For “Scripture Sunday”:
Run the Race!
“As the Olympics wind down, this year's track and field events offer lessons on our "race" for the crown of life.”
Transcript at: http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-daily/christian-living/run-race Friday, August 10, 2012
When Evil Walks In
“The tragic shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin highlight the brutal parts of society. When evil intrudes it knows no bounds.”
Transcript at: http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-daily/suffering/when-evil-walks Tuesday, August 7, 2012
How Can God Allow Tragedies? by Joshua Travers - August 7, 2012
“Why does God allow tragedies like mass shootings? Why would a loving God allow tragedies, pain and suffering? Is tragedy proof that He doesn’t exist, or is something else behind it?
Aurora, Colorado: 12 dead and more than 50 wounded at a movie theater. Oak Creek, Wisconsin: seven dead at a Sikh temple. How could God let such things happen? Shouldn’t a Being full of love (1 John 4:8) have done something to prevent such terrible tragedies?
To many people, tragedies are seen as the ultimate proof that God doesn’t exist. Yet what does the Bible really tell us about tragedies such as happened in Aurora and Oak Creek?
Let’s go back to the very first human tragedy—Eve being tricked by Satan and eating the forbidden fruit. Why didn’t God stop her? Could He have stopped her?
In answer to that question, just consider that God is called the Almighty (Revelation 1:8). He has all power. God has so much power that we cannot even begin to imagine. Stopping Eve, or the shooters in Colorado and Wisconsin, would have been indescribably easy for Him.
So why didn’t He stop them?
God has given humanity free moral agency. He didn’t make us to be robots. God has given us the ability to choose. Every single man, woman and child will make his or her own choices, whether for good or evil.
Essentially, what free moral agency amounts to is choosing between life and death, good and evil (Deuteronomy 30:19). God’s desire is made very clear throughout the Bible. He wants us to choose life! He didn’t want Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. He didn’t want 70 people to be shot at a movie theater! He wants His creation to live!
Yet His creation has different ideas, often influenced by an evil being called Satan. Ever since Eve made the choice in Genesis 3:6 to eat of that fruit, humanity has used free moral agency to choose every type of evil and has drawn away from God to such an extent that something such as a mass shooting can happen.
It’s not what God wants, but it’s what individuals choose. As long as humanity chooses evil, then evil will happen.
There is a purpose
Of course, God can go against the wishes of man. In fact, He has intervened occasionally throughout history when His plan required it. Yet tragedies such as the Aurora and Oak Creek shootings have a purpose, even if God isn’t the one behind them.
God is allowing humanity to see that our way doesn’t work. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus Christ told us about the wide path that humanity has chosen to travel and the narrow path that choosing life (as God wished us to) would take us on.
The way of the broad path is wrong—it doesn’t work. This way leads to things such as mass murder and every other tragedy humanity has ever known.
God’s way is very narrow but leads to a wonderful world where movie theaters, houses of worship and schools will be safe, where violence and evil will be banished and where love will reign over all!
God doesn’t cause tragedies like what happened in Aurora or Oak Creek. Far from it—He despises such things (Proverbs 6:16-19). Yet because He has promised us free choice, God doesn’t prevent them all either. God uses such tragedies to show all mankind that we are going the wrong way—we are going on the broad path of destruction.
If we are to live and finally be free of tragedy, then we must choose His way of life—the narrow path of salvation. For more about this subject, see our section on “Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering?”” From: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/blog/how-can-god-allow-tragedies/
World News and Trends: Major species in jeopardy
“What must God think of mankind's stewardship of the earth and that so many major animal species are now in danger of extinction?
The creation epic in Genesis 1 mentions God making "great sea creatures" and "beast[s] of the earth." The epilogue tells us that "God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good" (verse 31). What must God think of mankind's stewardship of the earth (see verse 28) and that so many major animal species are now in danger of extinction?
Take the awesomely beautiful tiger as a case in point. Writes Stuart Wavell in The Sunday Times: "In the forests of the night, the tiger is facing extinction. Its last great stronghold in India is under siege by rich men who grind its bones to make their bread."
Scarcely 3,000 Bengal tigers remain in India (2,500), Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. The Indochinese tiger is down to but 1,000, the Siberian 160, the Sumatran 400 and the South China tiger fewer than 50. Already extinct are the Ball tiger (gone since the 1940s), Caspian (1970s) and Javan (1980s). Reports from India estimate that Bengal tigers are killed at the rate of one a day. The earth boasted 80,000 tigers of all species in 1900. Fewer than 5,000 may remain.
In addition to the tiger, elephants are under siege in Africa and Asia. The white rhino is near extinction, with only about 7,500 left in Southern Africa. And, says one source, of the 11 great whale species, seven are on the danger list.
As far back as 1961 The Daily Mirror headlined the problem: "Doomed to Disappear From the Face of the Earth Due to Man's Folly, Greed, Neglect." Today illegal-wildlife trade rages out of control.” (Sources: The Sunday Times; The Independent; The Express.) From: http://www.ucg.org/news-and-prophecy/world-news-and-trends-major-species-jeopardy/ article by John Ross Schroeder, Scott Ashley
Jelly learns the 10 Commandments
The sermon on WGN this morning:
Bracing for the Beast
“Bible prophecy warns of the impending rise of a sinister world leader who will bring terror upon the globe. Learn more.:”
On This Day:
Skeleton of Tyrannosaurus rex discovered, Aug 12, 1990
“On this day in 1990, fossil hunter Susan Hendrickson discovers three huge bones jutting out of a cliff near Faith, South Dakota. They turn out to be part of the largest-ever Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever discovered, a 65 million-year-old specimen dubbed Sue, after its discoverer.
Amazingly, Sue's skeleton was over 90 percent complete, and the bones were extremely well-preserved. Hendrickson's employer, the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, paid $5,000 to the land owner, Maurice Williams, for the right to excavate the dinosaur skeleton, which was cleaned and transported to the company headquarters in Hill City. The institute's president, Peter Larson, announced plans to build a non-profit museum to display Sue along with other fossils of the Cretaceous period.
In 1992, a long legal battle began over Sue. The U.S. Attorney's Office claimed Sue's bones had been seized from federal land and were therefore government property. It was eventually found that Williams, a part-Native American and member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, had traded his land to the tribe two decades earlier to avoid paying property taxes, and thus his sale of excavation rights to Black Hills had been invalid. In October 1997, Chicago's Field Museum purchased Sue at public auction at Sotheby's in New York City for $8.36 million, financed in part by the McDonald's and Disney corporations.
Sue's skeleton went on display at the Field Museum in May 2000. The tremendous T.rex skeleton--13 feet high at the hips and 42 feet long from head to toe--is displayed in one of the museum's main halls. Another exhibit gives viewers a close-up view of Sue's five foot-long, 2,000-pound skull with its 58 teeth, some as long as a human forearm.
Sue's extraordinarily well-preserved bones have allowed scientists to determine many things about the life of T.rex. They have determined that the carnivorous dinosaur had an incredible sense of smell, as the olfactory bulbs were each bigger than the cerebrum, the thinking part of the brain. In addition, Sue was the first T.rex skeleton to be discovered with a wishbone, a crucial discovery that provided support for scientists’ theory that birds are a type of living dinosaur. One thing that remains unknown is Sue's actual gender; to determine this, scientists would have to compare many more T.rex skeletons than the 22 that have been found so far.”
Jay and I had planned to go to the morning service at the Conroe Church of God, in Cut-N-Shoot. Then he called to say that he had spilled a pot of hot coffee on his foot and couldn’t go. In a way I was glad, as I had woken up not feeling too chipper. After tending to the puppies, Misty and Prime, I bathed, washed my hair, and went back to bed for an hour.
When I woke up I felt better, so I dressed, took care of the animals again, and went to the afternoon service at the Willis Church of God. Instead of Bible Study as this was the third Sabbath of the month, it was the day that they have their Bible Trivia game based on Jeopardy. This time the two teams were divided up in age groups, the under and the older 30 years old. We all have a lot of fun with that, and everyone learns. The under 30’s won.
We had the usual prayers for those in need. One was for a little boy with leukemia who was not expected to live more than a couple of days. How sad. The band played some good songs of praise for us all to sing, the words were on a screen behind them. Then any members who wish to do something go up on the stage. One was a young boy who painfully, falteringly played a hymn on the piano. We all clapped, even though it wasn’t very good, as one has to give him credit for trying and doing it in front of all the people. Then there was a little girl, maybe 5 years old, who sang very well.
The sermon was about ‘One Body, Many Parts’, and a lot of 1 Cor.11-13 was quoted by Andrew the church member who gave the sermon. He had been a missionary in Zambia, and he had brought a lovely wife back with him many years ago. They have a little 4 year old girl who sang the 23rd Psalm while he accompanied her on the guitar during the earlier recitals.
The children are very involved in these services, but the Pastor had to remind the parents with fussy little ones to get them into the nursery, as sometimes they can be heard in the sermons which are all video recorded and up on the web, eventually. http://www.youtube.com/user/Cog7TheWay
I hadn’t intended to stay and eat the pot-luck with the congregation, but they were all so friendly and uplifting that I didn’t want to leave right away. I couldn’t stay too long as I had to get back to feed the puppies again for their third meal of the day.