealing more details of His plan to Moses at the time He selected ancient Israel as His special people? That was why God commanded the observance of His festivals with their dual meanings. Some of them represent truly historic events that occurred at the founding of ancient Israel as a nation. But they all represent the much more important relationship of all human beings to the mission of the Messiah (Colossians 2:16-17). That has always been their primary focus.

The Feast of Trumpets

The Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, begins the new Jewish civil year. But it is also the first day of the seventh month of the sacred calendar. It pictures the beginning of a new era, the end of the age of Satan’s influence and the beginning of the age of the Messiah. God instructed Moses that “in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation” (Leviticus 23:24).

(Rosh Hashanah is known as the Day of Judgment. At the final judgment spoken of in Revelation 20:15, we read that "anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire." The book of Revelation tells us that the Book of Life belongs to the Lamb, Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:27). The Apostle Paul maintained that the names of his fellow missionary companions were "in the Book of Life." (Philippians 4:3))

Why remember the blowing of trumpets? What relationship do trumpets have to God’s master plan and the mission of the Messiah?

The Bible reveals the significance of trumpets: The blowing of trumpets will announce the return of Jesus Christ!

“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet , and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30-31).

Paul clarifies even more what will happen at the conclusion of the blowing of trumpets that will announce Christ’s return: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ ” (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).

Few events-pictured here by the Feast of Trumpets-could be more significant to Christians than those that occur at the blowing of the trumpets at Christ’s return. That is when Christians, living or dead, receive immortality and eternal life.

The Festivals kept today

Jesus Christ set us an example by observing the biblical festivals, not because they were traditions of the Jewish people, but because, from the beginning, they represented His personal role in bringing the children of God into His spiritual family.

His apostles, walking in His footsteps, continued observing the same festivals. A considerable portion of Christianity observed them for centuries after His death. Looking into the future, we find a continuation of the same pattern. The prophet Zechariah tells us that attendance at the Feast of Tabernacles will be required of all peoples after Christ returns (Zechariah 14:16).

Today there are still Christians faithfully observing the same festivals Christ kept. These annual occasions were instituted to keep God’s people, in all ages, aware of the key aspects of the mission and work of the true Messiah. They are, indeed, Christian festivals.” 

Complete article with list of Feasts: https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/should-you-keep-the-festivals-jesus-observed

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God Calling!

“For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). Called and chosen for what? What is God’s calling? Are you sure you are among the called? 

God Calling!

Can you imagine your telephone’s caller ID displaying “God calling,” when your phone rings? Of course, His calling is much more subtle than that, but it is just as real. Jesus plainly stated, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws [calls or invites] him” (John 6:44, also note verse 65). Clearly, Christ is saying that no one can come to Him; that is, no one can become a Christian unless the Father first calls that person.

Jesus’ teachings were shocking—so much so that John said many of Christ’s disciples took offense at His words and walked away for good (verse 66). God’s calling refers to the process by which the Father draws (or calls) a person. It includes God’s opening a person’s mind to understand spiritual truth, and it is literally an invitation to salvation for that individual.

There is much confusion about the meaning of salvation, so let’s simplify it. In the physical sense, salvation means being rescued, usually from death. A person pulled from a burning building has been saved from a terrible death. Similarly, spiritual salvation means being rescued or saved from eternal death. The difference is that spiritual death is a death from which there is no return, literally ceasing to exist. The saved, even if they experience physical death before Christ’s return, will be changed to spirit and live forever when He comes.

The Bible shows not everyone is called now

One of the passages in the Bible that clearly explains that God is not calling everyone to salvation at this time is Christ’s parable of the sower. “Behold, a sower [a farmer] went out to sow [plant seed]. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.

“Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear [who can understand] let him hear!” (Matthew 13:3-9).

Do you know what Jesus meant?

Jesus explains the parable

In the parable, a story with a spiritual lesson, a farmer planting seed is likened to the work done by Jesus Christ and His Church. The seed is the gospel of the Kingdom. Notice how Jesus explained it: “Therefore hear [understand] the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.

“But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.

“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:18-23, emphasis added throughout).

“God calling” for the people in the story means the Father opens their minds so they can understand the good news of the Kingdom of God. This knowledge of the Kingdom includes knowing the King of this Kingdom (Jesus Christ), its territory (this earth), its constitution (the law of God) and its citizens (those over whom Christ and the saints rule on the earth). For further study, see the section on the “Kingdom of God.”

“Many are called, but few are chosen”

Not everyone who heard this parable [teaching] understood what Jesus was talking about. Although the entire multitude heard the same words, different reactions were taking place in those who heard the message. Some did not “hear” the call. Some did hear, but chose not to respond to the call.

The seed only grows in those God the Father is calling and who choose to follow His way of life. It is important to note that within the context of God’s plan of salvation for humankind, He is not opening everyone’s mind to the truth at the same time. Jesus had to explain this fact to His disciples, and He does so in the context of this parable of the sower (Matthew 13:11-17).

Another biblical example helps explain the fact that some are called ahead of most of mankind.

This is critically important

Another example of God calling only some during this age is found in the book of Acts. At the conclusion of Peter’s powerful sermon on the Feast of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given, many who heard him were sorrowful and repentant, realizing that their sins required the death—the sacrifice—of Christ. Notice their response; “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart [they were repentant] and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’” (Acts 2:37).

This is critically important: Real repentance requires the person to act on the knowledge he or she has received. Conversion is much more than an emotional reaction.

Real repentance requires the person to act on the knowledge he or she has received. Conversion is much more than an emotional reaction. Peter responded, “Repent [turn your life around], and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission [forgiveness] of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (verses 38-39).

Notice the phrase “as many as the Lord our God will call.” Did everyone who heard the call positively respond that day by repenting and being baptized? No. “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized” (verse 41). To be sure, God added about 3,000 people to His Church that day; but even so, many others who heard the call chose not to respond.”

Complete article at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/change/christian-conversion/god-calling/ 

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Update.

Jay has been here a few times to help me as he needed cigarette money.  He feels that he has to spend nearly $7 for a PACK of cigarettes, just to go up in smoke.  No wonder he is always broke.  We used to pay $1.80 a CARTON at the base commissary!  I am so glad that I am not a slave to that anymore.  It’s been three years and nine months since I quit my 60 year fag habit. (The word "fag" is a British term, used to describe a tobacco cigarette.)  I didn’t smoke those expensive cigarettes, just the little cigars, but I still have saved a lot of money, and thankfully my oxygen is up now and I don’t have COPD.

He mowed my grass that had become really tall during all that rain.  We raked up more pine needles and burned them.  We moved a great big metal wide filing cabinet out of the mini-house carport up three steps into the new tool room, the old store room.  Now there are two of those 40” wide, and five legal size drawers in the tool room.  We had to remove the drawers to be able to move it, even with my big appliance dolly.  With the big filing cabinet moved and a humongous BBQ that I sold, that left a lot of space in the mini-house carport.  Now to just get the rest of the stuff sold.

Another morning, we cleaned up my front porch siding, tables and chairs and washed the fence.  It looks so much better.

I went down to Roni’s place (now mine) and then my van wouldn’t start.  I had had trouble turning the key all the way to make it connect, but this time it just wouldn’t go.  So I called the Emergency Road Service and they towed it up here.  A few days later Chris came over so that we could try to start it and get it into Conroe to the repair shop, but I couldn’t start it, but she did due to the ‘special words’ that she prayed over it.  The prognosis is that I need a new starter and radiator, which this day and age cost a lot, they said $650.  On Monday, Gary an elder from the church, is going to do some checking around.

My four little foster kittens had an outing, as they had had their second batch of shots they could safely go out into the big world.  Chris, my SPCA foster mom neighbor, took them to Petco for Adoption Day on Saturday afternoon. They were a big hit, but no applications came in for them.  They are so cute, friendly, playful, pretty and handsome that I have no doubt that they will be adopted soon after their neutering surgeries.

My daughter, Wendy, has been volunteering down in Brazoria, helping people she doesn’t even know, get their homes cleaned up after the floods.  She felt that it was just something that she had to do.  She has been helping tear out soggy sheetrock and carpet.  They thanked her, but she thanked them for letting her do it.  She used to live down in West Colombia, so she knows a lot of folks who had at least 4 feet of water in their homes.  She and her two daughters came and helped me when I had over 4 feet of water in my new house in the flood of October of 1994.  That’s when I bought on top of this hill!

With my van in the shop, Hans my neighbor, took Jay and me to church with my big insulated food bag containing food for the potluck, and the bag of peelings and scraps that I collect for Gary’s chickens.  Hans was going to an ice cream social so he couldn’t pick us up.  But Gary, his wife and daughter to the rescue once again as they brought us and our food bag back home.

Someone gave me an enormous cabbage, now what was I going to do with that?  I made buttered sautéed cabbage with carrots, and took it in a crockpot to the church pot luck.  Then I made a big glass bowl of Waldorf Slaw, and took it too, but I still have some cabbage left over.

The Bible readings were Deut. 3:23-7:11, (now that includes The Commandments in Deut. 5:6-21), Isa. 40:1-40 and Mark 12:28-34.  One of the songs that we sang was from Psalm 48.  With ‘The Feast of Trumpets’ nearly upon us the Teaching was about celebrating the Holy Days as Jesus did, and how Jerusalem is no longer the place of desolation that Mark Twain described in his day.

Monday, September 4, 2017

When Do I Get a Break? THE BUSYNESS TRAP. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:

When Do I Get a Break?

rest weapon of god

“The calendar has Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and others. It seems there is a day for everything—but where is your day?”

Are you working more and relaxing less? Doing more but never getting everything done? Running here and there but only running yourself down? Maybe it's time you took a break!

In today’s world of rush here, hurry there, a haggard lament often arises with a weary sigh: “When do I get a break? I never have any time for myself. I’m up before dawn getting ready for work, commute an hour or more, work at least eight hours, commute home arriving after dark—and I’m beat.”

Family responsibilities add to the load. Many a mom tells the same story:

“I was up at 3 a.m. to comfort a child with an upset stomach, then got out of bed at 5 a.m. to make lunches for everyone, put a load of clothes in the washer, fix breakfast, get the children dressed and off to school, and get ready for work. I leave from work to pick up the children after school and go home. Then I take the clothes out of the washer, put them in the dryer and prepare dinner. After dinner, I do the dishes and get the children ready for bed.

“That doesn’t include doing the ironing and cleaning the house. I don’t have time to be exhausted, but I am. Just after midnight one of the children is having a nightmare and needs comforting. Finally I get back to bed and start the whole thing over again at 5 a.m.”

Working more, relaxing less

It seems there’s never time to sit back and relax—and if we do, we feel guilty. What’s the answer? Life is much more than the 40 hours a week on the job. How in this complicated 21st century (filled with time-saving devices!) can a person find time to take a deep breath and just sit down? Is it possible?

The calendar has Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and others. It seems there is a day for everything—but where is your day? Many people don’t even have time for a vacation!

Sound familiar? One of the major complaints people have is about finding time for themselves or their family. Historically, after World War II, Americans had the shortest working week in the world. Now, according to Boston College professor Juliet Schor, they have the longest. Her comment is that the average American worker now puts in 200 hours per year more than in 1973.

Astonishing, isn’t it? People are so desperate for some free time that, states the Center for a New American Dream, half of the work force would trade a day off for a day less pay.

All these things are complicated by the fact that as soon as a tiny break presents itself, a compulsion to fill it takes over. We immediately rush to surf the net, talk on the cell phone, play a computer game, take one of the kids to soccer and another one to tennis or something. We find it nearly impossible to sit still.

That is a part of the problem. Most people aren’t comfortable unless something is going on. Society has convinced us that we should never just sit without something happening.

Sitting quietly and contemplating a beautiful sunset is almost a lost art, as is staring deeply into a crackling fire. It’s sometimes joked that those who practice yoga sit and contemplate their navel. I’m not recommending that, but we do need to learn how to rest or enjoy free time without something being scheduled to fill every minute of every day.

What’s the answer?

take-a-break-need-a-breakDo you need a break enough to take advantage of such a time? Do you want to hear about it? How badly do you want that break? Is it enough to trade a day of pay for a day off? Are you sure?

Oddly enough, there is a time expressly made for just that. It’s a time for a person to take a break—designed for all men and women, regardless of how busy their week may be.

You may be thinking, “I’m always behind and can’t get everything done as it is.” If that’s the case, making some time for yourself isn’t going to make that much difference. You’ll still be behind, but you will have had a break—and maybe now you can get more done in the remaining time than you would have otherwise.

Every one of us has 24 hours in our day. We all have seven days in the week, totaling 168 hours. You might say, “And I still don’t have any free time!”

Yet 24 of those 168 hours are intended specifically to give you the break for which you long. They are designed to be a special time for the whole family. Parents think of their working week, but children need a break as well. Many of them won’t slow down long enough to take time for an appropriate meal. If they do, it’s usually to gulp it down and rush off to something else.

Starting at the beginning

Could you handle a time to relax? What would it be worth to you?

Let’s start at the beginning. A supreme Creator exists who made all things, including you and me. He fully understood the mind of man and knew men and women would crowd the week with their own activities. He also knew the tendency of humanity to ignore personal health and welfare in favor of keeping busy.

So He created a day and set it apart as a rest day. He actually commanded that man take a break each week. You can read it for yourself in His instruction book for us, the Bible.

After six days of creating a wonderful world for man to dwell in (as well as creating man himself), we find that God rested from all His work. “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:1-3).

Did He bless it and sanctify it for His own use? The answer is a resounding no. God doesn’t need to rest. This is simply telling us He ceased the work of the physical creation. Why, then, did He set apart the seventh day? He was setting us an example that we need a break from physical activity.

Jesus Christ spelled this out in Mark 2:27-28: “And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man , and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.’” He plainly says that the seventh day, also called the Sabbath, was made for man as a time to take a break from our everyday routine as well as a time to worship God.

There is your break. There is a 24-hour period every seven days in which you can renew your energies, both mentally and physically. Stress and overwork is a major health problem today. Hypertension results from never making the time to relax. These 24 hours were made to relieve that problem, among many others. It gives us a specific “break time” every week.

When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments , one of those commandments dealt directly with the Sabbath: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work …” (Exodus 20:8-10).

This is not an idle comment. The day God made for man—the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week—is intended to be acknowledged by man by using the time differently from the normal workday. Most of humanity has ignored this particular commandment down through the ages.

God concerned for His creation

God the Father is a patient and loving individual. He is concerned about the welfare of His creation. He has given humanity time to accept His commands, but eventually He does run out of patience.

Reread Exodus 20:9-10. His instruction is very specific: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORDyour God. In it you shall do no work …”

The question is why? Why is it so important to take a day off from all work, regular and otherwise? If this is a day made for man, why not just do as you please? It is made for man, but it is a special time that has been set aside—hallowed—by God not only to rest but to be reminded of the Creator of all things.

Here is what He told the ancient nation of Israel: “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying, ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you’ ” (Exodus 31:13-14).

Then in verse 17 He adds: “It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.”

A blessing waiting for you

This statement was made to the nation God had chosen to be His special people, but it applies to all humanity. Jesus isn’t just the God of the Israelites. He is the Savior of all humanity. That is clearly shown by His comment that “the Sabbath was made for man.” We see it is more than only a day of rest. It also identifies the one keeping it with the Creator God who made it.

In society today, people wear all manner of identifying signs or symbols. Each nation has its own flag. Some wear a jacket, shirt or hat displaying the name of their favorite team, player or political party.

This verse says that keeping the Sabbath is an identifying sign, too. The Sabbath day identifies those who wish to truly honor the Creator. It also says to all who see, “I belong to and worship the God who made all things. My loyalty is to Him above all else.” It also gives a much-needed break every week.

Someone might say, “I’m just not interested in religion.” He or she still needs a break, so why not use the day that was created for that purpose? It is important. The Sabbath is a break for you, and it’s also a time to learn about the Father of mankind.

The truth is there are great blessings in learning to “take a break.” It helps to fight stress and gives the body a chance to recuperate from the toils of the week. The pressure is off.

It gives you an opportunity to sit back and relax, and even to have the chance to watch a beautiful sunset without feeling guilty. It is an opportunity to read to the children or to simply sit and talk with them, tightening the bond of love and respect between a parent and child and their God.

You need a break. You need a time when the pressures of work are set aside. Whether you’re a man, woman or child, you need a chance to take a deep breath and just relax. Now the question is, do you really want a break ? Are you willing to accept the time God made for you to have a break? It is important to you. It is important to identify yourself with the Creator of the universe.

Will you do it? Will you finally learn to “take a break”? It’s in your hands. Do it!

From: https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/when-do-i-get-a-break

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THE BUSYNESS TRAP

“Are you frazzled by nonstop activities and never-ending pressures? Why is everyone so busy today, and what can we do to reorient our lives?

Taking time out for a heartfelt conversation with a family member, having a leisurely visit with a lonely widow or going out for a long lunch with a friend who needs encouragement all have eternal value. God does not want us to be so busy that we do not have time to reach out to others.

God provides time for rest. Today, downtime is often seen as unproductive. But resting isn’t necessarily unproductive downtime. When we understand the implication of the Sabbath commandment, we see that God actually blesses us with a full day each week designed to keep our lives in balance by maintaining our focus on the most important priorities. 

The Busyness Trap“I’m sooo busy!”

“I have way too much on my plate right now!” “There aren’t enough hours in the day!” We’ve all heard these kinds of comments. We’ve all said them. Busyness, it seems, has become an endemic problem in our modern, fast-paced Western world.

We’ve got career ladders to climb, businesses to keep afloat, children to raise, classes to attend, appointments to keep, emails to answer, meetings to go to, errands to run, housework to do, and on and on. We’re swamped. We’re pressed for time. We frantically rush from one activity to another. There are so many things that need and take our attention, we don’t even stop to think about what our overloaded lifestyles are doing to us.

Being busy simply means having a great deal to do. Defined that way, busyness is not a totally new phenomenon. There have always been those who had a lot of work to do.

But today, as a society, we’ve taken busy to an entirely new level. We’re not just industrious; we’re insanely busy. It’s not only certain segments of society that are working more, but nearly everyone is. We’re not just putting in long work days; we constantly have multiple, even conflicting, demands on our time. Our schedules are chaotic. We feel pulled in too many directions and can’t help but feel frenzied, harried and stressed.

How we got to be so busy

Considering all of our modern conveniences, it’s ironic that we lead such hectic lives. But it’s because technology has allowed us to do our work faster and more efficiently that additional demands have been thrust upon us.

“Nowadays we’re expected to accomplish much more with our time,” says David Levy, Ph.D., professor at the School of Information at the University of Washington. In an attempt to get extra work done, we “multitask, always trying to do two or three things at the same time. So we may eat our fast-food lunch and conduct business calls while we’re driving or checking our email. Rarely do we focus our attention on just one task anymore.”

A big negative to all this multitasking, he adds, is that it is far more intellectually draining than single tasking.

There are other factors at play as well. Mobile devices allow employees to be reached anywhere, anytime. “We can’t get away from work anymore,” says Gabe Ignatow, Ph.D., a sociologist at the University of North Texas who studies social change. “Even when we’re relaxing on the weekends, we’re often bombarded with emails, text messages and calls from the office.”

Other digital distractions—namely, social media—can make us feel even more inundated. “Many people feel like they have to keep up with the endless stream of Facebook, Twitter and other social media posts, so that consumes even more of our time,” Dr. Ignatow adds.

In terms of work, there’s the trend, particularly for managers and professionals, of staying late at the office and going in on weekends to get more done.

“Nowadays there’s this pressure that if we don’t work 50 to 60 hours a week, we’ll get laid off if our company is downsized,” observes Susan Mackey, Ph.D., a psychologist with the Family Institute at Northwestern University.

Continued at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/christian-living/the-busyness-trap/

From: Discern January/February 2016 magazine

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Update.

This was the road coming up to my subdivision.  Then the water got higher than that, so it was impassable and everyone had to go the long way around Shepherd Hill to avoid it.  For a short while that was impossible.  But even if you did get out everything was closed, even the Post Office.

I thought that I had missed our mail lady down at our mail boxes, so Hans my neighbor, drove me to take a package to Chris’ mail box.  But the mail didn’t run, and the label got wet and illegible.  Chris brought it back to me so that I could print a new label.  This time I covered it with clear contact paper and clear tape.  When the road was clear for a short while, Hans dropped it in the box outside the Post Office, not knowing that they would be closed for several days.

Several people this side of the flooded road came to check on me, and the church people kept in touch by phone.  We couldn’t have the church service, but we kept in touch.  My van was still in the shop so I couldn’t go around the neighborhood to check on folks.  My cell phone decided that it was worn out and quit, too, and sometimes my landline wouldn’t work.

The little foster kittens, just played and played as if nothing was going on with the rain just pelting down past each window!

20170828-Harvey_Flood_Damage-Calvery-This is what it looked like coming from the other way. and everyone around here knew not to try to go through it.  In 1994 a lady tried it in a pick-up truck, and they found her body in someone’s swimming pool after the waters had receded.

But we can’t complain, as we only lost power for a few minutes and had internet and TV for most of the time.  We are so thankful and pray for those who lost so much.    That was my situation in the flood of October 1994 when I had over 4 feet of water in my house newly rebuilt after the old one burned down, so my heart goes out to them.

One rare morning when it wasn’t raining, Jay came here and helped me get the fallen pine needles onto the burn pile. 

But we were going to have church this Sabbath, so I halved and baked some green peppers that one of the congregation had brought me.  Then I stuffed them with ground lamb, quinoa, topped them with shredded cheddar and a piece of organic tomato.  It just had to be popped in the oven for a while to warm up and everyone enjoyed it.  They had also brought me 4 boxes of hydroponic butter lettuce which I washed and took to the church so that everyone could have some there and take some home.

The Bible readings were Deut. 1:1-3:22, Isa. 1:1-27, and Acts 9:1-22.  The teaching was about ‘Our Warfare is Spiritual’, and to put on the whole armour of God.  Eph. 6:10-18.

It was so great to be back with my church friends again, we miss each other when we can’t have the service due to ‘weather days’.