Saturday, February 22, 2020

Where Do We Find Contentment? Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

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Where Do We Find Contentment?

“Become rich in the things of God, and you will find contentment.

A woman looking out over a lake.Chad Madden/Unsplash

Contentment is a state of mind that will fit any circumstance we find ourselves in.

By the standards of many people today, contentment comes from accumulating possessions and in increasing the amount of wealth that we have. To many, things like power and success pave the way to contentment. Yet in this world we can observe poor people who are laughing, singing and enjoying life, while wealthy and powerful people seem to be dissatisfied no matter how much they have or where they are. What is the difference? Where does contentment come from?

Paul wrote that he learned to be content in whatever state he was (Philippians 4:11). Contentment does not come from getting more and more—because the eye is never content with how much it sees (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11). Contentment is a state of mind that will fit any circumstance we find ourselves in. We can be content with much or with little—if we diminish our wants and change our focus to be on the spiritual more than on the physical. Being rich in the things of the world and poor in the things of God is one great cause of discontentment. Being rich in the things of God is where lasting contentment lies.”  From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/this-is-the-way/where-do-we-find-contentment

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How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Changed the World

“Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has permeated nearly every aspect of our world and changed it dramatically. How is Darwinism affecting you?

How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Changed the World

Evolutionary thinking is all around us. Anytime we visit a zoo or natural history museum, watch a nature program or read a science or wildlife magazine, we will likely be exposed to evolutionary concepts.

In most public schools and universities, evolution is a major part of the biology and science curricula. We’re bombarded from nearly every avenue with the idea that life originated by chance and eventually developed into the organisms we see today.

It’s had a major effect on our society. A 2019 Pew Research Center study reported that a total of 81 percent of American adults believe in evolution. This includes 33 percent who hold that humans evolved due to processes like natural selection with no involvement by a Creator, along with 48 percent who think human evolution occurred through processes guided or allowed by a higher power.

Rewind 160 years to the beginning of Darwin’s theory of evolution

Historically speaking, the belief in evolution is a relatively new phenomenon. Throughout the history of Western civilization, people in most cultures believed that humankind and all forms of life were specially created by God (or other deities, albeit false).

It wasn’t until 1859, when British scientist Charles Darwin published his book On the Origin of Species,that the public began to think otherwise. This was a major turning point in history, because it influenced people’s decisions to turn their backs on God, the Bible and religion.

Nothing “right” about evolution

The truth is, nothing good can come from accepting Darwin’s theory of evolution or its modern adaptations. It is a cruel, depressing and hopeless approach to our existence. Without knowing that we have a loving God who’s in control and that there’s an incredible purpose to our lives, it is impossible to have a truly positive outlook.

Moreover, no culture can survive when individuals make their own rules and live for themselves.

Ruthless competition at the expense of others is the exact opposite of how God wants mankind to live. The Bible instructs the strong to help the weak (Romans 15:1-3).

The other major problem with Darwin’s theory of evolution is that it’s unprovable. If evolution were true, there should be abundant evidence in the fossil records of transitional forms between species and proof of new species developing in the wild—but there isn’t. The only proof has been for microevolution—adaptation, or minor changes within existing species—which we do not dispute. (See our online article “Microevolution vs. Macroevolution.”)

Furthermore, neither Darwin nor any other scientist has been able to come up with a credible answer for where the original single-celled organism came from.

Still, many people cling to the idea of evolution and insist it’s true. This is to be expected. Romans 8:7 says that “the carnal mind is enmity against God.” Human nature would rather believe there is no God and no purpose for life, rather than submit to a higher power.

The Bible tells us that “scoffers will come in the last days” (2 Peter 3:3). There will be those who doubt God’s existence and ridicule those who don’t believe in evolution, right up until the time Christ returns.

But that’s when the scoffers and all of mankind will learn the truth—that we do have a Creator, and submitting to Him is the only way to a truly happy, meaningful existence.”

Complete article at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/is-there-a-god/proof-of-god/darwins-theory-of-evolution/?

More on this subject at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/is-there-a-god/proof-of-god/can-christians-believe-in-evolution/

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Update.  

As usual, we had a good Bible study with the visiting pastor from a church in Anderson, TX.  I think it is so great that he comes all the way to our senior apartments in Navasota to do this on his own time every Sunday afternoon. 

It was cold, windy and wet most of the week and when I took the dog out on her leash it wasn’t very good for my health, so I was still coughing, though the sneezes had gone.  Oh! What a luxury it must be, to be able to let a dog out into a fenced yard.  I still wasn’t up to par, so I didn’t really do much, just the minimum of laundry, cooking, dishes, cleaning, and taking care of the dog.  She had come out of her shell and wanted to play, but didn’t really know how to play “nice”, and used my arms as tug-toys.  My old, thin skin can’t take much of that.  I bought her a tug-rope, squeaky bones, balls, chewy things, but she didn’t even know how to play with them.  She had been abused, ignored and left in a back yard most of her life so now she has to learn how to live in a house with people, and play nice, so that she can be adopted.  Learning things like “No toofies on skin” is something that her siblings would have taught her if she hadn’t been taken away from them too young. 

I went to therapy on Tuesday, but they still didn’t do much for my back, and I have been getting better doing my own exercises.  I went for the Thursday appointment, and they didn’t even have it on their schedule, so I came home.

Friday, my church friend and I had our usual Bible study, still in Daniel, ready for Bible school on the Sabbath, the next day.  I arranged different kinds of cookies in a pretty tin for the church potluck. 

The Sermon was “Who Are You?” from Acts 19:11-20, the gist of it was: Don’t mess with the devil, if you don’t know Jesus”.

Well, it is going to be up to 68° tomorrow, but going back down to 29° on Wednesday.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Could Biblical Laws Have Prevented Coronavirus? Let Jacob Rejoice. Forgiveness According to the Riches of His Grace. Update.

What’s Behind the Coronavirus Outbreak?

Had human beings respected and obeyed the Bible’s food laws, the coronavirus outbreak would likely never have occurred.

The coronavirus is causing fear throughout the world. What’s behind this disease epidemic? Is there a solution to it? Will disease epidemics ever end?What’s Behind the Coronavirus Outbreak?

Medical workers in protective suits help patients diagnosed with the coronavirus in a temporary hospital in Wuhan, China (Chinatopix via AP). 

The four horsemen of the Apocalypse represent four major trends the world has faced for centuries, but which will intensify to their maximum level in the end times (Revelation 6:1-8).

The fourth horseman is described as riding a “pale horse” (verse 8). This horse is associated with death. By comparing Revelation 6 with Jesus’ Olivet Discourse (found in Matthew 24), we can identify this pale horse as “pestilences,” or plagues (Matthew 24:7). To learn how Jesus’ Olivet Discourse aligns with the four horsemen of Revelation, read “What Are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

The pale horse represents disease epidemics that have killed millions of people throughout history and that will afflict the world on an unimaginable scale in the end time.

Disease epidemics are a major issue in the world right now because of the spread of the 2019 Wuhan coronavirus (currently being called 2019-nCoV). Although China is the epicenter of the outbreak and the most affected country, the coronavirus has already spread to other countries in Southeast Asia, and cases have also been detected in Europe and America.

In the age of the plane, nations no longer live in relative isolation. Now a possible disease carrier can infect people in another country or continent thousands of miles away, all in a matter of hours. As of Feb. 11, there are at least 1,016 confirmed deaths and over 42,000 confirmed infections. The numbers increase hour by hour, which has health officials around the world on alert.

The troubling origin of the coronavirus

Initially, it was believed that this coronavirus originated from bats and was transferred to people through bat soup. Scientists researching the origin of the virus believe it can be traced back to a particular “wet market” (a Chinese marketplace specializing in fresh seafood and other meats).

According to Health.com, “researchers studied the genetic code of 2019-nCoV and found that it’s most closely related to two SARS-like coronavirus samples, suggesting that it, too, may have had a bat origin. But when researchers looked deeper, they discovered that the protein codes of 2019-nCoV were most like those used in snakes.”

The current thinking is that the virus could have been transferred to snakes from bats (snakes often eat bats in the wild), and then transferred to humans through snake meat sold at a particular wet market in Wuhan, China.

A recent article in the Journal of Medical Virology found: “Snakes were also sold at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market where many patients worked or had history of exposure to wildlife or farm animals. Taken together, snakes could be the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for the 2019-nCoV.”

Though consuming reptiles and bats is repulsive to many in the Western world, these and many other unusual creatures are commonly eaten in many Asian cultures.

Could biblical laws have prevented the coronavirus?

Though largely ignored in our world today, the Bible contains dietary laws that tell us which meats are designed by God to be eaten and which meats are not. Many have found that these laws benefit human health.

Both bats and snakes are labeled “unclean” in the Bible, that is, not fit for human consumption (Leviticus 11). As is often the case, had human beings respected and obeyed the Bible’s food laws by not eating snake or bat meat, the coronavirus outbreak would likely never have occurred.

To learn more about the biblical laws of clean and unclean meats, read our article “Clean and Unclean Animals: Does God Care What Meats We Eat?

Another example of a biblical law that can prevent the spread of disease is the Seventh Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery.” This law forbids all sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and woman (Exodus 20:14). This simple law is insurance against contracting the many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that are carried by so many people today—HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital herpes, etc.

(Of course, not everyone who contracts an STI is guilty of breaking this law. Unfortunately, sometimes these diseases are passed to children by a parent or by unsanitary practices at hospitals. Sadly, people’s sins often have repercussions that impact other innocent people.)

God also told the Israelites to bury their bodily waste (Deuteronomy 23:12-13), instead of disposing of it in rivers, lakes and oceans as is often done today—especially in the developing world. This simple preventive measure, if followed, would virtually eliminate the threat of devastating waterborne diseases, such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and others.

Sanitation, cleaning and quarantine were also emphasized in the Bible. Procedures were also given for the treatment of people with various types of sores and infections (Leviticus 15). Virtually everything the person touched was considered contaminated, including dishes, clothing and even where he or she sat.

These laws were given to help Israel stay healthy and show love to each other. When these laws are applied in the modern world, they can have the same effect!

The ride of the pale horse will be ended

Hopefully, the current coronavirus will be brought under control and its spread will be stopped. But we still know from Bible prophecy that even more serious and deadly disease epidemics are ahead of us. The “pale horse” is already riding—and will ride with more strength and speed during the coming Great Tribulation.

The good news is that Jesus Christ will return to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. When that happens, God’s laws will be implemented throughout the world (Isaiah 2:2-4), which will result in a healthy world—both physically and spiritually!

Jesus Christ, who will return on a white horse, will overpower and destroy the four horsemen of Revelation, including the “pale horse” of pestilence.

The sins that led to the pale horse’s ride will be corrected when humanity repents and starts obeying God’s good and beneficial laws. Human beings will no longer eat unclean meats or do any of the other things that have historically contributed to disease outbreaks.  Had human beings respected and obeyed the Bible’s food laws, the coronavirus outbreak would likely never have occurred.

Pray for those suffering from the terrible coronavirus—and for the return of Jesus Christ to earth to stop disease epidemics!”    From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/blog/whats-behind-the-coronavirus-outbreak/?

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Let Jacob Rejoice

Psalm 14:7

Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD brings back the captivity of His people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

“The story of the Bible reveals a cyclical history of God’s people. God loves His people, gives them His good laws and His blessings, but too soon the people forget to thank God and forget His laws. They begin doing things the way that seems right to them, but which He knows will result only in suffering and death. The people bring negative consequences and even captivity on themselves, only to cry out to God for rescue.

In Psalm 14 David looks to the end of this recurring history and cries out for the ultimate salvation that God desires to give. Many prophecies refer to a great end-time exodus of the descendants of Israel back to the Holy Land (Isaiah 11:11-16; Jeremiah 30; etc.).

The physical peace and prosperity are only a foretaste of the true spiritual salvation God offers to those who repent and commit to permanent faithfulness to God and His ways. This salvation, made possible by God’s incredible mercy through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in our stead, is the source of the eternal rejoicing that David longed for.”   From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/let-jacob-rejoice/?

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Forgiveness According to the Riches of His Grace

Ephesians 1:7

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

The word redemption means “‘buy back’ or ‘ransom.’ In ancient times, one could buy back a person who was sold into slavery. In the same way, Christ through His death bought us from our slavery to sin” (NKJV Study Bible, note on Ephesians 1:7).

The incredible love Jesus showed in being willing to pay our death penalty for us is described with the Greek word charis—grace. “The Greek word for grace is probably equivalent to the Hebrew word chesed meaning ‘lovingkindness,’ a word frequently used by the psalmists to describe God’s character. In the [New Testament], the word charis usually signifies divine favor or goodwill, but it also means ‘that which gives joy’ and ‘that which is a free gift’” (NKJV Study Bible, Word Study: Grace, p. 1737).

Another way to express the meaning of God’s grace is that it refers to God’s great love in action toward us. Grace describes all of God’s wonderful free gifts, from forgiveness of sins to the gift of eternal life.

For more about forgiveness and grace, see “What Is Grace?”   From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/forgiveness-according-to-the-riches-of-his-grace/?

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Update.

We decided to study all the Philippians lessons in that series, last Sunday at the Bible study.  Then on Mondays we have been having the weekly “Strengthening Families of the Brazos Valley” meetings here at the apartment club house. Tuesday was Bingo, and on Wednesday, Amerigroup put on a Valentine Party for the residents.

By Thursday, somewhere, somehow, I had put my back out, so it has been difficult for me to bend over to put the leash on the little dog.  Oh, how I wish I had a fenced yard!  My doctor doesn’t believe in chiropractors so he ordered therapy for me.  As soon as I walked into the Therapy building I started sneezing and coughing. 

The therapist didn’t do much for me.  Timed me walking around the corridors of the building six times.  I did one lap per minute.  No massage or any hands-on treatment. Maybe that will be another time.  The sneezing and coughing continued into the next day, and got worse during the Friday morning Bible study.  By Saturday morning, I knew that I didn’t need to go to church to sneeze and cough, disturbing the service, so I took some allergy meds and went to bed.

Finally, I stopped sneezing and coughing, so I went to the afternoon Bible study about Revelation on Sunday.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Before You Ask Someone to Be Your Valentine...Would Jesus Do Valentine’s? Update.

Before You Ask Someone to Be Your Valentine...

“Millions send Valentine’s Day cards to express their affection for someone special. But how did this holiday originate? And does Valentine’s Day represent what true love is all about?

A person drawing a red heart with a crayon.kaboompics.com

Does Valentine's Day really celebrate true, caring love?

Every year, more than a billion Valentine cards are bought and sent throughout the world. The act of sending a nice card seems to fill a natural yearning to express how much we care for someone.

But does Valentine’s Day really celebrate true, caring love? Or does this popular holiday actually promote something else?

Origins of Valentine’s Day

When we think of Valentine’s Day, we call to mind hearts, chocolates, flowers and expressions of love. Yet before joining in the fun, wouldn’t it be wise to know where this tradition came from?

Valentine’s Day may be acceptable to millions of people, but not to God.

First, we should understand that Valentine’s Day began when the early Roman Catholic Church tried to Christianize an ancient pagan Roman holiday called Lupercalia. That celebration was a licentious festival that honored Lupercus, the hero-hunter of wolves. This festival was so immensely popular among the Roman people that church leaders included it in their calendar, hoping to retain their new parishioners and turn them from sexual licentiousness to morality by linking it to a saint.

The saint they chose for this mid-February Roman festival was St. Valentine. One source explains:

“St. Valentine is believed to have been a Roman priest who was martyred on this day [February 14] around [A.D.] 270. How he became the patron saint of lovers remains a mystery, but one theory is that the Church used the day of St. Valentine’s martyrdom in an attempt to Christianize the old Roman Lupercalia, a pagan festival held around the middle of February.

“Part of the ancient ceremony entailed putting girls’ names in a box and letting the boys draw them out. Couples would thus be paired off until the following year. The Church substituted saints’ names for girls’ names, in the hope that the participant would model his life after the saint whose name he drew.

“But by the 16th century, it was once again girls’ names that ended up in the box. Eventually the custom of sending anonymous cards or messages to those one admired became the accepted way of celebrating St. Valentine’s Day” (Helene Henderson and Sue Ellen Thompson, editors, Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, “Valentine’s Day,” 2005, p. 576).

Although all historical sources contain some of the same notions about how Valentine’s Day developed, each one highlights another facet of the story. Another states:

“Some people have tried to connect the historical Saint Valentine with the later practices of Valentine’s Day by saying that the saint married couples despite the emperor’s prohibition, or that he sent a note signed ‘from your Valentine’ to the daughter of his jailer.

“However, the early Christian saint Valentine probably had nothing to do with the traditions later celebrated on his feast day; it is simply by his placement in the Christian calendar that his name became associated with it. Later, the word valentine may have been confused with the Norman French word galantine , meaning lover of women, as the G and V were often interchangeable in common pronunciation.

“In any case, February 14 gradually became a traditional date for exchanging love messages, and Saint Valentine became the patron saint of lovers” (Macmillan Profiles: Festivals and Holidays, 1999, p. 363).     Continued at: https://www.ucg.org/good-news/before-you-ask-someone-to-be-your-valentine

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Would Jesus Do Valentine’s?

“A few years ago the acronym WWJD became really popular—it stands for “What Would Jesus Do?”

So here’s a question for this time of the year: Would Jesus do Valentine’s?

Well, why not? one could argue. It’s all about love, romance and showing sweetness to someone special. Sounds like the kind of thing Jesus is all about!

But think about this for a minute: The only reason we have Valentine’s Day today is because someone started it somewhere. We can’t simply put Jesus in our context today and ask if He would be celebrating Valentine’s, without first asking would He have celebrated it when it first became popularized.

So let’s rewind history just a bit. Going way back, centuries before Jesus, the Romans had a big, three-day long religious celebration—a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. Faunus was the Roman equivalent to the Greek god Pan. He was also associated with the god Lupercus, from which this festival got the name Lupercalia, which was celebrated between the 13th and 15th of February.

All the lore surrounding the goings-on of this festival is a little murky. Some say that after the sacrifices and rituals to pray for the gods’ blessings for fertility, the bachelors would draw from an urn the names of young women, and they would be paired with them for a year, maybe longer if the relationship worked out. Others debate that, but we do know enough to conclude that, well, let’s just say that the pagans knew how to mix a lot of illicit sex into their religious celebrations.

So skip ahead a few hundred years and—I’ll just quote from a National Public Radio report—“Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals.” Knowing how popular it was with the masses, though, he said, we’ll still have something on Feb. 14, but we’ll honor Saint Valentine, a fellow Catholic legend says was martyred. As NPR says, “The festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, ‘It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn’t stop it from being a day of fertility and love.’”

The AmericanCatholic.org website says Gelasius “changed the lottery to have both young men and women draw the names of saints whom they would then emulate for the year (a change that no doubt disappointed a few young men). Instead of Lupercus, the patron of the feast became Valentine.

“For Roman men, the day continued to be an occasion to seek the affections of women, and it became a tradition to give out handwritten messages of admiration that included Valentine’s name.”

And let’s not forget about Cupid—where did he come from? Well, in Roman mythology Cupid is the son of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. He himself is the god of raw desire, erotic love and attraction; and he was worshipped because he could cause people to fall in love by shooting them with his love-potion arrows. So, that cute little cherub on your greeting card?—a Roman god.

So would Jesus have done Valentine’s Day when it first appeared on the scene in modern Christianity? Would He have said, “Hey, I don’t have any problem with you borrowing a little religion here and there from the pagans. Want to weave their idols and gods into My religion? Go for it. Don’t worry about that silly commandment about idolatry and no other gods before Me. My God, Roman gods—no big deal.”

“Valentine’s and WWJD”—what would Jesus do? That’s pretty clear.

The real question is “Valentine’s and WWYD”—what will you do?” 

From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/speaking-of/would-jesus-do-valentines/

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Another article: What's Wrong With Showing Love?

https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/valentines-day-whats-wrong-with-showing-love

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Update.

The Bible study at the apartment club house on Sunday afternoons is from the book of Philippians for the next few weeks.  Not very many show up, but those who do, are very attentive to the programs that the pastor shows from his laptop onto the big TV.  Then he asks questions and there are discussions. On Monday we had another “Strengthening The Relationships that Matter” meeting put on by Texas A & M AgriLife Extension. 

Wednesday, I had the van inspected and then drove to Anderson, TX, the county seat of Grimes County, to get the new tags.  This is the first year since I have had it, that I haven’t had to spend money on the van to get it past inspection.

Blow me down, I had to go back to Anderson the next day, a neighbor needed a ride to get their box at the food pantry.  Then I dropped off another neighbor at their doctor’s office and came back to play Bingo at the club house. By the time that was over, the neighbor was ready to be picked up.

For someone who doesn’t like to go gallivanting around, my van sure was kept busy this week, because another neighbor and I went to HEB grocery store in College Station on Friday.  But they got a phone call and I didn’t get to do all the things that I needed to do there because we had to rush back. Then it was time for my other Bible study which is studying Daniel, ready for the next day’s Bible School before the church service. 

I bought some chocolate cookies with white chocolate chunks for the church potluck, but they turned into little brown rocks, so I made them into a trifle by pouring vanilla pudding over them. That softened them up and made a nice dessert.

The Teaching at the church today, “One People In Christ”, was given by a black lady because it is Black History Month.  It was about a lady who was very instrumental in getting Christianity and the truth about the Sabbath widely published, but was very poorly treated when she was sick with cancer and needed care, because she was black.

My little “Foxie”, the American Eskimo dog who looks like a little white fox, is gradually realizing that no one, or thing, is going to hurt her here.  She finally walks with her tail over her back instead of tucked between her legs.  Because she has mostly been a good girl about peeing outside, I am rewarding her by letting her loose in the apartment instead of in her big crate, when I am home during the day.