For "Scripture Sunday":
Purim, Jews and Netanyahu's Warning
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech this week comes at the same time as the Jewish festival of Purim. Interesting." http://youtu.be/P1VGqQr1Yoo
"The news that I’ve been watching is abuzz with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled speech before the United States Congress this week. You know, it’s interesting – I didn’t realize it until putting together some of the dates that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech just two days before the Jewish celebration of Purim, an ancient celebration that dates all the way back to an event in the book of Esther in the Bible during the ancient Persian Empire. The Jews were in captivity and Persia was the big kid on the block.
Back at that time, there was an effort made that is told in the book of Esther to exterminate the Jews. It’s history’s first holocaust. Anti-Semitism is a very, very old evil. In Esther:3:13, it makes this one statement, and I think it captures the danger that was there for the Jews in the Persian Empire at the time, that “letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is in the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions.” Again, history’s first effort to exterminate the Jews. The story in Esther shows that it didn’t happen due to the courage of the young Jewess named Esther, who along with her uncle Mordecai thwarted the effort that was being hatched at that time."
Thoughts on Netanyahu's Speech.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
"A few thoughts about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech before a joint session of Congress.
The Prime Minister gave what may go down to be considered a "Churchillian" speech that warned the world, not just America, of the danger posed by a nuclear-armed Iranian regime. It comes at a time when America and other nations seem willing to lift sanctions against Iran and give them time to continue developing a nuclear weapons capability. We are living in dangerous times, and this speech took the full measure of the moment.
Netanyahu clearly said that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable to Israel. He also was clear that sanctions against the nation should not be lifted. Israel, he said, will not be passive. They will defend themselves. The Jewish people are capable of defending themselves, even if they must stand alone.
Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. Both want to impose a militant regime, first on the region and then on the rest of the world. Their only contest is who will rule this regime. America should not think that Iran is an ally in opposing ISIS. The enemy of your enemy is your enemy!
He went on to say the greatest danger facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To win the battle against ISIS and allow Iran nuclear weapons will be to lose the war. That cannot be allowed to happen.
While Israel is a firm ally of America and the relationship is long and strong, at the end it is not a direct party to the negotiations with Iran. Other larger nations are making decisions that will impact the future of Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East. It is almost like they are pawns in a larger struggle. The outcome of the moves being made are unclear.
Netanyahu made references in his speech that mark the common heritage America and Israel have. Both countries, he said, are founded on the hope of a promised land offering the hope of freedom for its people. He mentioned a Robert Frost poem and standing at the fork of two rods as he described the momentous time before us. At the end of the speech he motioned to the depiction of Moses on the wall of the House chamber and quoted the prophet, saying, "Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them".
This common heritage is far deeper than the Prime Minister and his audience understands. The destiny of the two nations is linked by roots that go deep into the story of mankind. The God of Abraham is guiding both nations.
It was a speech that laid out a clear warning of what Iran is capable of doing if it gets a nuclear weapon. Currently Iran is achieving its aims on at least five fronts in the Middle East. If it is unshackled and freed to pursue a nuclear weapon it will create an imbalance of power in the region that will rework the boundaries for everyone.
My reference to Winston Churchill at the top compares today's speech to those warnings given by Churchill during the late 1930s when Nazi Germany was rearming and threatening the peace of Europe. There is a difference. Churchill gave those speeches in Parliament, and the Prime Minister of England was present and listened. Today, President Obama was not in the House chamber. Reports said he was busy doing other work and did not hear the speech. Too bad. He missed a significant warning. Let's hope others were listening." From: http://www.ucg.org/blog/thoughts-netanyahus-speech-today/ by Darris McNeely.
As one commenter remarked "Mr. Churchill was ignored and considered a nuisance in the 1930s for his persistent warnings regarding the re-armament and ambitions of Nazi Germany. War came and he was still sidelined. It wasn't until one of our allies was attacked that we found ourselves immersed in a war that was to become worldwide that Mr. Churchill was listened to. I fear the same thing is happening today."
Wanting That New Car Smellby Clyde Kilough, Editor, Discern Magazine.
"Is anyone out there who can drive the car?
President Barack Obama surprised a lot of people recently when, interviewed on ABC television, he candidly acknowledged Americans are ready for a new leader. They want “that new car smell,” he said, continuing the metaphor with, “They want to drive something off the lot that doesn’t have as much mileage as me.”
It’s really about the driver, though, not the car, so Americans will soon start searching for the next savior who they hope can take the wheel and successfully negotiate the dangerous challenges they face. Every candidate will promise they have the skills, but history says they’ll end up where Mr. Obama is now, having basked in the glory of the great office, only to later wither under the heated scrutiny of one’s ineffectiveness.
Buckle your seat belts when you’re going off the cliff?
The president is hardly alone. Leaders around the world today share that fate, as they grapple with problems that are simply bigger than their abilities to solve them. Our lead article, “The State of the World 2015,” highlights four serious global threats. We could have written about eight or 12—so many are looming that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon alerted the world that its “fasten seat belt” warning light is on! Transportation analogies must be the flavor-of-the-month imagery of world leaders.
Well, I don’t know about you, but fastening my seat belt as the world teeters on the edge doesn’t boost my sense of security one bit! I’m more concerned with who’s driving—who knows how to back us away from the precipice? Who can show a little problem solving? Who can chart a new course for a better future? Who can rally us around that common cause? I don’t see anyone. Do you?
Of all the perils the world faces, perhaps the greatest is the dearth of leaders who have the ability, knowledge and power to do anything about them!
The time for change is not just for Americans— the whole world needs a new leader, someone else to drive the car.
When problems outstrip solutions
Do you want that “new car smell”? After thousands of years now, is human government smelling pretty old? Then it’s time to look elsewhere—for a new driver, Jesus Christ, and the coming Kingdom of God!" More at: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/discern/jan-feb-2015/wanting-that-new-car-smell/
Sticks and Stones: 6 Ways to Improve Your Words
"The old saying that “words can never hurt me” is far from reality. How can we make sure our words aren’t destructive but are a force for good?
It happened in the cereal aisle. I was so stunned that I stood there, frozen in place, shocked by the cruelty of a mother’s words.
The store was crowded, and we were taking turns working our way down the aisle. A mother and a couple of children took their turn. The mom told a girl about 12 years old to reach an item on a lower shelf. The girl reached down to get the item.
As her hand touched the item she thought her mother wanted, the mother screamed at her using a string of profanity and asked if she was stupid. She then proclaimed she had to do everything herself, pushed past the girl and got the item she wanted.
The girl did not react except to back out of the way. She wrapped her arms around her body and, with an emotionless mask on her face, walked down the aisle behind her grumbling mother. She was apparently used to the cruelty of the woman’s words.
We’re probably very familiar with the adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” In reality, words can hurt worse and leave more debilitating wounds than a stick or stone.
God’s view on words
How important is it to God that we use our words positively? Matthew 12:36 and 37 tell us that we will be justified or condemned by every idle word we speak." More at: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/relationships/communication/sticks-and-stones/
Author Gary Smalley said, “Affirming [encouraging] words from moms and dads are like light switches. Speak a word of affirmation at the right moment in a child’s life and it’s like lighting up a whole roomful of possibilities.”
An Amazing Fact: "For about 500 years the Roman Empire was the undisputed military powerhouse that conquered most of the Western world. This was in part due to their heavy investment in their military and war machines. Today, there are about 195 countries in the world, and most spend something for their military budget. Of all these countries, however, the United States of America spends the most, taking up 42 percent of the world’s military expenditures. In other words, almost half of the world’s military investment is made by one country!
If you added up the military budgets of Europe, China, Russia, Japan, the Middle East, Australia, East Asia, and Latin America, you’d still have a sum less than what the United States spends on its armed forces. For example, just in 2010 the United States spent $680 billion on the military, whereas the country in second place, China, spent only $85 billion. Interestingly, while the U.S. military budget accounts for 40 percent of global arms spending, it is made up of 4.06 percent of its GDP, which is more than France’s 2.6 percent and less than Saudi Arabia’s 10 percent. It’s actually low for the United States, which used 37.8 percent of the GDP in 1944. Its lowest point was 3 percent in 1999- 2001. But, of course, the word “low” is a relative term when you look at the huge amount spent. No wonder the United States remains, by far, the most powerfully armed nation on Earth— and the “world’s only military superpower.”
The book of Revelation identifies two beasts in the last days that will try to compel a uniform international worship. It will certainly require a large military to enforce this. The Bible says, “So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’” (Revelation 13:4). In describing the beast of the earth, John wrote, “He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed” (Revelation 13:15). What nation on Earth has the power to enforce such legislation?
KEY BIBLE TEXTS: For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. - Psalms 44:6
Borrowed from Facebook
Why is Texas weather so unpredictable and what kind of insane weather can we expect next?
"Texas weather is so unpredictable because of all the fronts coming through. I mean we have cold fronts and hot fronts coming from both side of the continent all the time. That's why its hot one minute then thunder storming the next. So we're not really expecting anything majorly crazy but when you live in Texas you never know."
Borrowed from Jake.
Another week of yo-yo weather. Partly nice, partly rainy, partly just bloody cold!!
On Monday, Ray and I went to the western edge of Houston to pick up a navy blue Dodge Caravan that was advertised. Very disappointing. It was a ratty piece of garbage especially for only 9 years old. Engine light on, oily tailpipe, and the filthy headliner was ripped all the way from front to back twice and hanging down. The seats had holes, and were dirty. It was advertised as 'near new' tires, but some were weather cracked. Why would anyone let a car get in that shape, and especially try to sell it like that. Seeing that awful van made me appreciate Sam's red one that I have been looking at, as it is clean and neat. My 200,000+ mile Puddle Jumper (88 Mercury Tracer Wagon) is 28 years old but the engine, transmission, cloth door upholstery, cloth seats, floor carpet and exterior are still good. No tears, rips or worn spots.
It wasn't a wasted trip, on the way back through Houston we stopped at the laminate place at Garden Oaks and picked up a 12' long piece of Formica for Ray's kitchen. Maybe when the weather straightens up we will be able to remodel his kitchen.
Honesty pays!! Two weeks ago, I had taken Sam, the neighbor down the street who had the red Dodge Caravan to the Dodge dealer to get a key made, as he had lost his. He also paid for a remote to be made. The van has to be taken to the Dodge dealer for them to make the remote, but it couldn't be driven there because of it's present condition.
Well, once we had a key I was able to drive it to my place to check it out. As I said on Feb 23rd, I had decided that there was too much wrong with it, at that price, even though I liked it. Well, I went back to the Dodge house to get the refund for the remote for Sam, as he has had a stroke and can't do a lot of things. He is very difficult to understand unless you know him. When I took him the $100.08 for the remote, he said that because I was so honest that he wanted me to have the van at a very discounted price. I jumped on it, paid him, and he signed the title and 'Application for a TX Title'. On Friday, my insurance company gave me a temporary binder, so I got new tags and had it transferred into my name. It is now all mine.
Some of the problems that we thought it had have turned out to be not so bad. The engine light went off, must be the 2¼ qts. of oil that I had put in it that fixed that. Found out that the airbag light is not required to be off to pass inspection. Being vertically challenged, I sit so close to the steering wheel that I don't know if I want it working or not. The blower motor is going to be replaced by the mechanic down the street, that should make that quiet. Not quite sure if it is the heater core that is leaking, as I also found out that the gasket on that side of the windshield has come out of position. Our local glass shop can fix that. I moved it into the carport out of the rain, so we should be able to find out. It will still need a new set of tires, servicing, then the tranny, engine, front end, belts, hoses etc. checked out. But those are things that anyone would do for a vehicle that is 'new' to them.
Ray and I slipped between the rain drops and put a new lock on the shed to match all the other new aluminum colored door locks and deadbolts around here. The brass ones had tarnished and looked terrible.
I went to church by myself with a crockpot full of turkey chili and beans. It went down well in such chilly weather. The Bible readings were Psa.145,147, Exo.30:11-34:35, 1 Kings 18:1-59 and 2 Cor. 3:1-18. The teaching was about The Passover Sacrifice. 1 Cor. 5:7 says that the Messiah is our Passover sacrifice, and Passover is about 4 weeks away. Before Passover, the last person to offer a sacrifice to the God of his father Isaac, was Jacob. The first Passover service offered lamb as a memorial and the Passover was kept by Jesus and his disciples (Matt.26:17-29, Luke 22) before and after His death, and is still kept today. Jesus said "Do this in remembrance of me". Luke 22:19
As always, we all had a good feed and conversation in the dining hall.
Now, it is raining, again, and will be tomorrow, all day.