For “Scripture Sunday”:
Sudden Winds and Potential Drought, Submitted July 3, 2012
“A massive storm system moved through the American Midwest last Friday and into the eastern regions of the nation. Many died and millions are still without electricity. The discomfort caused by this system was sudden and unexpected. As it moved through my neighborhood we were spared the most severe parts of its power.
I read one report that compared the effect created by power outages to be like the aftermath of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack. Made popular in the fictional novel, "One Second After" , the effect of a nuclear weapon detonated in the atmosphere high above the country would destroy the electric power grid and knock out every electric circuit in the country. Nothing based on electricity would be operable. All electronic digital circuitry would be fried. Airplanes would fall from the skies. Automobiles would stop in their tracks. Society would instantly be knocked back more than 150 years. Within days the social fabric of the nation would begin to unravel.
Nothing of this scale occurred last week. But the sudden impact of the storm system moving across a wide swath of the nation serves to show how quickly weather, or some other incident, can disrupt life as we know it.
The Financial Times carries a story about the drought-like conditions building across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. Low rain during the past winter lowered moisture content in the soil. Now we are facing a long stretch of extremely hot (high nineties) weather with no rain. The vital corn soy bean and wheat crops of this region is being impacted. Prices have surged and the future price of this year's corn crop has already risen 30 per cent. Other nations such as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay have been hit with drought. All this is creating lower harvest expectations.
The United States supplies almost half of global corn exports and and a third of soy bean expositors. Low winter rain and now low summer rain spells potential disaster. If rain does not come very soon the result will be a very low harvest and higher prices. The ripple effect through an already sluggish economy could result in bigger problems.
These two stories should remind us how suddenly a deceptively prosperous time can be changed by events. Either natural or man-made calamities can turn an orderly world into chaos. The apostle Paul wrote regarding the calamity of the Day of the Lord, "For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape." He concludes this section by encouraging us to "watch and be sober." (I Thessalonians 5:3, I Thessalonians 5:6)
I am enjoying this summer period but these recent events reined me how fragile is the balance of life.” From: http://www.ucg.org/blog/sudden-winds-and-potential-drought/
Temptation: How Does It Occur?
“Everyone knows that because we are human, we can be tempted to sin. But what about God? Does He ever entice people to sin? How do we resist temptation?
Among many topics, the author of the book of Hebrews wrote about “the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). Later, the author encourages us to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us” so we can “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). When we determine to live godly lives, temptations often arise. To better understand how we can keep from sinning, let’s begin by focusing on God’s role in this process.
What would you think of a God who made laws that carried the death penalty for breaking them and then tried to tease people into breaking those laws? That would seem rather perverse, wouldn’t it? If God tempted someone to sin, who would be responsible for the sin? If a person gave in to temptation and sinned, would it be fair for God to punish him? These are interesting questions. The only place we can go for the answers is God’s inspired Word, the Bible.
God does not tempt us to sin
Before explaining some often misunderstood scriptures, let’s take a look at one that clearly answers the question.
God inspired James to write; “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13-15).
This scripture makes it clear. God does not try to entice us to sin!
But didn’t God tempt Abraham?
God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his long-awaited and only son from his wife Sarah. “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Genesis 22:1-2, King James Version).
The Hebrew word used for “did tempt” is better translated “tested.” The New King James Version reads, “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham …” (Genesis 22:1, emphasis added throughout). Most modern translations read the same way.
God put Abraham to the ultimate test to see if he would be faithful to God. He never intended for Abraham to actually kill Isaac. God stopped Abraham just in time and provided a ram for an offering (Genesis 22:12-13). In this case, God had no desire to cause Abraham to sin. God didn’t entice Abraham to be unfaithful. In fact, God evidently expected that Abraham would indeed prove himself faithful. And that is exactly what happened.
Sometimes God tests us. During these tests, He wants us to succeed, to benefit from the test. He never tempts us to sin. To the contrary, God actually gives us strength to resist and overcome sin.
Does God tempt us to sin by allowing trials?
Some wonder if God is tempting us to sin by allowing us to experience trials. It is true that God allows trials—but not to entice us to sin. Trials are intended to help us become stronger and be more faithful and reliant on God. Just as an athlete develops strength by working against resistance, such as a runner training with weights tied to the ankles, God gives us the opportunity to develop spiritual strength by working against resistance—temptation.
Ultimately, God is storing up great rewards for our faithfulness. Those rewards are much greater than our tests and trials. As Paul wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
Then why ask God not to tempt us?
If God doesn’t tempt us to sin, why does Jesus tell us to ask God in our daily prayers, “Do not lead us into temptation” (Matthew 6:13)? Why would Jesus tell us to pray for something that God wouldn’t do anyway? What did Jesus mean?
As James says, we are tempted when we are drawn away by our own desires (James 1:14). God can help us to resist those natural inclinations that lead to sin. The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries’ volume on Matthew points out that in this passage Christ is emphasizing the importance of asking God to lead us so that we are not easily enticed by Satan or our own lusts (R.T. France, 1985, p. 136). The model prayer shows we should daily ask God to lead, enable and strengthen us to resist and to overcome any temptation to sin.
When we pray for God to “not lead us into temptation” (Matthew 6:13), we can be assured that “the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
God is on our side!
Rather than tempt us, God wants to help us resist sin. To resist the temptations to sin that Satan puts before us, Paul wrote: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11).
Many other scriptures likewise encourage us to resist temptation. Here are a few:
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:14). We “put on Christ” by learning His teachings and then by living as He lived.
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
“And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:18).
Notice the firm confidence these servants of God had that they could count on God for all necessary assistance to resist temptation. God does not entice us to break His laws. Rather, He is always there to enable and strengthen us if we turn humbly to Him for help.
You have to ask!
Being able to resist any temptation is not something anyone should take for granted. Satan is a powerful spirit being, called “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). In this section of the Bible, Paul plainly states that no human being is anywhere near equal to the power of the evil one and that only with God’s help can we resist.
In another place, Paul writes about foolishly independent people who have been caught in “the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26). The implication is that these people don’t even know they are puppets of the evil master.
Are you asking God daily for His spiritual defenses so that you can succeed in resisting temptations?”
This mornings program on WGN:
Are You in Sync with God?
“Is your life so hectic you don't have time for what is truly important? Learn how you can enjoy genuine spiritual rest.”
On This Day:
Liberty Bell tolls to announce Declaration of Independence, Jul 8, 1776:
“On this day in 1776, a 2,000-pound copper-and-tin bell now known as the “Liberty Bell” rings out from the tower of the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, summoning citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Four days earlier, the historic document had been adopted by delegates to the Continental Congress, but the bell did not ring to announce the issuing of the document until the Declaration of Independence returned from the printer on July 8.
In 1751, to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of Pennsylvania's original constitution, the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly ordered the bell to be constructed. After being cracked during a test, and then recast twice, the bell was hung from the State House steeple in June 1753. Rung to call the Pennsylvania Assembly together and to summon people for special announcements and events, it was also rung on important occasions, such as King George III’s 1761 ascension to the British throne and, in 1765, to call the people together to discuss Parliament's controversial Stamp Act. With the outbreak of the American Revolution in April 1775, the bell was rung to announce the battles of Lexington and Concord. Its most famous tolling, however, was on July 8, 1776, when it summoned Philadelphia citizens for the first reading of the Declaration of Independence.
As the British advanced toward Philadelphia in the fall of 1777, the bell was removed from the city and hidden in Allentown to save it from being melted down by the British and used to make cannons. After the British defeat in 1781, the bell was returned to Philadelphia, which served as the nation's capital from 1790 to 1800. In addition to marking important events, the bell tolled annually to celebrate George Washington's birthday on February 22 and Independence Day on July 4. The name "Liberty Bell" was first coined in an 1839 poem in an abolitionist pamphlet.
The question of when the Liberty Bell acquired its famous fracture has been the subject of a good deal of historical debate. In the most commonly accepted account, the bell suffered a major break while tolling for the funeral of the chief justice of the United States, John Marshall, in 1835, and in 1846 the crack expanded to its present size while in use to mark Washington's birthday. After that date, it was regarded as unsuitable for ringing, but it was still ceremoniously tapped on occasion to commemorate important events. On June 6, 1944, when Allied forces invaded France, the sound of the bell's dulled ring was broadcast by radio across the United States.
In 1976, the Liberty Bell was moved to a new pavilion about 100 yards from Independence Hall in preparation for America's bicentennial celebrations. It remains there today and is visited by more than 1 million people each year.”
Paris celebrates 2,000th birthday, Jul 8, 1951:
“On this day in 1951, Paris, the capital city of France, celebrates turning 2,000 years old. In fact, a few more candles would've technically been required on the birthday cake, as the City of Lights was most likely founded around 250 B.C.
The history of Paris can be traced back to a Gallic tribe known as the Parisii, who sometime around 250 B.C. settled an island (known today as Ile de la Cite) in the Seine River, which runs through present-day Paris. By 52 B.C., Julius Caesar and the Romans had taken over the area, which eventually became Christianized and known as Lutetia, Latin for "midwater dwelling." The settlement later spread to both the left and right banks of the Seine and the name Lutetia was replaced with "Paris." In 987 A.D., Paris became the capital of France. As the city grew, the Left Bank earned a reputation as the intellectual district while the Right Bank became known for business.
During the French Renaissance period, from the late 15th century to the early 17th century, Paris became a center of art, architecture and science. In the mid-1800s, Napoleon III hired civic planner Georges-Eugene Hausmann to modernize Paris. Hausmann's designs gave the city wide, tree-lined boulevards, large public parks, a new sewer system and other public works projects. The city continued to develop as an important hub for the arts and culture. In the 1860s, an artistic movement known as French Impression emerged, featuring the work of a group of Paris-based artists that included Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
Today, Paris is home to some 2 million residents, with an additional 10 million people living in the surrounding metropolitan area. The city retains its reputation as a center for food, fashion, commerce and culture. Paris also continues to be one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, renowned for such sights as the Eiffel Tower (built in 1889 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution), the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysees, Notre Dame Cathedral (built in 1163), Luxembourg Gardens and the Louvre Museum, home to Leonardo da Vinci's painting "Mona Lisa."”
It was also Adoption Day, I was going to the Willis church which has a service in the afternoon. Most of the morning was spent getting ready for church, like coloring my hair. There has been a white spot of hair on top of my head since I had a concussion in an accident while riding my motor cycle when I was 22 years old. While I was waiting for the colour to take, I got involved watching some religious videos, and nearly made myself late for the hour Bible Study at 12.30, before the main service at 1.45PM. The key text for that was 1 Thess.2:13-20.
There was a guest pastor from San Antonio, and he, his wife and three children sang a great song together before his interesting sermon. I stayed afterwards and enjoyed the pot luck meal. Then it started to get very dark, windy and rainy. There was also a monthly ‘Fun and Fellowship Night’, but I needed to get home to let Misty out, and I didn’t go back due to the weather. I might have chanced driving the 8 miles home in the dark, but not when it’s rainy too, as the road coming back here might have flooded.
Jay didn’t go with me, as he had thrown his son, daughter-in-law and their 6 children out of his house at 9.00PM the night before. So that, in his mind, was another excuse to get plastered, and he overslept. I am really glad that my son Kevin’s Dad told me he would kill me if I put Kevin on Ritalin, as I can see how it has messed Jay up for all of his life. As soon as he was taken off it, he did other things, as he couldn’t cope with life in a normal frame of mind. Chemicals are not the answer to AHDD, diet is.
This year is very different from last summer, as it is raining again today.