Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bullying: What Can You Do to Help Your Child? Could Our Kids Become Bullies? Toxic Friendships?

For “Scripture Sunday”, (late again as it is Tuesday!)

Bullying: What Can You Do to Help Your Child?

“The more proactive parents can be in educating their children about bullying, the more confident and better-equipped children will be at handling these situations in a positive manner throughout their lives.

Bullying: What Can You Do to Help Your Child?

School shootings and other violence continue to make students, parents and school staff concerned about school safety. Newscasts often report students saying a school shooter was bullied. Whether or not bullying is a contributing factor in these terrible situations, parents want to know what they can do to help their children if they are being bullied.

To begin, we must understand the definition of bullying. Bullying is hurtful, purposeful behavior that happens over and over again. Bullying can take many forms, such as physical harm, exclusion, ridicule, teasing, threatening and name-calling.

Sometimes these actions happen in regular peer relationships, but it becomes bullying when it happens consistently over time. This can cause a child to refuse to attend school, to have nightmares or to become withdrawn.

There are things you and your children can do if they are being bullied or if they see someone being bullied.

What you and your children can do if they are being bullied:

In any trial, God must be the starting point. Review biblical stories about problems and how God helped His people triumph over wickedness, such as:

  • Joseph and his brothers.
  • David and Goliath.
  • Israel being delivered from Egypt.

Teach your child to “be strong and of good courage” by proactively praying about the situation and believing that God will intervene (Joshua 1:5-7). Help your child learn how to rely on God for help to

Continued at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/relationships/parenting/bullying-what-can-you-do-to-help-your-child/

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Could Our Kids Become Bullies?

“How can we help our children avoid the temptations that can lead to treating others unkindly or even bullying others?

Could Our Kids Become Bullies?

School systems are cracking down on bullying as much as they can with awareness programs and zero tolerance measures. Yet, realistically, there are too many kids and too few staff members to really prevent bullying.

As Christians, what can we do to help teach our children the importance of not excluding people or bullying?

The problem

Think for a moment of all the pain and misery caused by bullying. Since many suffer quietly, the terrible effects are often overlooked until someone is pushed to the breaking point of a mental breakdown, suicide or violence. But many more lives and psyches are damaged by this terrible scourge.

Are we, our friends or our children in any way contributing to this?

What are our words and example telling our children about how to treat others? Our example can play a role in promoting or preventing bullying. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Do I joke about someone who is socially awkward? Do I try to avoid inviting him or her to events?
  2. Do I insult someone consistently in my own group of people I am comfortable with?
  3. Do I try to make others look stupid in front of a group of people?
  4. What is my child doing at school? Who does my child hang out with at school, and how does he or she talk about the other kids? Does my child sit with the overweight kid who gets several insults a day, or does my child join in with the insults?
Christ’s example

Jesus Christ hated bullying, and if we are trying to model our lives after Christ’s life, we also should hate the ideas of bullying and excluding people from social circles. In Mark 2:16-17, we see an example of Jesus Christ defending the “outcasts” and scolding the “in crowd.”

“And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, ‘How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard it, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.’”

Continued at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/relationships/parenting/could-our-kids-become-bullies/

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Toxic Friendships?

“Everyone wants and needs friends. But not all friendships are created equal—some are true and some are toxic. What if our friends are really hurting us?

Toxic Friendships

Friendship is important to everyone. We seek friends very early in childhood; and if we are lucky, some of those early friendships may stay with us for life!

King Solomon wrote, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).

Unfortunately, not all friendships are created equal. Some friendships produce a very positive impact on us, while others do not. It is the difference between one that is a true friend and one that is not.

What makes a true friend, and how do you know when you have one or are one? Is it possible to have a friendship that is actually hurting you?

A toxic friendship can cause a lot of damage, emotionally, mentally, even physically. Here’s how you can tell the difference.

No boundaries

Are you someone who struggles to say “no” to others? If so, you are a likely target for a toxic relationship. There are always people waiting to take advantage of others. They will push you to do things that you are uncomfortable with, even things you know are wrong. They want to talk about things you don’t want to talk about, encourage you to spend money you don’t have—especially for them!”

Continued at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/relationships/friendship/toxic-friendships/

Learn more about building good friendships by reading the other articles in this section, “Friendship: Keys to Finding and Keeping Good Friends.”

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Update.

It’s been a busy week as usual.  The walls are painted a pale yellow, (I don’t know why it isn’t pale yellow in the picture), and the windows and doors are now trimmed with wood. All the window sills are in.

DSCF1623-001 DSCF1625-001

The vent-a-hood has been painted brushed nickel to match the brushed nickel light in the kitchen.  That is a white celing… what is it with my camera!

DSCF1628-001DSCF1541-001

And the sanding continues on the big 6-foot tall shelf unit that is going on the back wall in between the two windows.  These shelves are 16” deep  and I hope to put my bedroom TV on one of them.eBay-Shelf-unit

We have made those window sills extra deep and made them into shelves, too.  This is to “catify” the place as I still have two foster cats.  Gertrude, who doesn’t like to come out of my bathroom, and little Puddin’ who just likes to be where I am.  These window sills are 12” deep on each side of the middle shelf unit and when we add more shelves under the window sills we might put some cabinet doors on them.

Jay was released from jail, and went to church with me for the Saturday Sabbath.  I had made a Beef, Cabbage and other veggies casserole, and we had lots of other dishes, and everything was good.

The Bible readings were Num. 19:1-22:1, Judges 11:1-33 and Heb. 9:11-28 and the Teaching was about The Creation.  As usual I was helping the pastor’s wife in the kitchen, and didn’t hear it all and was unable to take notes.

Summer is here and we were glad that we had put up the sunshades in the van for such a hot day.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Dr. Spock: Did He Get It Right? Parenting Lessons From a Baby Bird. Practical Tips for Positive Parenting. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:

Dr. Spock on Parenting: Did He Get It Right?

“There are many self-help books for parents on the market, but one of the most influential was written by Benjamin Spock. Was his advice good?

Dr. Spock on Parenting: Did He Get It Right?This year marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of Baby and Child Care, which was published in 1946 by Benjamin Spock and became an international best-seller. This book is considered one of the most influential works of the 20th century. But Dr. Spock’s book has also been very controversial—being both praised and vilified (depending on one’s viewpoint).

After reading it recently, I found his book filled with many practical tips, but it has one fundamental flaw: his underlying philosophy is rooted in humanism, a philosophical approach that attributes innate goodness to human beings.

But is that really true? Is it human nature to be positive and loving?

The humanistic perspective

Humanism is more than just an opinion on human nature, it is also a perspective that pervades many disciplines and is essentially an attempt to explain the world from a solely secular perspective. Consider the ways this perspective has influenced parenting:

1. Independent thinking should be promoted over strict obedience or adherence to rules.

2. Demand the best for your children—not necessarily the best from your children.

3. Feeling good is more important than doing good.

4. Physical possessions can increase happiness, so buy your kids what they want, when they want it so they don’t feel deprived.

What has been the result of this philosophy? A number of things: individualism, entitlement, self-importance, unrealism and materialism.

The consequences for today

Jean Twenge, in her book Generation Me, addresses the consequences of parenting from a humanistic approach. Though technically she is writing about the Millennial Generation (those born in the 1980s and ’90s), Dr. Twenge believes “me” is an apt description of this generation. Because of the application of the above parenting principles, Gen Me’ers have been groomed since birth to put themselves first.

God’s Word has been largely dismissed as a guidebook for life—including parenting.For decades, children have been fed a diet of “me, me, me,” which has had an effect on their attitudes and perspective. Dr. Twenge includes a number of quotes from Millennials that demonstrate common attitudes:

  • “I couldn’t care less how I am viewed by society. I live my life according to the morals, views, and standards that I create” (Melissa, 20).
  • “His new motto was ‘Do what’s best for Jason. I had to make me happy; I had to do what was best for myself in every situation’” (Jason, 25).
  • “As long as I believe in myself, I really do not care what others think” (Rachel, 21).

(The above quotes were taken from pages 20 and 49 of the 2006 edition of Generation Me.)

Unfortunately, as Dr. Twenge points out, young people are less prepared for the challenges of the world than ever before because many enter society with greater self-esteem and inflated expectations but then become stressed, depressed and finally apathetic when the realities of life sink in.

Anxiety, depression and other mental health issues are increasing problems. Dr. Twenge writes, “Our growing tendency to put the self first leads to unparalleled freedom, but it also creates an enormous amount of pressure on us to stand alone” (p. 109). Expecting more out of life than life has to offer can be a recipe for crippling disappointment.

The missing perspective

Sadly, God’s Word has been largely dismissed as a guidebook for life—including parenting. The perspective of the Bible was not embraced by Dr. Spock, so many solid, timeless principles have been neglected by parents and Generation Me’ers. In many ways, the Bible directly contradicts the humanistic perspective.

The Bible shows clearly that human nature is not to be exalted or innately trusted:

  • “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
  • “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

Nearly 2,000 years ago, the Bible prophesied about how individuals would be in the end times: “For men [and women] will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:2-4).

We are surrounded by these traits today, and many of them are the result of the humanistic approach. In general, the common theme of all of these traits is selfishness.

While Dr. Spock undoubtedly had good intentions, his understanding and teachings were based on a flawed philosophy. He is just another example of mankind rejecting God’s perspective and not knowing the way to go (Jeremiah 10:23).

If you are raising children or expect to raise children in the future, be aware of the humanistic perspective that has crept into many self-help books. Turn to the Bible for a proper perspective and find parenting authors who also respect and promote the biblical perspective.”  From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/blog/dr-spock-on-parenting-did-he-get-it-right/

Life, Hope & Truth has published many resources on parenting issues. Explore the “Parenting” section of our site to read articles on parenting written from a biblical perspective.

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Parenting Lessons From a Baby Bird

“Windows of opportunity to teach life lessons to children can come at the most unexpected times. But these unplanned times may be some of the most memorable.

Parenting Lessons From a Baby Bird

When our youngest child was 4 years old, he was working with me in the yard. In the process, we found a tiny dead bird beneath one of the trees. It grabbed his attention and started a series of questions that provided a means to discuss even bigger issues of life.

His little mind struggled to understand what had happened and why she had died. She was a young bird without even her adult feathers, so I wasn’t able to tell what kind of bird she was. Her nest was above us somewhere, but I couldn’t spot it.

Why?

Why? That was probably the word my son used most: Why did she die? Why didn’t her parents protect her? Why did she leave her nest? Why didn’t she fly back up to her nest?

We talked about life and death and the way God created all creatures. God did not create our physical bodies to live forever. The Scriptures affirm that death will come to all of us (Hebrews 9:27; Genesis 3:19). But God has a plan for humans that continues beyond the certainty of our physical deaths. For humanity, there is the promise of life after death! (For more on this, read “Is There Life After Death?”)

Family dynamics

I’ve observed many sets of parent birds bring their babies along from an egg to a fully capable adult. They work hard, tag-teaming the nest to provide enough food for a growing and ravenous family. They will work tirelessly to protect the nest, placing themselves in harm’s way to lure a threat away from their babies—at times even making the ultimate sacrifice so that their little ones may live and have a chance to thrive.”  Continued at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/relationships/parenting/parenting-lessons-from-a-baby-bird/

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Practical Tips for Positive Parenting

“Parenting can be one of the most wonderful experiences—but it can also be frustrating. How can we increase the wonderful—and lower the frustration?

Parenting

From planning and preparing for a baby’s arrival to first holding that precious new life in your arms—it is hard to put into words the feelings we have when starting a family!

Then begins the process of taking a little one who is dependent on you for every need and helping him or her develop into an independent, well-mannered and productive member of society.

It is a daunting task, and there are bound to be bumps along that path!

No matter where you are in your parenting “career”—from brand-new, first-time parent to experienced grandparent—virtually everyone feels at a loss from time to time while raising children. This section has been written for those times when a fresh perspective or the seasoned words of veteran parents can provide the insight you need.

The world is changing rapidly, but the basic needs of children, from infancy to young adulthood, remain the same. Meeting their physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual needs are all as important today as ever.

The psalmist likened children to arrows in the quiver of an archer, stating that “happy is the man who has his quiver full of them” (Psalm 127:5 ). We invite you to explore the experiences and lessons in this section so your parenting experience can be more of the happy—and less of the frustrating!”

See: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/relationships/parenting/ and scroll down the page to see many articles on parenting.

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Update.

It seemed like the preparation work for the painting of the mini-house living room and bedroom walls was never ending, but we finally got it done.  All the caulking, sanding, and scraping was done, and all the walls are painted. The ceiling trim and the baseboards are white, and the walls are a very pale yellow.   The wooden trim around the windows will be installed later.  Hans came and sanded some more on the big wooden shelf unit that is going on the back wall.  I am still going around with a measuring tape, trying to figure out where everything will go.

The sofa and the big roll of carpet are still in there, in the way, so we can’t build the wall between the living room and bedroom yet.  We were hoping that they would be sold or someone would happen along who could help us move them.  But there are plenty of other things to be done.

The pastor’s wife of the morning church on FM 1097 called and her sister is very ill, to the point of being tended by hospice, so she couldn’t be there for the service.  She was hoping that I would be able to ramrod the potluck.   I didn’t know that she had left a Chicken Enchilda Casserole and one of those store-bought roasted chickens to heat up.  So I took one crockpot of Chicken Breast Gumbo, one crockpot of brown rice cooked in broth, one tiny crockpot of quinoa, and a Baked Hash Brown Casserole.  I made the salad, some cole slaw, and several veggies. I also cooked a box of ‘better than fish finger things’ that were in the freezer.  Someone brought some potato salad, melon and pies, so everyone liked the meal and we all had a great time.

The Bible readings were Num. 16:1-18:32, 1 Sam. 11:14-18:23, and Rom. 13:1-7, and the Teaching was “Is Your Church Going Back In Time?” which I didn’t hear very well as I was in the kitchen for that.

While we were eating in the dining hall, there came up a realy big gully-whomping rainstorm, so I didn’t have to wash the van today!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Fourth of July in Prophecy. Human Being, or Human Doing?

For Scripture Sunday”:

The Fourth of July in Prophecy

Okay, you may be asking, why is all this history important?

Would America be a collection of individual, sovereign states loosely tied together by a confederation or would the individual states be unified as a nation—bound together by a powerful national government that would allow it to act as a single nation? From Articles to Constitution.

The Fourth of July in ProphecyThe events celebrated on the Fourth of July were prophesied over 3,600 years ago. Let’s explore early American history in the light of Bible prophecy.

On July 4, the United States celebrated its 241st anniversary.

The Fourth of July holiday celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Though this was when the founders declared that they were fighting for independence from Britain—that independence would only be realized seven years, 1 month and 30 days later when the Treaty of Paris was signed. That treaty officially ended the American Revolution, with Great Britain recognizing the United States as free, sovereign and independent. Part of the reason the Americans were able to defeat the world’s most powerful army was because it had been recently weakened in the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War). But there were many reasons why the American victory over the British Army was miraculous and providential.

Victory did not settle America’s fate

But the United States of America as we know it was not created automatically when Britain signed the Peace of Paris or when the last British soldiers left New York in November 1783. The greatest challenge that faced America after defeating the most powerful military on earth was creating a functioning union between the former colonies (now called states) that would allow the United States to truly become one nation.

It is important to understand that the concept of the United States’ becoming one unified nation was not a given early in its history. One of the greatest controversies after the Treaty of Paris was this issue: Would America be a collection of individual, sovereign states loosely tied together by a confederation orwould the individual states be unified as a nation—bound together by a powerful national government that would allow it to act as a single nation?

That issue took years to settle. If it were not for a series of miracles and compromises, the United States could have easily ended up permanently being a confederation of completely sovereign states—or even fragmenting into separate nations dominating various regions of the American landmass.

The first attempt at a functioning union of the states was the Articles of Confederation. The United States operated under this document for eight years. It formed a very loose confederation between the states, led by a Continental Congress that had little power. Throughout its eight years, the Articles of Confederation proved to be unworkable.

A growing number of American thinkers began to promote a form of governance called federalism. This called for a stronger national government with an executive branch and a clear delineation of powers between states and the national government. Those who supported this stronger union were called Federalists, and those who opposed this idea were Anti-Federalists.

It wasn’t until 1787 that the controversy began to be settled. Because of the inefficiencies of the Articles of Confederation (made obvious by the infamous Shays’ Rebellion), the states agreed to send delegates to Philadelphia to discuss making improvements to the Articles of Confederation.

Eventually the delegates decided that the convention would become a constitutional convention, with the goal of designing an entirely new system of governance. The challenge was whether or not an agreement could be reached on a constitution that all states (large and small, north and south) would ratify. The stakes were high. Failure at the Philadelphia convention could have resulted in a regional fracturing of America—preventing one union from coming into existence.

Again, this outcome was not only possible, but was highly likely given the political atmosphere of early American history.

A new Constitution results in “one nation”

But, in about four months, the delegates were able to produce a new Constitution for the United States of America. It would bind the states into a strengthened union led by a national government with more powers. This was achieved through savvy politics, political compromise and not addressing some of the most divisive issues of the time (such as slavery).

But with the convention a success, the next order of business was convincing the individual states to ratify the proposed Constitution. The document itself stipulated that it needed to be ratified by at least nine states before it would go into effect. The challenge was getting large states like Virginia and New York to vote for ratification because, as large and powerful states, they had the most to lose in diverting more authority to a national government. Though the Constitution could have theoretically been passed without a state like Virginia, that would have ultimately left the land divided.

But all states eventually ratified the Constitution. The whole process was not completed (for the original 13 states) until Rhode Island finally joined the new union in 1790. With all 13 original colonies/states joining the union under the new Constitution, America was set on course to develop as one unified nation—eventually spanning from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

That would occur through many more unlikely events and miracles!

Why it had to happen

Okay, you may be asking, why is all this history important?

It was a fulfillment of a prophecy made over 3,600 years ago. As we explain in our article on the “Blessings to Abraham,” certain physical blessings of national greatness were promised to Abraham. These blessings were passed down to his son Isaac, then to Isaac’s son Jacob and finally were given to Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.

Jacob, in a very specific prophecy, declared that Ephraim would become a “multitude of nations” and Manasseh would become a single great nation (Genesis 48:19). Genesis 49:1 reveals that these promises were to be ultimately fulfilled in “the last days”—in other words, the modern era (from our historical viewpoint).

The promise of a “multitude of nations” was fulfilled by the British people—who became an empire and later a commonwealth of nations. Today Ephraim’s promises are primarily fulfilled in the nations of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa (as well as other smaller nations that are part of the Commonwealth).

Manasseh’s promise of being a single great nation was fulfilled in the United States of America.

As Americans celebrate the Fourth of July, they would do well to consider that the Declaration of Independence from Britain was necessary in order to fulfill the Genesis 48:19 promise. For the prophecy to be fulfilled, America had to be independent from Britain and had to unite into a unified single nation. The entire history of the development and ratification of the U.S. Constitution was essential for that prophecy to be fulfilled. This understanding helps us to see God’s providential hand in history (Isaiah 46:10).

Americans would do well to consider their true founding father—the patriarch Abraham—and recall his life of faithful obedience to God as described in chapters 12-25 of Genesis.”

From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/blog/the-fourth-of-july-in-prophecy/

To learn more about this important topic, read “Where Is America in Prophecy?””

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The Reformation: A Return to the Bible?

“The Protestant reformers claimed they were restoring Christianity back to its biblical roots. But were there things they forgot to reform?

The Reformation: A Return to the Bible?

A copy of Martin Luther's translation of the Bible into the German language. 

October 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s reputed action of nailing his “95 Theses” to the church door in Wittenberg (where he was a professor of theology at Wittenberg University). This document criticized certain practices and doctrines of the Catholic Church and is considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Luther claimed that the Roman church under the popes had moved away from the truth of the Bible.

To Luther’s credit, his 95 Theses highlighted many legitimate issues with the Catholic Church of his time. However, if the pope had heeded Luther’s critiques, would that have returned Catholicism to the Christianity of the Bible?

The truth is, Martin Luther and the Reformation he began continued to embrace many prominent nonbiblical doctrines that the church they were protesting had adopted hundreds of years earlier.

One of the most prominent unbiblical doctrines Protestants maintained was regarding Sunday as the Christian day of worship. To learn why the biblical Sabbath isn’t Sunday, read “Was the Sabbath Changed to Sunday?

Double standards

Since the Reformation, Catholics have criticized Protestants for the double standard of rejecting Catholic tradition by claiming they relied on “Sola Scriptura” (Latin for “Scripture alone”) while maintaining many doctrines based entirely on tradition, particularly the observance of Sunday.

Notice these quotes from Catholics:

  • “The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her Divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday. … But the Protestant says: How can I receive the teachings of an apostate Church? How, we ask, have you managed to receive her teaching all your life, in direct opposition to your recognized teacher, the Bible, on the Sabbath question?” (The Christian Sabbath, fifth ed., published by The Catholic Mirror of Baltimore, 1893, pp. 29-30, emphasis in original).
  • “Q. Is the observance of Sunday, as the day of rest, a matter clearly laid down in Scripture?
    “A. It certainly is not; and yet all Protestants consider the observance of this particular day as essentially necessary to salvation. To say, we observe the Sunday, because Christ rose from the dead on that day, is to say we act without warrant of Scripture; and we might as well [incorrectly] say, that we should rest on Thursday because Christ ascended to heaven on that day” (Stephen Keenan, Controversial Catechism, 1846, p. 136, emphasis added).
  • “If Protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath Day. In keeping the Sunday they are following a law of the Catholic Church” (letter from Albert Smith, chancellor of the Baltimore Archdiocese, Feb. 10, 1920).
Restoring the true Sabbath

Both Protestants and Catholics ignore the seventh-day Sabbath, instead observing the unbiblical Sunday. Martin Luther and other Protestant reformers criticized some Catholic abuses and doctrines, while maintaining many others. Catholics and Protestants alike would benefit from going to the Bible and reading what it reveals about the Sabbath, instead of relying on their own unbiblical teachings.”  From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/blog/the-reformation-a-return-to-the-bible/

To learn about the seventh-day Sabbath and why it should be kept today, read “What Day Is the Sabbath?

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Human Being, or Human Doing?

An Amazing Fact: “Hiking the entire Appalachian Trail is the equivalent elevation gain of climbing Mt. Everest 16 times.

Completed in 1937, the Appalachian Trail begins in Georgia and follows the Appalachian Mountains over 2,180 miles through 14 states, ending in Maine. Benton Mackaye conceived of a trail connecting a series of farming camps along the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains, between the highest points in the north (Mt. Washington in New Hampshire) and south (Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina). He envisioned the trail as a refuge from industrialization, where people could commune with nature. Signs marking the Appalachian Trail today read, “For those who seek fellowship with the wilderness.”

Making time for such fellowship isn’t easy in our go-go-go culture. America was founded by people who strove for more than their birthplace offered. From the pilgrims that landed at Plimoth Plantation to the immigrants that arrive today, Americans want more. And we work hard to get it.

So most of us can identify with Martha (Luke 10:38–42). Busily preparing dinner for Jesus, Martha noticed her sister Mary lounging at Jesus’ feet. “Lord,” she demanded, “don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” But Jesus gently reminded Martha that work must be balanced with downtime.    

Like us, Martha was a human “doing”—preferring to work for Jesus than just be with Him. We very easily become so consumed by what we’re doing that we neglect communion with Who we’re doing it for. Ellen White, a Christian author, put it this way: “We must individually hear Him speaking to the heart. When every other voice is hushed, and in quietness we wait before Him, the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God.” May you learn to be a human being, not a human doing.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: Luke 10:41 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42 “

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Update.

This week was mostly caulking and getting things ready to paint the living room and bedroom in the mini-house.  We are not going to install the wooden rosettes and trim that we made for around the windows until it is all painted.  We did move the large shelf unit here which will have to be sanded and stained a lighter color, so Hans has been helping with that.  He can only help for a short while in the mornings as they want him monitoring the pool fulltime now.  Then we also moved the fridge out of the mini-house into the carport.  It will be easier for me to sell it out there.  I will be taking my bigger fridge to the mini-house when I finally get moved. 

We have my other sofa stored in the mini-house and a piece of really big carpet which is rolled up and under the sofa.  They are covered up, but really do need to be out of the way and sold, so we were getting things ready for them to be moved out to the carport, too.  We had taken down the cedar skirting in the front of the mini-house so that we could install the plumbing, now the skirting is screwed back on.  The sofa will be fine stored there where it is enclosed on three sides.  I prefer to have things that are for sale outside in full view of everyone driving by, that way there aren’t people coming into my house.  An old lady on her own has to think about things like that.

Roy wanted the 4th off so I went shopping in Conroe.  Before we make the cabinet for the microwave and stainless steel toaster oven, I needed to have a microwave that matches the toaster oven.  There was a reasonably priced stainless steel one at Walmart and they will look good side by side.

On Saturday, I went to see Jay in jail.  He is there for Public Intoxication and bad mouthing a cop.  We was so smashed that he doesn’t even remember it.  I was hoping that I could give him some copies of literature from the church about recovery ( https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/overcoming-alcoholism/what-does-recovery-look-like) and how being a drunk is not cool.  But I couldn’t give it to him through the glass window, so I hope he will not stop and buy beer on his way home on Wednesday when he gets out, before I can give the copies to him.

From there I went to the afternoon service at the Church of God on FM 830.  On the second Sabbath of each month they have Bible Trivia, which is like Password, instead of the usual Bible Study, and that is always fun.  That starts at 12.30, before the service.  Another draw for that day was that the pastor’s cousin Oscar would be giving the Sermon, and I always like to listen to him.  His Teaching was about how husbands should respect their wives and where the Bible says wives should ‘submit’, it is about sharing and not being overbearing to their wives.  “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.”  (Ephesians 5:22)  Of course, the wives have to do their part, too.  Then to teach your children the way they should go, and if they have a good example in their parents, they should not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6.  See: Train Up a Child: What Does Proverbs 22:6 Mean?  at https://lifehopeandtruth.com/relationships/parenting/train-up-a-child/  

I took a big crockpot of Ground Beef and Veggies, and there were plenty of other good food contributions, so everyone had a great meal and fellowship in their beautiful attached dining hall.  This is a really attractive Austin stone building with a fairly large congregation, and growing all the time.  This is large compared to the FM 1097 church where I usually go, but nowhere like a mega-church, so everyone hugs and knows each other.  I met a really nice Messianic family, and hopefully we will see each other again.  They had just converted to Messianic Judism, and as this church meets on Saturday, this is where they came. Their teen son did a special song and played his guitar.

One could tell that Summer has arrived, the car was like an oven when I left the church, even with the sunshades up and the windows down an inch.  It was a hot, and very enjoyable day.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The View From the Top. What Does the World Need Most Right Now? Go To The Ant. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:

The View From the Top

“The amazing panorama seen from the observation deck of the world’s tallest building gave me a perspective on a much bigger picture.

As our boat pulled into the Persian Gulf west of the Strait of Hormuz, blistering winds blew off the Arabian Peninsula. My friend Benjamin, who lives in Dubai, was showing me around the emirate.

We took a ferry from Dubai Creek, with its motley collection of ancient dhows and tramp freighters, past huge artificial islands shaped like the world and the palm, finally disembarking at the ultramodern marina. Passing from ancient buildings and clunky watercraft to pristine skyscrapers felt like time travel.

The highest vantage point

Past the southern limits of this wealthy city lies only the desert leading to Oman and Saudi Arabia. Nowhere is this more apparent than from the At the Top observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, at 829.8 meters (2,722 feet), the tallest structure in the world. On a clear day one can see the coast of Iran to the north. And from that vantage point, the line between city and desert is sharp.

The view from above Dubai.

The view from above Dubai.

This change in viewpoint makes obvious things that are invisible from below. The World Islands, indistinguishable blobs when viewed from sea level, are impressive in their scale from higher up. Rooftop pools, gigantic fountains, highways and waterways running through the city are revealed in all their complexity.

Beware WYSIATI

From this unique perspective, I thought about how it must illustrate our blindness to many elements in our everyday lives. Our view is limited by our lowly vantage point.

Nobel Prize laureate Daniel Kahneman, in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, explains a phenomenon he calls WYSIATI, an acronym for “what you see is all there is.” This innate bias in our cognition leads us to assume that what we see of a given situation is all there is; there is nothing else to be considered or analyzed.

Theoretically we know this is not true, yet every day we reach conclusions as if it were.

Watching from on high

God, however, does see everything. He sees from above, both physically and spiritually, very real elements we simply cannot distinguish. “As you do not know what is the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything” (Ecclesiastes 11:5).

God watches from on high, in part to see how much we try to think outside the human box, to concentrate on things we can only imagine. “God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God” (Psalm 53:2).

This is a constant challenge for us, but it is obviously important to our Creator. In our minds we seek to slip the surly bonds of earth; to have glimpses of what He sees.

And so “we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). One day, God promises we, too, will experience His view from the top: “We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/discern/july-august-2017/by-the-way-the-view-from-the-top/

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What Does the World Need Most Right Now?

    

“With troubles facing every sector of society, what solution should get top priority today? Hint: It’s the same solution the New Testament writers urgently longed for.

What the world needs most right now is the Kingdom of God

Unstable is an understatement for our world today. Powder keg is more like it.

The winds of change whistling through areas of the world might carry a whiff of freedom, but it’s easy to underestimate the force and shifting nature of the winds. In the maelstrom, will the forces of anarchy ignite a new passion for a powerful ruler?

The Middle East remains a troubled and dangerous region, continually boiling over into the rest of the world.

Elsewhere, precarious economies on the brink of financial ruin can ill afford additional stress, whether from war or even natural disasters.

Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis highlight that even careful planning cannot truly handle the worst that nature can throw at us. Nuclear power plants and other strategic sites around the world are more vulnerable than most of us want to believe. Humans have only been keeping scientific records of natural disasters for a short time. How can we be sure that what we consider worst-case scenarios are truly the worst that this planet will see?

The underlying cause

The Bible predicts wars, financial crises, food shortages, disease epidemics and natural disasters crescendoing in the end times—the times when human annihilation is possible (Matthew 24:7-8, 21-22).

Why are these and other troubles predicted? Because humanity as a whole has rejected God and the good and beneficial laws He gave. Obeying God’s laws naturally brings blessings, while trampling on them brings automatic curse.

These facts are detailed in Leviticus 26. After outlining the wonderful blessings for following His commandments, God said, “But if you will not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments … I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it” (Leviticus 26:14, 16).

Owing the financial production of our labors to enemies is only the beginning of the curses outlined in this chapter. But God doesn’t allow these natural consequences of sin out of a desire to see us suffer. Nor does He intervene to correct us out of hatred, but out of love. He deeply desires that we, His human creation, will wake up and repent of the evil we have done.”

Continued at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/kingdom-of-god/what-does-the-world-need-most/

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Learning From a Pest?

“Solomon advised us to “go to the ant” (Proverbs 6:6).

Sometimes it's amazing what we can learn from a pest! While the weather is nice and food can be found in abundance, the ant doesn't just collect what it needs for that day and then go play. Instead, it collects and stores up in the plentiful summer months for the leaner winter times.

What a contrast this is from the way many in our society live today. We borrow from tomorrow what we may not be able to repay. We refinance our homes—going deeper in debt—to buy expensive toys we have little time to use. In today's society, debt is a way of life in contrast to that of our forefathers who lived more by the philosophy of the ant.”

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Update:

For some reason the Through-The-Wall Heat/AC in the mini-house is a lot louder than the one in the main house even though they are exactly the same.  It is really bothersome, I don’t know what could have happened to it.  So we swapped out the insides of the heat/AC’s and now the noisy one is in the big house. I did this knowing that the man who made the offer on my house would put in Central Heat/Air as soon as he bought it.  They seem to think that everyone wants central heat and air, which I don’t because of the mold and dirt that collects in the ductwork.  Even when they clean it, it is still a harbor for mold, and I have enough trouble with my sinuses. At least I can clean a Heat/AC, and buy a new one every few years. If I were to have anything better it would be a duct-free mini-split, and as soon as I can afford it, I will have one installed in the mini-house.       

Then, Wednesday, the man said that he couldn’t get financing, so here I am stuck with the noisy AC until I can move over to the mini-house.  We even temporarily put a 6,500 BTU AC in the window as it would be more quiet, but it wasn’t really big enough, so I sold it while it was still installed and the buyer could tell that it worked. 

We are still getting the Mini-house ready for the paint.  Roy wants all the baseboards and door trim up first.  So we cut some beautiful trim out of an old maple headboard and foot board.  Roy and the table saw did a great job. Then he made rosettes and plinth blocks just the right size for the trim.  Hans was here so he sanded them, and then we wiped them with a light stain.  Some are already installed and they look great.  When it is all done they can be protected with some satin polyurathane.

Then I came across a great big slab of beautiful lumber which had a double OG edge, so I sanded it down as it had some green paint splashed on it.  We will stain it and put that thick transparent bar-like coating on it and it will be one of the counter tops in the kitchen.  This is the counter on the back wall that is just for things like the toaster, coffee maker and juicer, those are the appliances that would be in the way in the cooking area.

We had trimmed the subdivision’s hedge which is next to the mini-house because it had got so high that it made my place dark, and difficult to see out.  Some of the dead cut branches had turned orange and so we had to drag them out of the hedge and take them to the burn pile.  I don’t think we will have a mildrew problem now that the sun can get to the house. This 16’ tall hedge was hiding a pretty smaller privet and holly hedge.  So now it looks better on each side of the hedge.  The subdivision doesn’t even trim the crepe myrtles any more, just as well as they committed “Crepe Murder” by leaving ugly knuckles, which isn’t right.  Anything to save money.

Finally, I made the decision where to install the shelf for the microwave and toaster oven in the mini-house.  My toaster oven is special, it is a a really good little oven, a Breville, and I use it a lot,  but rarely for toast, as I have an excellent, fast, old Sunbeam toaster.  The shelf will be a bit higher than I have now, but I can manage.

DSCF1462Also, I figured out how to place the bedroom furniture for the best use of the space.  I had wanted the bed’s feet-end facing as you walk in the door from the living room, but after measuring, it won’t work.  The bed will have to go on the left side wall between those two windows, whether it is feng shui correct or not.  The wall at the end of the room also has two windows, and I have just the piece of furniture for that, a great big real wood shelf unit that will fit in between those windows and is 6’ tall.  It will hold the bedroom TV and lots of other things. I was going to sell it, but not now.

The ceiling fan/light that we had put up in my living room had something really wrong with it, and wouldn’t stop wobbling.  We tried all the usual remedies, but after a long time, we gave up and took the one out of my bedroom and put it in the living room. Then took a small one out of storage and put it into my bedroom.  Finally I have fans and light kits that work right and don’t look like they will throw a blade at you.

Hans usually monitors at the subdivision pool on Saturdays, but something went wrong with the pumps and so he had the day off and came to church with me.  We went to my usual church on FM 1097.  Though if I had known ahead of time, I would have taken him to the larger church on FM 830.   He enjoyed the service and the potluck, then spent a long time discussing different things with the elders while I helped clean up the kitchen.

The Bible readings were Num. 8:1-12:16. Zech. 2:14-2:24, (this is not in all translations of the Bible, but Chapter 3 gives the gist of it), and John 19:31 which tells about them wanting to take the body of Jesus down off the cross because it was a High Day, Passover, also a Sabbath, the following day. There were two Sabbaths that week.  The Teaching was about “Transition”.

I didn’t take much for the church’s potluck.  It took quite a while to peel and make some potatoes and rutabagas into crinkly slices with my salad shooter.  I had a big pot of them and gently boiled them in broth until tender. I put them in a crockpot and warmed them up at church. There was plenty left over to make Salmon patties the following day.