For "Scripture Sunday":
The Kingdom of God:
A Message Christianity Ignores
"The Gospel accounts are very clear about the focus of Christ’s message. Yet the gospel of the Kingdom of God is nearly absent from Christianity today.
The Kingdom of God is currently in heaven. But it will be established on earth when Jesus returns.
"The myriad of churches that make up Christianity profess that their religion is based on Jesus Christ. Nearly all claim Him as their founder and say that their teachings are based on what He said and did 2,000 years ago. But, sadly, there are many doctrines where mainstream Christianity ignores or actually rejects the teachings of Jesus Christ.
This month’s column makes a bold assertion: Mainstream Christianity does not teach the same message that Jesus Christ brought when He walked the earth 2,000 years ago.
Jesus had a central message that formed the basis for His entire ministry and teachings.
He pinpointed this central message in the heart of His most famous sermon—the Sermon on the Mount. He made a statement about what should be the highest priority for His followers: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33, emphasis added).
Jesus Christ’s words are clear—the Kingdom of God is to be the No. 1 focus and emphasis in the lives of His followers. In fact, it was the core of His gospel message.
Christ’s gospel was not just about Himself
Gospel is a common word in the Christian world. Some think of it in connection with a genre of religious music, but most understand that it describes a message. It literally means a message of good news. Most churches include the word gospel in their mission statements. Typically, the gospel is described as the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is seen as the message of His life, death and resurrection. (You can see this by doing a Google search of the mission statements of different denominations of Christianity.)
But was this the central message that Jesus actually taught? Was His message only about Himself?
A study of the Gospel accounts of Christ’s life pinpoints exactly what His message—His gospel—was all about!
Notice Mark 1:14: “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.” That statement is pretty plain—Jesus preached the gospel about the Kingdom of God!
There are many scriptures that reinforce this fact. For example, Matthew 9:35 says, “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom.”
At one point in His ministry, Jesus was about to leave an area where He had been preaching for some time. The people of that area tried to persuade Him not to go (Luke 4:42). Jesus’ response was, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent” (verse 43).
Let that sink in.
Jesus Christ said that one of His primary purposes for coming to earth was to preach about the Kingdom of God! That was His gospel. That was His message. That was His purpose. That is what drove Him.
When we understand that the thrust of Christ’s message centered on the Kingdom of God, we understand better why He made the statement in Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the kingdom of God.” He tells us to seek first the Kingdom because the Kingdom of God was His primary message.
This message is about the literal establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth at the second coming of Jesus Christ. See our infographic on page 29 to learn more details about what the Kingdom of God is.
But where is that message in mainstream Christianity today?" More at: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/kingdom-of-god/a-message-christianity-ignores/
Don’t Copy Pagan Ways of Worship
“When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”
God knew the traps that Satan lays with alluring ways of worship. He warned His people not to neglect His clear instructions about how He wants to be worshipped. He tells us to never assume that He would like to be worshipped in the way those who worship other gods worship them.
Yet Israel continually fell into this trap, creating a syncretistic religion that combined some elements of biblical commands with the religious customs of the people around them.
Looking at the history of Christianity, it becomes evident that a similar process took place, as pre-Christian customs and celebrations were accepted by much of Christianity, though rejected by those who remained faithful to the teachings of the apostles and prophets." More at: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/dont-copy-pagan-ways-of-worship/ By Erik Jones
10 Ways to Unknowingly Crush Your Cat’s Spirit
by Kathy Blumenstock
"Famously independent, sometimes falsely assumed to be immune to feelings, cats are in truth super-sensitive to emotions, sound and stress. Perhaps because felines lack the eager-to-please openness of their canine colleagues, humans overlook the big and small ways that they can break a cat’s spirit. Are you guilty of any of these?
Not Cleaning the Litter Box: Leave the box filled with kitty’s waste because some new litters promise freshness for multiple days--so you wait till the weekend for that dreaded chore of cleaning the litter box. Imagine leaving your own toilet unflushed all week long, and you’ll know how your cat feels.
Shouting: Raised voices will terrify your cat. Feline ears are extra sensitive to loud noises, so yelling is amplified to extreme levels. A cat who hears shouting will flatten her ears, lower her head and look for a place to hide, away from the sound and fury.
Punishing: Yelling “bad cat,” throwing things, motioning in anger and scolding your cat when she misses the litter box or claws your sofa, tells her you are unhappy, even if she has no idea why. Grabbing him and shoving her face in a mess will leave her petrified. Her eyes will darken in fear, but will not alter her displeasing behavior because all you’re teaching her is to be afraid.
Ignoring The Pain: Looking away when your cat repeatedly chews at a sore spot on her belly or furiously scratches at her ears. Cats are masters at hiding their discomfort, whether an infected tooth makes eating difficult or a urinary tract infection means litter box visits are pure agony. Monitoring your cat’s wellbeing means being a pain detective so you know what ails your cat, even if she can’t tell you directly.
Leaving the Lights Off: Left alone in a silent home when darkness falls, your cat will feel abandoned. Yes, cats can see in the dark. But why not provide a radio for murmured sounds of companionship, and a nightlight, a small beacon of brightness to remind Tabby that you’ll be home soon.
Teasing: Pulling on your cat’s tail (or letting your kids do so), blowing in her face, ruffling her fur while she’s sleeping, picking her up if she dislikes being handled, jiggling her in your arms—such antagonizing behavior confuses and depresses your cat, who wants to love you. Why goad her into feeling dislike instead?
Skipping the Small Stuff: Never grooming your cat, allowing her to experience the discomfort of hairballs. Not trimming her claws, so she snags them around the house. Not checking her ears for mites, even when she shakes her head repeatedly. Ignoring her problems chewing, even if it signals gum or tooth trouble. The little things add up and can deplete your cat’s energy and health.
Hurting: Hitting, kicking, physically harming a cat in any way, from a “light tap” to a hard smack, is inhumane, evil, morally wrong and guaranteed to instill fear in any cat, breaking her spirit, and her heart, in the process. Physical pain teaches cats to fear people.
Not Filling or Cleaning the Water Dish: Filling a small bowl with water and letting the cat drink from it no matter how long it sits, how much dust accumulates, what spills into it, then topping off the same bowl a few days from now without washing it—this gives your cat the opportunity to drink stagnant water, down to the last drop. And how many times have you enjoyed a bottled water today?
Neglecting Your Cat: Offering your cat no attention, no conversation, no affection, no interaction and no playtime leaves your cat confused. She craves even the smallest gesture or word of kindness in exchange for her pure devotion to you."
As it was raining, Jay wrapped a piece of the inner tube over the drain leak, secured it with the clamps, and it held really well. Then he spent the rest of the week working on his neighbor's porch roof, which he couldn't do in the rain.
This has been a week of painting.
One day, Ray painted some places on the shed that the previous painter had forgotten.
Another day, Ray painted the back door. We have gradually been painting all the doors, including the shed door, with a blue/gray paint to match the trim on the house.
Another day, we painted some places on the back of my van, where the paint had worn off.
Then we worked on the Puddle Jumper.
See that black trim around the windows? It had faded over the years, after all the PJ is an 88 Tracer! So we taped the car up, just leaving the trim showing, primed it and sprayed it with Hammered Black. It looks like new now.
Yesterday, I went to church, and the readings were Gen.18:1-22:24 and 2 Kings 4:1-37 and Psa. 20. The teaching was about Obedience to God, and the pastor quoted so many of the verses where God asks us to be obedient. Obedience is the Key to Spiritual Knowledge.
The pot luck was great as usual. The new family didn't share our food as some of it had been cooked just before the service. They are real sticklers about the Sabbath, they won't cook on the Sabbath, they will only eat what has been prepared the day before, Preparation Day, Friday.
I drove home to take Ray a plate from the church, as he couldn't leave his house in case his illegal squatter showed up to get more of her things. We will be so glad when all this is over.
Then I drove to Luby's in Conroe, and met Arlene from the RV-Dreams chat room. http://www.rv-dreams.com/chatroom.html. About 50 RVers were having a GTG there. I didn't eat as I was already full from the church potluck, but I enjoyed listening to everybody. Lots of the RVers were staying at Thousand Trails, Conroe. Many of the full-timers are gate-guarding at different locations. Like anytime RVers get together, there was incessant chatter. This is to show how the great big long table looked:
These pictures were taken with my new cell phone, so they aren't the best. Then I scurried home, and only just got there before dark. There was a wonderful and unusual sunset, and I wish I had stopped along on the road to take a picture, because it was gone by the time I got home.
It was a very special day.