Tuesday, August 15, 2017

There’s a Proverb for That: “I’m Awesome, Just Ask Me”. What Is a Human Being? Not Merely Outward. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:  Sorry, late again!

 

There’s a Proverb for That: “I’m Awesome, Just Ask Me”

“This kicks off a series of posts on practical and relevant wisdom from the book of Proverbs. We will begin with the issue of pride and arrogance.

There’s a Proverb for That: “I’m Awesome, Just Ask Me” 

“We are always looking for answers to problems. We look to scholars, scientists, researchers, philosophers, self-help gurus and religion for answers. Though it is not necessarily a bad idea to consult some of those sources, thankfully for Christians, there is an entire book of the Bible filled with practical wisdom for everyday life in the 21st century—even though it was written thousands of years ago!

That is the book of Proverbs. The wisdom contained in this book is invaluable for us as human beings, and it covers a wide variety of topics. In this series, we will explore the wisdom from Proverbs applied to modern societal problems, controversies and roadblocks.

If we think there’s nothing wrong with us, we have something wrong with us

Politicians like to talk about their strengths and make even their weaknesses still sound like strengths (“I guess my greatest weakness is that I care so much”). The “know it all” personality is alive and well, creating a culture of looking down on others who may not know everything about everything. Just look at comments on YouTube videos and online news articles for evidence of people who think they “know it all” and who aggressively put down people who they feel know nothing. Self-righteousness can be detected in all ideologies.

But God has a different expectation. He says He “resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Since we should be seeking God’s grace and not His resistance, humility should be an issue we are very concerned about! Thankfully, there’s a proverb for that!

Proverbs and Implications
1. Proverbs 13:10: “By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom.”

“Know it all” personalities are not the most popular people for good reason. It is very hard to be likable and listen to other viewpoints if we think we are always right, all the time. Since we should be seeking God’s grace and not His resistance, humility should be an issue we are very concerned about! This brings strife into relationships and makes for awkward and drawn-out conversations. Being well-advised doesn’t mean we believe every viewpoint we hear, but we respect and listen long enough to make wise judgments about them.

Implications: We must take time to actually listen to other people’s perspectives, especially those whose opinions are different from ours. We may still disagree afterward, but a humble person will at least listen and be open to learning, while pride is thinking we already have all the answers. If you struggle with listening to others, try this strategy: Do not respond in conversation until counting 5 seconds in your head after they have spoken. This can help you to take the time to think about what the other person said.

2. Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

To err is human, and those who think they rarely (or never) err should consider that this thinking is flawed and dangerous. Many who have issues with pride give platitudes to this effect, saying, “I’m not perfect, but …” and then proceed to describe how perfect they think they are. This is dangerous because it is not true. No human being is perfect, and all will make mistakes (Romans 3:23). History shows many examples of prideful and haughty people eventually falling (consider Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Saddam Hussein, to name a few).

Implications: Instead of only glorifying our strengths, we should also identify and admit our weaknesses. Whenever we criticize others, we should consider our own imperfections and issues. Many Shakespearean characters never recognized and dealt with their fatal flaws (pride often being one of them), which never turned out well. Let’s strive to be wiser than fictional characters like Hamlet and Macbeth.

3. Proverbs 21:4: “A haughty look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked are sin.”

Self-righteous thinking, condescending remarks, looking down our noses at others—these are not just personality quirks. They are sins. Yes, there are times that require confidence in our strengths and bravery to use them, but when we demonstrate these traits constantly, unnecessarily and artificially, they become arrogance and pride.

Implications: View pride as any other sin that God hates, not just as an undesirable character trait (which it is as well). Since pride is so hard to see in ourselves, we need a team made up of friends and family whom we can go to and ask honest questions about ourselves: “How often do I ask about you? Do I constantly praise myself? Do I come across as a know-it-all?”

Yes, asking these questions could bring some uncomfortable answers. But, considering how serious the Bible is on this subject, would it not be better to be uncomfortable than to face the consequences of pride?

Plenty more where those came from

Proverbs has plenty to say about pride and arrogance, to the tune of at least 17 different wise reminders. The few mentioned here, however, provide the overall gist of the matter: Pride and arrogance are serious character flaws that will unnecessarily isolate us from other people and ultimately lead to our undoing.   When that lure comes looking for us, remember there’s a proverb for that” 

From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/blog/theres-a-proverb-for-that-im-awesome-just-ask-me/.

For more insight into pride and how to fight it, read “Overcoming Dangerous Emotions: Pride” and “3 Ways Pride May Be Infecting Your Life.” 
Read the next blog post in this series: There’s a Proverb for That: “We Are the 99 Percent”

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What Is a Human Being?

“Are humans just the highest species on the food chain—the product of blind chance? Or is there a real purpose for our existence—an incredible human potential?

What is a human being?

Why do humans, of all physical living things, have the intellect, curiosity and self-awareness to study ourselves?

Many seem to believe that humans are simply the most developed species in the animal kingdom. Most also assume that human beings, like the animals around them, are products of a long evolutionary process.

But is man an animal? Did he evolve, perhaps from primordial slime? Or from microscopic particles on a piece of rock hurled to earth from some far-away planet?

Only the Bible contains the true and complete answers to the origin of man.

Are human beings unique?

What is a human being really? Why do we alone among all physical living things possess the intellect to study ourselves? Why do we have unique abilities to think, plan and carry out plans? Why do we not follow the patterns in the animal world of repeated predictable behaviors?

Human beings clearly are not limited to the mindless repetition of animal behaviors or the lifestyle of ancestors passed down through hundreds of generations with almost no change. Man is a thinking, creative being.

The animal kingdom

No matter where you live, you are probably familiar with birds, so let’s take a quick look at them. Birds build nests the same way their parents did. They tend their young the same way their parents did. Those that migrate fly the same, often remarkable, distances to winter in foreign lands—the same places previous generations have always wintered.

<p>We don't find birds seeking to design new, different kinds of nests.</p>

We don't find birds seeking to design new, different kinds of nests.

We don’t find birds seeking architects or decorators to design and build them a new, different kind of nest. They don’t consult travel agents to find a better vacation spot.

Mammals are much the same. They live a life characterized by routine behavior and little variety within a species. Even though they can be taught simple responses through repetitious training, they do not think as a human being does.”     

Continued at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/what-is-the-meaning-of-life/purpose-of-life/what-is-a-human-being/

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Not Merely Outward

An Amazing Fact: “Before the 1930s, diamonds were rarely given as engagement rings.

Egyptians worshiped the circle as a symbol of eternity. They plaited rings out of reeds and gifted them to symbolize everlasting love. They wore them on the third finger of their left hands because they believed the vein of that finger traveled directly from the heart. The Greeks learned this tradition from Egypt, passing it to Rome and beyond. But it wasn’t until a diamond cartel coined the best advertising slogan of the 20th century for the hardest substance in nature, convincing us that “a diamond is forever.”

In the Bible, a king’s ring symbolized his authority. Rings were given to trusted servants (Genesis 41:41, 42), to potential mates (Genesis 24:22), and in celebration (Luke 15:22). Like today, jewelry and fine clothing were also used simply for beauty (Ezekiel 16:11–14). Of what purpose are the gems and bright colors God created except to lend beauty? We express ourselves through our wardrobes, homes, and landscapes. But self-expression goes awry when we rely on clothing, hairdos, houses, cars, gardens, and gadgets for our value (Ezekiel 16:15).

Swinging the pendulum in the other direction, Puritanism shunned the use of superfluities like jewels, color, and modern technology. But Peter’s balanced approach, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward” (1 Peter 3:3), ensures that the beauty of your character matches—or exceeds!—that of your person or possessions.

In Haggai, God promises His people a ring as a sign of being chosen (Haggai 2:23). But even better, God adorns us with the “garments of salvation” and the “robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). It’s okay to surround yourself with beauty, but don’t let it replace the beauty of salvation.    

KEY BIBLE TEXTS
But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me. It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. Job 28:12-18

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Update.

If I don’t write it down, I have trouble remembering what we did each day, I just know that we, my helper and I, stay busy each morning.  Then I am busy working my job in the afternoons.

There is now an outlet in the back wall of the upper cabinet for the toaster oven and microwave, and the under-cabinet lights are installed with a regular wall switch.  The switches on those lights are difficult to find sometimes when you are in a hurry, and often you have to bend down to find them.   Having them on a wall switch makes it easier.

Another old wooden shelf unit was torn apart and the lumber is being cut, painted and used for the kitchen shelves.  

Out in the carport, Hans has been sanding the big shelf unit that will go on the back wall of the bedroom, and we need to bring it inside when there are strong folk around.  Then it can have a final sanding, stain and poly.  Just a few more studs added to the wall between the living room and bedroom, and the wall will be built enough that maybe the bedroom carpet can be installed.  Once that is in, that big shelf unit can be put in place.

A phone box has been wired into the bathroom, so that a phone is available in emergencies.  Oh, don’t think “I take my cell into the bathroom for emergencies”.  Usually, a cell phone does not tell 911 where you are, and if you can’t speak you are are often anonymous.  A land line shows them immediately.

We spent many hours (at least three) fixing my old table saw, but finally found a way to make it stay together.  We need it for many things still to be done around here.

The van has been acting up, like it is misfiring.  AutoZone’s computer says it needs a tune-up, so I will have to sell some more stuff to pay for that.

Now I have 4 little foster kittens that I rescued from a street corner. They are eating on their own, but not doing as well as I would like.  They have had their flea prevention, de-worming and first shots, and after their second shots they can go to be neutered as long as they are free from FIV and Felv. and are at least 2 lb.  They are so cute. One tuxedo, one siamese and two calicos.

Having been given a lot of cucumbers, I found a Julia Childs’ recipe for Baked Cucumbers and Chicken for the Sabbath church potluck.  Also, I took Buttered Carrots.  There was also brisket, cornbread chili pie, butter beans, green bean casserole and several other dishes.

The Bible readings were Num. 30:2-32:42, Jere. 1:1-2:2, and Matt. 5:33-37, and the Teaching was about The Difference between the Gospels and Revelation.

As the big heavy shelves were out of it, it was a lot lighter than we thought, so we brought the big shelf unit inside, and Hans finished sanding the ornamental trim around the top yesterday.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Avoid Repetitious Prayer. How to Pray. Prayer From the Heart. Jericho: Archaeological Findings. Update:

For “Scripture Sunday”:

How to Avoid Repetitious Prayer

“Jesus cautioned against praying “vain repetitions” (Matthew 6:7). Do you find it difficult to avoid repeating the same words in your daily prayers?

Here is one idea for avoiding repetitious prayers. (Click here to download PDF.)

This is a simple, but highly effective way to avoid that frustrating experience. Emphasize a different main subject on each day of the week.

How to Avoid Repetitious Prayer

    

Early in His ministry, Jesus gave His disciples a model prayer so that they would know how to talk with the Father. It is part of the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 6:5-15).

“The Lord’s Prayer” was a teaching tool

Jesus did not want His disciples simply to recite what He told them. Obviously, the disciples would have done that, if that was all there was to praying! They perceived there was more to it by seeing Jesus’ example over the years, and they asked for additional guidance.

“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples’” (Luke 11:1).

Seeing Jesus’ example prompted one disciple to ask Jesus (on behalf of them all) to review His instructions. Luke records Christ’s answer in Luke 11:2-4.

This has inappropriately come to be known as “The Lord’s Prayer,” instead of “the Lord’s model for praying.” Jesus said, In this manner, therefore, pray” (Matthew 6:9, emphasis added throughout).

Christians still struggle with prayer today

In prefacing His instructions about prayer in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave this challenging counsel: “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7).

What is challenging about that? Don’t just recite Jesus’ model prayer, the prayers written by other people or the prayers written by churches for their followers. Pray original prayers.” 

Continued at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/prayer-fasting-and-meditation/how-to-pray/how-to-avoid-repetitious-prayer/

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How to Pray

“It is universally understood that Christians should pray.  But what should we say to God? Do we know how to pray? How does God want us to pray?

Jesus said we should ask our Father for His Kingdom to come and for His will to be done—which includes praying for the work of His Church to be done. We are also told to ask for our daily needs, for forgiveness and for deliverance from “the evil one” (Satan).

How to Pray

When we wonder about prayer, it should be reassuring to know that even a disciple of Jesus asked Him for instructions about how to pray.

“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples’” (Luke 11:1).

Simply stated, prayer is our means of communicating with God. As with any personal relationship, interaction with God matures as we spend more time with Him.

As the Lord’s disciple indicated, prayer is something that does not come naturally to us—it is something that needs to be taught. The inspired Word of God provides the answers to some frequently asked questions about how to pray.

To whom should we pray?

Elijah and others in the Old Testament prayed to God. The apostle Paul made references to praying to God in both of the epistles he wrote to the Christians living in the pagan city of Corinth (1 Corinthians 11:13 and 2 Corinthians 13:7).

Jesus taught His disciples to pray to “our Father” (Matthew 6:6). Jesus Himself told the gang that arrested Him in the Garden of Gethsemane that He could pray to His Father right then and be rescued (Matthew 26:53).

After His resurrection, Jesus told Mary Magdalene not to cling to Him because He had not yet ascended to heaven. He told her to tell the others that He was ascending to “My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God” (John 20:17).

Continued at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/prayer-fasting-and-meditation/how-to-pray/

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Prayer From the Heart

“The Bible gives many examples of what is most important to God when we come to Him in prayer. He wants us to pray from the heart. How do we do that?

Prayer From the Heart

Man was created to need God. But mankind today in general has not known the true God and His revealed way of living. Man has generally failed, leading to all of the evils and suffering we see around us.

Even those who have tried to live as close to God as they could have done so imperfectly. Yet even if imperfect, the benefits of a relationship with God far exceed anything offered by this world.

Prayer

To have a relationship with God, we have to keep in constant communication with Him through prayer.

The Bible is full of examples of the people of God talking with Him. For example, many of the psalms were actually prayers, and many of those were by David, the great king of Israel. (Consider Psalms 3, 4 and 5, to mention just a few).

There are many types of prayer mentioned in the Bible, but one common factor in prayers that helped build a relationship with God is that these effective prayers were heartfelt.

The Bible records many examples of prayer from the heart. First, let’s look at one prayed by Hezekiah, king of Judah, in the Old Testament.

Hezekiah’s heartfelt prayer

The first prayer we will examine is found in 2 Kings 20:1-3. When the prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah that he would die, Hezekiah reacted to the message with a supplication found in verse 3. Hezekiah reminded God of his efforts to walk before Him with a loyal heart. It seems he might have wanted to say more to God, but emotion overcame him and he broke down in tears and cried bitterly.”

Continued at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/prayer-fasting-and-meditation/how-to-pray/prayer-from-the-heart/

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Jericho

An Amazing Fact: “Archaeological findings in the Middle East sometimes reveal surprising evidence linked to biblical accounts. The ruins of the ancient city of Jericho contain collapsed brick walls, including a small section of wall still standing, which might reflect the story of Rahab!

In the 1950s, archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon conducted extensive exploration and research in the ruins of the ancient city of Jericho. She concluded that the city contained no evidence of the destruction recalled in the book of Joshua. But later researchers reexamined her work and found that her dating was incorrect. When the correct dates were applied to the findings, collapsed brick walls were found surrounding the city exactly as we would expect.

And what about the story of Rahab? The book of Joshua records that Rahab’s home and family were saved from destruction when she followed the instructions of the Israelite spies and hung a scarlet cord from her window. Interestingly, a short stretch of the city’s mud brick wall was left standing with houses positioned against it. This portion of the wall was even on the north side of the city, a short distance from the hills to which the spies escaped.

In today’s skeptical world, it can be easy to doubt the words of Scripture in the face of cynicism and doubt. But God’s Word stands true. Increasingly, the stories of the Bible have been linked with archaeological evidence, revealing that these passages are far more than stories and legends. We can trust that God Himself has spoken to us through His Word. His message for us, from stories of instruction to words of comfort and hope, has been preserved for thousands of years.”  

KEY BIBLE TEXTS
And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him. Joshua 6:5

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Update.

Cabinet-rebuildAfter lowering several of the mini-house upper kitchen cabinets, we have been adding shelves above them at the same height as the tops of the cabinets that could not be lowered, to keep continuity in the kitchen design.  On the big upper cabinet on the back wall where we had to cut the doors to accomdate the microwave and toaster oven, we just raised the doors to the top of the shelf above, and made it look like part of the cabinet. 

We did the same thing to the cabinet above the range hood.  Some of the shelves, we will just make doors to match the others.  I wish that I had caught the guy who was installing the porthole windows when he had his own ideas and raised them.  That is what made all the upper cabinets the wrong height, as the porthole was too high.  We actually found my original mark on the outside wall, where the first porthole was supposed to be.

DSCF1649-001We also added some permanent and temporary shelves under the deep window sills on the back wall of the bedroom, so that we can house some of the items that we use every day while the building is ongoing. Mostly different sizes of screws, nails and caulk on this one, so far.  Hans is still sanding on the great big 6’ tall, 17” deep, 40” wide shelf unit that will be going in between those window sills.  We should be bringing it in from the carport any day soon.  Then we will stain and polyurethane it and all the shelves and all the window sills.

Jay, my neighbor’s son, said his cold was too bad to go to church, so I went on my own again.  Not many in attendance this week because of one thing or another.  It was so cold in the chapel that my sinuses acted up, my head stopped up, and even when I donned a cardigan and a jacket, I was still cold.  I have never been able to find a place in there where the AC isn’t blowing artic air on me.  They could hang meat in there.  Why do people want it blowing on them that cold? The light company says that the economical AC temperature is 78F, so that is where I keep mine at home.  Each degree below that equals at least $10 a month, and I am on a strict budget.

This time I didn’t know what to take for the church potluck, and I had to make it on Thursday as I would be taking my neighbor to the doctor on the Friday afternoon.  That’s my usual “Preparation Day” when I cook for the potluck, wash my hair, choose and lay out my clothes, purse, shoes, all getting ready for the Sabbath. That gives me more time on Saturday, before church, to talk to my daughter on the phone.  So I cooked some organic boneless chicken thighs, added some already cooked organic potatoes, carrots, spices and called it Chicken Stew. 

I had intended to buy some 2 x 4’s for building the wall between the living room and bedroom in the mini-house when I was taking Zach to the doctor in Conroe.  Then Friday midday he comes here and calls them to postpone his appointment as he doesn’t feel well.  So that plan was dashed, as I won’t make a special trip to Conroe for just one thing, especially on a Friday.  So as Roy had spilled food and drink splotches on my carpet, Roy shampooed it so that it would be clean for the Sabbath.

The Bible readings were Num. 25:10-30:1, 1 Kings 18:36-19:21, and Rom. 11:2-32, and the Teaching was about Giving Thanks, Praise and Acknowledging the Wisdom of The Lord.

DSCF1652-001My crockpot of Chicken Stew was well received, as was my other crockpot of Rutabagas.  We also had some chicken patties, Chili Pie, pinto beans, broccoli, several salads, including green, potato, pea and cole slaw.  Pies, fruit and cookies were there for dessert.

Jay wanted to work, and Roy didn’t, so Jay and I put the new white canvas cover over the frame of the motorhome RVport today.