For “Scripture Sunday”:
Are You Connected?
“ It seems these days that anywhere you go you can stay in touch. What about spiritually speaking? ”
“In our increasingly digital, internet-connected world, do you there may be any place in this world today where one could go and not be connected?
I used to think so until recently on a trip to Kenya in East Africa. After visiting with members of the United Church of God during the Feast of Tabernacles we took a trip into the remote area of the Masai Mara game preserve for a couple of days of viewing the big game animals. And as we were leaving the game preserve and driving out, back to Nairobi, through the Masai tribal areas, I was struck by just how remote we really were there in East Africa. No electrical wires, no towns, nothing other than mud, thatched-roofed buildings belonging to the tribesmen, their goats, their cattle, the people of the Masai tribes there in East Africa, where in their life, the measure of one's wealth is measured by the number of cows that you have.
And we were driving along through this and just looking at it I realized we are out in the middle of nowhere so to speak, and then I picked up my smartphone and I turned it on and I had a digital signal. In fact, I had a very strong digital signal. I could connect to the internet. And it taught me a lesson and made me realize that in one sense no matter where we are in today's world, yes, we can be connected.
But it also drew me to a spiritual reminder of something in the book of Psalms, number 139 where it talks about the fact that there's really no place we can go at all on this Earth and in this life and not be connected with God in heaven. In Psalms 139:7 the question is asked, "Where can I go from Your spirit, or where can I flee from Your presence?" The answer really is there's no place that we can go and not be connected to God. It says, "If I ascend into heaven You are there. If I make my bed in hell, behold You're there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me and Your right hand shall hold me" (Psalm 139:8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. See All...).
And so I learned a lesson driving through the wilderness, the desolate areas of East Africa in the Masai tribal areas that just as we can be connected globally through the internet even in these remote areas, we can always be connected with God no matter where we are spiritually - remotely gone, or distanced in some ways in our life from God our Father.
We can be connected with Him through prayer and by going to Him and asking for that help and that understanding. That's God's promise and that's God's word. And it's a very encouraging one and one we don't want to forget. That's BT Daily . Join us next time.” From: http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-daily/christian-living/are-you-connected
Halloween: Should Christians Celebrate It?
“Where did Halloween and its dark and demonic themes come from? What is its relationship to All Saints’ Day, and should Christians celebrate Halloween?
Should Christians celebrate Halloween?
Halloween, with its dark and demonic themes, seems an unlikely holiday for Christians to celebrate. Yet it has become increasingly popular in America and other countries, marketed as a harmless dress-up night for kids and an excuse to party for adults. Where did Halloween come from?
Origin of Halloween
“The Celtic festival of Samhain is probably the source of the present-day Halloween celebration. The Celts lived more than 2,000 years ago in what is now Great Britain, Ireland, and northern France. Their new year began on November 1. A festival that began the previous evening honored Samhain, the Celtic lord of death. The celebration marked the beginning of the season of cold, darkness, and decay. It naturally became associated with human death. The Celts believed that Samhain allowed the souls of the dead to return to their earthly homes for this evening” (The World Book Encyclopedia, 1990, article “Halloween”).
It seems costumes of animal heads and skins played a part in their celebration, as well as fortune telling using the remains of the animals that were sacrificed. So how did this gory pagan holiday become associated with Christianity?
“Many of the customs of the Celts survived even after the people became Christians. During the 800’s, the church established All Saints’ Day on November 1. … The people made the old pagan customs part of this Christian holy day” (ibid.).
Halloween: A celebration of evil
In spite of its marketing as innocent entertainment for children, Halloween remains a celebration of evil, not a fitting holiday for Christians to celebrate. From: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/plan-of-salvation/holy-days-vs-holidays/halloween/
Holy Days: Who Makes Them Holy?
“Can humans designate which days will be holy? Or is creating holy days something only the holy Creator God can do?
Christians have always had the freedom to decide whether to obey God or not and when to pray, study the Bible, fast and practice spiritual meditation. In reference to choices about vegetarianism and fasting, Paul wrote: “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks” (Romans 14:5-6).
But these prerogatives of free moral agency in our relationship with God do not extend to determining which days are God’s holy days. While we may choose when we will exercise personal spiritual activities, God is the one who determines holy time that supersedes human choice.
In teaching the ancient Israelites about His feasts, He instructed Moses, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts’” (Leviticus 23:2, also see verse 4). The first of these divinely appointed days deriving their authority and existence from God Himself is the weekly Sabbath. As God stated, “‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings’” (verse 3).
The weekly Sabbath and holy days are similar in that we are not to do our customary work on these days (Leviticus 23:3, 7, 8, 21, 25, 28, 35, 36). They are to be observed from “evening to evening” (verse 32), meaning “from sunset … to sunset” as the Good News Translation renders the passage.
Some have mistakenly thought that because there is no physically discernible difference between a holy day designated by God and any other day, humans can decide when to hold special celebrations to worship Him.
Representing this line of reasoning, some say that Christians today can simply choose one day in seven to worship God. This mistaken way of thinking overlooks the fact that God gave very specific dates for each of His days of worship. He didn’t say, choose one day out of seven or choose seven different times in the year for My annual holy days according to what best fits your schedule or just make up your own days of worship.
If God intended to give humans the right to alter the dates of His feasts or make up their own days, He certainly could have seen that this was written in the Bible. But He didn’t do this. Instead, He was very clear about the specific days that were His holy days and about His expectation that these days be observed.
For example, God told the ancient Israelites that the Sabbath was to be observed even during the times of plowing and harvest—critical times for farmers (Exodus 34:21). Furthermore, those who broke the Sabbath were to be put to death (Exodus 35:2). While this command is not enforced today, it does illustrate the importance God placed and continues to place on this day.
As for the Day of Atonement (one of God’s holy days), God said, “For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people” (Leviticus 23:29-30).
Ancient Israel’s example
In spite of God’s clear instructions as to which days should be kept holy, the ancient Israelites tried establishing their own days of worship with tragic results.
Throughout their history, the ancient Israelites dishonored God by abandoning His prescribed days, by establishing their own days of worship similar to God’s, by practicing syncretism—that is, trying to combine the worship of God with the pagan practices of other nations—and by outright idol worship (Jeremiah 17:21-23, 27; Exodus 32:1-5; 1 Kings 12:32-33; Zephaniah 1:4-6). Because of these sins, God allowed both Israel and Judah to go into captivity.
When it comes to holy time, we also note something very important about the Sabbath command. God said, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). The clear instruction from God is that we are to respect this specific day by keeping it—not merely a day of our choosing—holy. God is the One who designates His holy days.
Read more about God’s holy days in this section on how God’s holy days reveal His plan of salvation.” From: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/plan-of-salvation/holy-days-vs-holidays/holy-days/
This morning’s sermon on WGN: Where Are You God?
“Do you struggle in connecting to God? Learn how to build and maintain a more effective and meaningful relationship with Him.”
On This Day:
USS Constitution launched, Oct 21, 1797:
“The USS Constitution, a 44-gun U.S. Navy frigate built to fight Barbary pirates off the coast of Tripoli, is launched in Boston Harbor. The vessel performed commendably during the Barbary conflicts, and in 1805 a peace treaty with Tripoli was signed on the Constitution's deck.
During the War of 1812, the Constitution won its enduring nickname "Old Ironsides" after defeating the British warship Guerriére in a furious engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia. Witnesses claimed that the British shots merely bounced off the Constitution's sides, as if the ship were made of iron rather than wood. The success of the Constitution against the supposedly invincible Royal Navy provided a tremendous morale boost for the young American republic.
In 1855, the Constitution retired from active military service, but the famous vessel continued to serve the United States, first as a training ship and later as a touring national landmark.
Since 1934, it has been based at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston. Over the years, Old Ironsides has enjoyed a number of restorations, the most recent of which was completed in 1997, allowing it to sail for the first time in 116 years. Today, the Constitution is one of the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat.”
Oct 21, 1959:
Guggenheim Museum opens in New York City
“On this day in 1959, on New York City's Fifth Avenue, thousands of people line up outside a bizarrely shaped white concrete building that resembled a giant upside-down cupcake. It was opening day at the new Guggenheim Museum, home to one of the world's top collections of contemporary art.
Mining tycoon Solomon R. Guggenheim began collecting art seriously when he retired in the 1930s. With the help of Hilla Rebay, a German baroness and artist, Guggenheim displayed his purchases for the first time in 1939 in a former car showroom in New York. Within a few years, the collection—including works by Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Marc Chagall—had outgrown the small space. In 1943, Rebay contacted architect Frank Lloyd Wright and asked him to take on the work of designing not just a museum, but a "temple of spirit," where people would learn to see art in a new way.
Over the next 16 years, until his death six months before the museum opened, Wright worked to bring his unique vision to life. To Wright's fans, the museum that opened on October 21, 1959, was a work of art in itself. Inside, a long ramp spiraled upwards for a total of a quarter-mile around a large central rotunda, topped by a domed glass ceiling. Reflecting Wright's love of nature, the 50,000-meter space resembled a giant seashell, with each room opening fluidly into the next.
Wright's groundbreaking design drew criticism as well as admiration. Some felt the oddly-shaped building didn't complement the artwork. They complained the museum was less about art and more about Frank Lloyd Wright. On the flip side, many others thought the architect had achieved his goal: a museum where building and art work together to create "an uninterrupted, beautiful symphony."
Located on New York's impressive Museum Mile, at the edge of Central Park, the Guggenheim has become one of the city's most popular attractions. In 1993, the original building was renovated and expanded to create even more exhibition space. Today, Wright's creation continues to inspire awe, as well as odd comparisons—a Jello mold! a washing machine! a pile of twisted ribbon!—for many of the 900,000-plus visitors who visit the Guggenheim each year.”
On our usual Saturday morning phone call, my daughter and I talked for a long time about our different plans. Hers, for selling their house and moving to their lake house at Lake Somerville, and mine for selling my house and moving into an RV.
Then it was time for me to get Prime ready to go to Adoption Day, so I fed her breakfast on the screen porch, and closed the screen door, so she couldn’t get back into the house, while I got ready for church.
When Chris’ car arrived I saw Prime jump out of her screen porch bed, she knows the sound of that car. Chris and I searched and searched but we couldn’t find Prime anywhere on the porch, so Chris had to leave without her. I had to leave her there while I went to the Willis church, as she wouldn’t come out of her hidey-hole, wherever it was.
The Bible Study was about ‘The Purpose of the Gifts of the Spirit’, 1 Cor 12:7. And the sermon was about ‘Prepare for the Resurrection’ and ask “Lord, what do you want me to do?” Rev 20 4-7. I hadn’t been to the Willis church for a couple of weeks, as Jay and I went to the Conroe church the week before. He didn’t go with me this time. It was good to see the members again, but I knew I had to get back home to bottle feed the little kitten, and look for Prime, so I didn’t stay for the pot-luck.
When I got home, there was Prime on the screen porch, she had found a super place to hide, as she didn’t want to go to Adoption Day!