Monday, September 12, 2016

Fifteen Years After 9/11. What Makes a Hero? Heroic 9/11 Dogs. Update.

 

For “Scripture Sunday”:

Fifteen Years after 9/11, What to Remember.

“While memories of September 11 elicit a flood of emotions, the lessons of that historic day should never be forgotten.

America attacked: Hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m. in New York City (Sept. 11, 2001).

Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

One Nation

As workers and inhabitants made their way back to Manhattan after September 11, the smell of rubble and melted plastic mingled with the stench of decaying bodies. The horror of that day lingered, but something else did as well. New Yorkers felt increased camaraderie after surviving the disaster, often asking each other, “Where were you on 9/11?” Strangers would recount their stories to one another.

Hints of a feeling of togetherness began on September 11 itself. In Washington Square Park, a few began holding hands, with passersby quietly joining. People from varied backgrounds soon added to the number, and the circle quickly grew. It was consoling to know they were not alone.

A similar feeling of solidarity swept the country, starting with candlelight vigils and memorial services in states across the union. It was seen in a sea of waving American flags, then in pins, T-shirts and bumper stickers.

The entire nation shared a unified sense of purpose. They backed the president almost unanimously. A Gallup poll showed 90 percent approved of his performance on September 21-22, including 89 percent of Democrats.

In the face of losing the freedoms and prosperity they had long enjoyed, Americans better appreciated them, and were prepared to work hard to ensure their continued existence. Those in New York City volunteered for clean up at Ground Zero. Elsewhere, individuals began volunteering, both for 9/11-related charities and local causes. Thousands returned to the churches of their childhood, trying to make sense of what happened. By some estimates, nearly half of adults attended a religious service the Sunday following 9/11. Charitable donations went up as well, with Americans giving about $2.8 billion to help those affected by the terror attacks.

What to Remember

The September 11 memorial that now stands where the towers once did is designed to help visitors never forget that historic day. Entering the site, they must follow a path that leads to a museum pavilion dedicated to the unforgettable day, with the nation’s tallest building towering in front of them.

In addition, waterfalls drop into two square pools set into the footprints of where the twin towers once stood. The pools are ringed with bronze plates carrying the names of attack victims. Trees line the entire memorial.

With each anniversary of September 11, we call to mind the events of that day. We remember the horror we felt as the towers crashed, the sadness of mourning loved ones, and the renewed appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy.

But just remembering the event is not enough. America must learn lessons. It will take a period of hardship to alert the United States to what is blocking God from blessing it.

September 11 was the front edge of a time of trouble soon to overtake America. This coming period of continuous calamity will be one that future generations will truly never forget.

Those who learn the lessons from what is occurring now, and from that historic and tragic September day, can escape—if they remember God is the only source of blessings and learn to obey Him by living His Way now.”

Excerpts from: https://realtruth.org/articles/110907-002.html

For a fuller picture of what is foretold to occur, read America and Britain in Prophecy.

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What Makes a Hero?

Reflections on the tragedy of 9/11, and the heroes who gave all they could.

YouTube video: https://youtu.be/cxahPUFL1eI

Transcript

[Darris McNeely] “Have you ever asked the question or had a discussion, what makes a hero? I’ve discussed this with close friends many times through the years, as we look at either stories or real-life people that we come in contact with, and defining a hero – always an interesting discussion.

The fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America are upon us here in 2016. And there is always a great deal of reflection, it seems every year, on the anniversary of 9/11, when nearly 3000 Americans lost their lives in New York, in Washington, and in Pennsylvania. Fifteen years on, people still remember people who – and the stories of individuals who died, who didn’t make it out of either imagethe twin towers in New York City or the Pentagon or the airplane that went down in Shanksville, PA, and as I’ve read many stories about people and the situations that came up on that day, I never cease to be amazed and just touched by the stories of human bravery, of people who were ordinary people – people who could have gotten out of the twin towers, from their offices, and yet they stayed behind and went multiple times up and down stairwells to get their coworkers out, to get those who were in their charge out, and then didn’t make it out themselves.

I’ve talked to people who have – who lost neighbors and close friends. I’ve been to the memorial there in New York City, and as many as you have. And every time we are confronted with the anniversary of 9/11, and again, a story of human bravery, it touches us, it reminds us that we live in a very dangerous world, and all of us probably wonder are we any safer for the trillions of dollars that have been spent on safety for the American homeland.

But bringing it back to the personal level – what makes a hero? It’s a very good question to think about for all of us, as we remember those who did die on 9/11, and life goes on, asking ourselves what might we do? What is it that we do in our everyday lives? Are we honest? Do we live with integrity? Do we have care and concern? Do we have love for one another? Would we lay down our life for another person? Those are all big questions, and none of us really know what we might do when an emergency comes. But coming back to the anniversary of this significant event that still resonates in the psyche of Americans fifteen years later, is a moment for us all to think about what makes a hero.” From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/beyond-today-daily/what-makes-a-hero

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Remembering Heroic 9/11 Dogs

“On that day, 10,000 emergency workers sprang into action. Among those, 300 were humble dogs. Dogs trained for search and rescue, dogs trained to sniff bombs, and dogs trained to help comfort and heal — they dutifully set about the task of helping out their human friends.”

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Update:

A bit more work has been done in the guest house.  All the sheetrock on the new wall between the new bathroom and kitchen is up now, and there isn’t much more taping and floating to be done, but it won’t be finished just yet.  Roy had his hernia surgery last Friday so he is supposed to take it easy for a while.  We put soundproofing in the bathroom walls as it is close to the kitchen and living room.

My two SPCA foster cats, Nala and Midi (Midnight Lee) are still on display in the Cat Habitat at Conroe Petco looking for ‘'furever” homes.  For a month or so, there are four cats in the Habitat in four separate cages, and once a day an SPCA volunteer goes there to take care of them.  Sometimes one or two will be adopted, and if not they just go back to their foster homes.  My cats have been there for over 3 weeks now, and I miss them terribly, but I haven’t wanted to unsettle Nala by going to see them.  I am surprised that she is finally eating and seems to be enjoying all the attention there, as she was always so clingy to me.  I would like to see her in a permanent home before my time comes.  Midi adapts to new things like the Habitat very well, he’s been there several times, but I doubt if he will be adopted as he is black and 11 years old.

For the church potluck I made Roasted Veggies with red, white and blue potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and also a steamed kale in yogurt sauce salad.  I heard that steaming kale makes it taste better.

The Bible readings were Deut. 26:1-20:8, Isa.60:1-22, Matt. 13:1-23, and the Teaching was “Anchor”.  Our hope is a steadfast anchor for us to have eternal hope.  The sun was really scorching when I got there, but by the time we had eaten our potluck lunch, the rain had come and it was a cooler day.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Show Kindness to Others Every Day. Power of Words. Immensity of Space.

 

For Scripture Sunday:

The Sixty Second Challenge

Show Kindness to Others Every Day

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“We interact with strangers all the time. Do they see a light shining when they see us?

An man looking at the camera.WonHo Sung/Unsplash

It's important to God that we are kind, gentle, forgiving and patient at all times. This way we are always ready to have a positive effect on others and be outstanding representatives of God and His way of life.

 

“‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” (Matthew 25:37-40; New Living Translation).

Take the Sixty Second Challenge—dare yourself to be kind and positive to brighten someone’s day.

Think about the countless people you see throughout your day-to-day life. You don’t know where they’re from, what they’re going through, or in many cases, even their name. Try brainstorming a list of examples. Here’s some to start:

• Check-out clerks
• Gas station attendants
• Food service and retail workers
• Custodial staff
• Other people driving on the road
• Receptionists and secretaries
• Maintenance workers
• Joggers, walkers and bikers
• Post officers and delivery workers

As you continue this list, remember God’s instruction to be a light to others (Matthew 5:14-16). You and I probably only interact with these individuals for a minute at most. What kind of positive—or negative—impressions could someone get from us in those short 60 seconds?

This is why it’s so important to God that we are kind, gentle, forgiving and patient at all times. This way we are always ready to have a positive effect on others and be outstanding representatives of God and His way of life.

This might seem like a tiny or unimportant effort, but remember what God says about things that seem that way: “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities” (Luke 16:10, NLT). God expects you to be faithful in all aspects of your life. By showing kindness to others, you are sharing your faith.

How can we share our faith in this way? Let’s write another list together—please add your own ideas for this in the comments!

• Smile
• Give appropriate eye contact
• Wave or shake hands where acceptable
• Say “please” when asking for something
• Forgive or overlook a mistake they might have made
• Greet them and ask how they are doing
• Hold the door for them or let them go through before you
• Offer to help them carry something
• Tell them “thank you”
• Strike up a positive, casual conversation
• Wish them a good day

Take the Sixty Second Challenge—dare yourself to be kind and positive to brighten someone’s day. Challenge yourself to do this to every new person you see or interact with that day. Take the actions above and apply them to the people we listed earlier. Wave to the mailman. Thank the janitor. Ask the cashier how she’s doing. You might not even have a full minute with any of these people, but see how much of an influence you can have with the time you’re given.

By reaching out to others in kindness, we are lights in a dark world. There’s no telling what that other person was going through during the rest of their day. But for just 60 seconds, you can be a light to them—and that can make all the difference.

Other verses to consider when going out of our way to be kind to others

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

“A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself” (Proverbs11:17; English Standard Version).

From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/the-sixty-second-challenge-show-kindness-to-others-every-day#comment-274871

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Power of Words

Do you realize the power you have in the things you say?

YouTube video: https://youtu.be/yZhTCijiooY

Transcript

[Steve Myers] “How powerful are the words that we use? I was thinking about this the other day and remembered the story of creation. Do you remember the story of creation? If you go back to the beginning of the book of Genesis, when God created things, it tells us that He spoke. In fact, I was reading an article about that Hebrew word for “spoke”, and it seemed to indicate that every time someone speaks in the Old Testament – whether it’s God, or whether someone’s speaking to another person – that they use the word “spoke”, and then they quote whatever that person said. And so it becomes a very interesting concept to think that this physical world came into existence by the word, by the spoken word. In fact, Christ, before He became Christ, was known as the “Logos”, “the Word”. And so each day of creation, God spoke, and another part of the world came into existence.

Think of the power of words. It created this world, this universe. And it also impacts us. It impacts our relationships. God’s word had the power to bring about the creation. Our words can also be creative. But they can also be destructive. And so we have to be careful about the power of words.

In fact, the Proverbs say a lot about the things that we say. Notice this particular passage in Proverbs 18:24. I’m sorry, verse 21. Proverbs 18:21. Here’s what it says about the power of our words. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” In other words, there’s consequences that come because of the things that we say, and the way we relate to people and the way we express those things. God’s expression in creation was that He brought things into existence. His creative powers were expressed through the word. And we can do that very same thing. Or on the other hand, the negative side of things, has difficult consequences.

In fact, just a couple of pages before this, in Proverbs 16, we read in verse 24 – now we have verse 24, there. In Proverbs 16:24, it says something that is very powerful. It says, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones”. You see, that’s God’s intent when He speaks to us. His intent is for the best. It’s a positive, powerful thing.

And I think that’s something that we can think about. Think about the power of our words. We have a tremendous power in the things that we say because they’re a reflection of what we actually think. So let’s make it our goal to fulfill what it says here in Proverbs 16 – that our words can be pleasant words, our words can be a sweetness, they can be a very good thing, they can be something that are creative and build up rather than tear down. So let’s make that our goal to be a sweetness to others through the power of our words.”

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Immensity of Space

An Amazing Fact: “For the better part of recorded history, Earth was thought to be the stationary center of the universe and the ancient wise men believed there were only 5,119 stars. The constellations were named and filled with colorful legends. Without a telescope the stars seemed to be just twinkling points of light that move across the night sky. Now we know when we look at the heavens that what we once thought were just single stars are often really a gigantic spiral of stars called galaxies.

A galaxy is like a colossal island in space made up of gas, dust, and millions of stars. On clear nights we see the spiral edge of our own galaxy called the Milky Way. Our Sun is just one small star in a pinwheel containing about a hundred billion blazing suns aligned in the form of a disk. And that’s not counting the planets that could be orbiting around these stars. Recent research indicates that there are billions of galaxies in our universe.

A few years ago the Hubble Telescope took a picture of a small spot of sky near the Big Dipper. To give you a better idea of how big this area was, it was about the size of a dime held 75 feet away. In that tiny dot of sky scientists counted over 1,500 galaxies! Take that number times the volume of space in every direction and you would calculate that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies with billions of stars in each galaxy. Wow!

The distance of these galaxies are measured in light years. Keep in mind one light year is the distance you would travel if you could ride a beam of light 186,000 miles per second for 365 days. Our home, the Milky Way, is some 30,000 light-years across. That means you would have to travel the speed of light 30,000 years to cross just our galaxy! And you still wouldn’t have even left our front yard. For example, if you wanted to visit the Andromeda Galaxy you would have to travel over the speed of light for over 2.4 million years.

When we consider the God who made all of this, we can only say, “How Great Thou Art!” It is almost inconceivable that the God who made the infinite cosmos wants to dwell with us. “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:4).
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; Psalms 8:3What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? Psalms 8:4

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Update:

The helper, Roy, and I have been busy taping and floating the sheetrock patches where we had to add or subtract outlets in the new kitchen and bathroom.  Sometimes we had to cut a ‘peep-hole-‘ in a wall to find the wires, so those had to be filled in, too.   We framed up and filled in the old closet doorway with sheetrock as there is a new entry to the walk-in closet now, so that had to be taped and floated, too.  Then the new wall between the new kitchen and new bathroom had to be textured, sealed and painted.  We have one more wall to sheetrock but Roy doesn’t need to be battling big sheets of ‘rock’ right now.  One day we spent straightening out the storage areas and packing everything better.  We only work in the mornings and my helper is still waiting to have his surgery so he doesn’t really feel very well.  He has had to go to the VA hospital each Friday for tests and exams.  He should be having his hernia surgery on Friday, but it is his acid reflux that is giving him the most trouble, as he can hardly eat and is losing weight fast. I am so thankful to our Lord that I don’t get sick.

My two foster cats, Nala and Midnight Lee (Midi) are at the SPCA cat habitat at Conroe Petco for a month, hopefully to be adopted.  I miss them a lot, but they need to have permanent homes before I am no longer around.

The last two Sabbaths I was asked to ramrod the potluck as the Pastor’s wife was away in San Antionio one weekend, then she had a swollen painful eye on another. The potluck lunches are always fun, and I try to take something different each time.  One time it was a Shepherd’s Pie made with lentils instead of meat, and veggies, then covered in the traditional mashed white potatoes.  I was surprised how popular that was.  Another time it was Shepherd’s Pie made with ground chicken and veggies covered in mashed sweet potatoes.

In our weekly Bible readings at the church we have now got as far as Deut. 21:10-25:19, and Isa. 54:1-10 and 2 Peter 1:15-10.  One week the Teaching was about “Belonging to God, Who Shall We Serve” and another was on the subject of “End Time Prophecies” again, as there is so much foretold in the Bible about that time. This time is was about “ISIS Today”.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Avoid Vain Repetitions in Prayer. The Lord’s Model Prayer. Private Prayers. Update.

 

For “Scriprure Sunday”:  Late again!

Avoiding Vain Repetitions in Prayer

Many people memorize and routinely recite what is commonly called the Lord’s Prayer. Is this what Jesus Christ wanted His disciples, and us, to do?

Lords Prayer

Matthew 6:7

“And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”

God does not give us prayers to memorize and repeat mindlessly as a ritual. He is not interested in babble and hearing certain syllables intoned repetitiously, as it seems the pagans believed their “gods” did. He wants His followers to “avoid meaningless, repetitive prayers offered under the misconception that mere length will make prayers efficacious” (Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary on Matthew 6:7-8).

God is interested in us having an actual conversation with Him, listening to what He says in the Bible and sharing our thoughts, requests, cares and praise with Him in a focused and meaningful way. Repeating someone else’s words over and over again can’t help but become rote and ritual rather than building the relationship God desires.

See more about the communication God desires in our article “How to Pray.” From: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/avoiding-vain-repetitions-in-prayer/

The Lord’s Model Prayer

Matthew 6:9-13

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

This passage is often called the “Lord’s Prayer,” but it really isn’t a prayer, but an outline of the kinds of things to pray about. Christ prayed many prayers, and if you had to pick one to call the Lord’s Prayer, the one recorded in John 17 might be the most likely candidate.

There is a lot packed into this outline about our approach to God; about our need to focus on the good news of His promised Kingdom; about praying for the needs of others and ourselves; and about overcoming Satan, temptation and sin through seeking God’s help and forgiveness.

From: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/the-lords-model-prayer/ More details on this passage, please see “The Lord’s Prayer.”

More on this subject: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/prayer-fasting-and-meditation/how-to-pray/the-lords-prayer/

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Private Prayers

Matthew 6:5-6

image“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ laid out the foundations of Christianity; and in this section He addresses the wrong and right ways to pray. Prayer is not for show or to impress other people. It is designed to help us build a personal relationship with our Creator. The core of our prayer life is one-on-one, alone with God. When we pray in private, we can express our deepest emotions and be open with God in a way we could not be in public.

The example of the New Testament Church shows that this does not mean that there is no place for public prayer, as there are many examples of the Church of God praying together (Acts 1:14; 4:24-31; etc.). But we must always be on guard against the attitude of hypocrisy that Jesus warned about.

For more about what the Bible teaches about prayer, see our article “How to Talk to God.”  From: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/private-prayers/

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Update:

Been very busy.  The mower broke down, it just quit in the middle of a row.  So it was taken to a lawnmower repair shop in New Waverly, the next city north of here.  It had been patched up by the local guy in the subdivision, but it was time for the professionals.  Wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy a new mower?  Well, not really, as I don’t like having one with a discharge shute.  Neighbor’s dog lost her eye that way, it was terrible, but it would be awful if that happened to a people, as they really need two eyes to read.  This is a mulching mower, so all the clippings are ground up and redeposited on the grass, so it just has a rubber apron on the back, and no other discharge place.  Mulching is supposed to be better for the grass.

The guest house’s new plumbing is started, the drains have been planned out.  Already Roy and I have made several trips to Conroe, south of here.  One trip to Home Depot, one trip to Lowes and a couple more to the local hardware store, and we don’t have everything yet.  That’s the way it goes with new plumbing!   

A friend of Roy’s dug a trough from the sewer line in the carport, but Roy had to dig it out more to make sure that the pipe would be covered.  We have tied into the main sewer with a Saddle Tee which was bought from a plumbing store.  The sewer pipe with a cleanout, under the pathway in the carport has been filled in and covered so we can walk there again.  The sewer pipe is now under the house and waiting to be run to the old laundry room, new kitchen and new bathroom. 

We have taken up one 4x8’ sheet of the floor’s plywood to have easy access to install the drains and vents.  The floor won’t be permanently screwed down until we get this done and then it will have insulation installed under the floor.  Also Roy has been taping and floating the patches in the wall where outlets were removed in the bathroom, so now we can seal the existing sheetrock before repainting.  One wall had to be sheetrocked where we had divided the old bedroom into a kitchen and bathroom, too.  The old walk-in closet doorway from the old bedroom is filled in as there is now a new closet doorway from the new bedroom.  This floorplan will seem more spacious even though the square footage has not changed.

Yes, I did go to church the last couple of weeks, but my notes are not around, and they were great, but very hot days.