Monday, June 17, 2019

70th Anniversary of NATO: Are Its Days Numbered? Great Commandment. The Big Discount. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday:

70th Anniversary of NATO: Are Its Days Numbered?

“With President Trump’s push for European nations to pay for their own defense and America’s growing isolation from Europe, are NATO’s last days drawing near as we approach its 70th anniversary?

70th Anniversary of NATO: Are Its Days Numbered?

President Harry Truman signs the North Atlantic Treaty Proclamation in the Oval Office on Aug. 24, 1949.

Just over six months before the end of World War II, the Allied powers met at Yalta to discuss the future of Europe after the war. Hitler’s Germany was almost totally defeated, and Europe lay largely in ruins, economically and militarily decimated.

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin divided post-war Europe between the Western powers and the Soviet Union. At the conference they made some key decisions about Europe’s future, including that:

  • Nazi Germany must unconditionally surrender.
  • Germany would be divided into four zones controlled by the victors: the United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union.
  • Germans would pay reparations for losses caused to the Allied nations.
  • Poland would be left under the control of a pro-Communist provisional government dominated by the Soviet Union, with a vague plan to hold free elections later.
  • A conference to form the United Nations would be held April 25, 1945, with five nations, including the Soviet Union, receiving a permanent seat on the Security Council.
The post-war strategic importance of NATO

After the war, it became clear that Joseph Stalin could not be trusted. He did hold elections in Poland but used Soviet troops to eliminate the non-Communist opposition. Poland provided the U.S.S.R. with a protective buffer from Western Europe and an area of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe.

In 1947 and 1948 the Soviet Union organized and supported a Communist coup in Czechoslovakia and implemented the Berlin Blockade, limiting access to West Berlin (which was located within Soviet-controlled East Germany).

This map shows the current member states of NATO. 

Because of the fear that Western European nations might turn to the Soviets for their security, U.S. leadership stayed engaged with Europe to prevent the spread of Soviet influence and to prevent a third world war. To protect Western Europe from the Soviet Union, in 1949 the United States, Canada and other Western nations formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

With Europe laid waste after the war, NATO provided the security necessary for the rebuilding of European industries and food production funded by the Marshall Plan. The Soviets refused to participate in the rebuilding of Europe or allow any Eastern European states to receive aid, heightening the distrust between the East and West.

NATO was successful at accomplishing its strategic goals. It kept Western Europe safe and secure from Soviet aggression in its delicate post-war rebuilding years; it helped West Germany to rebuild itself, peacefully integrated into Europe; and it helped ensure that Western Europe would be rebuilt along the Western economic and political model.

Fast-forward 70 years to today, and the role and future of NATO is uncertain. As America under President Donald Trump retreats from the world stage, are NATO’s days numbered?

A broken relationship

The United States was instrumental in the rebuilding of West Germany. When the Berlin Wall began to fall in 1989, the U.S. was ready to assist with the reunification of East and West Germany.

But since then a lot has happened between the United States and Germany. A number of factors have caused a significant rift between the two powers. Continued at:


Daily Bible Verse Blog

Which Is the Great Commandment?

Matthew 22:35-38

Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.”

The lawyer seemingly intended this as a trick question with many possible answers that would be considered wrong by those experts who had ranked the laws differently. But Jesus Christ cut to the core of all the laws to identify what is truly most important. Loving God with all our being means we will seek to please Him and do everything else He asks us to do.

This first, great commandment summarizes the first four of the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:1-11) where God explains how to love Him the way He wants to be loved. Human ideas of how to worship God may be well-intentioned, but to be assured we are pleasing God, we must worship and obey Him the way He wants us to. The first four Commandments, and the entire Bible, show us that way.

Study more about how God wants us to love Him in our article “The Great Commandment.”


The Big Discount

An Amazing Fact: “Shoplifting is a rampant problem in the United States, but can you imagine someone stealing from a charity event? Timothy Clark did just that. What’s more, it was an event at a Walmart store in Maryland, attended by 50 police officers! He allegedly tried to steal over $500 in video game products while the law enforcement officers were holding a “Shop with a Cop” program for the community.

The store’s security unit caught Clark cutting open and shoving video games and accessories into his shirt. They immediately contacted police who were … right there! The suspect had no chance to run out the door since officers were all over the place. Authorities found 26 PlayStation and Xbox games, two controllers, and various other video game accessories. Strangely enough, the purpose of the charity event was to “build good relations between law enforcement and local youth.”

Shoplifting, also called “boosting” and “five-finger discount,” is one of the most common property crimes in the United States. Most shoplifters are amateurs, but there are those who make a living at it. Retailers say that on average they lose about 0.6 percent of their inventory to shoplifters. One figure says shoplifting costs businesses about $25 million a day. Some businesses use closed-circuit television to catch thieves. Others pay personnel to watch people, some using uniformed guards to discourage shoplifting activity.

The devil, in one sense, has shoplifted planet Earth. He has stolen the innocence, the purity, and the safety of our world when he successfully tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, telling her, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). Shoplifters believe that they will not get caught and that there are no consequences to their actions. But the Bible teaches that God sees all. “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). The Lord’s surveillance system is without fault.
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Ecclesiastes 12:14”



Two more trips to the chiropractor, ad the x-rays showed that my tailbone is permanently damaged and won’t get any better.  I am OK as long as I don’t get in certain positions, and then it catches, makes me go “ouch”, and takes my breath away.  The chiropractor doesn’t want me to to go walking like I used to, anyway, not yet.

Because it looks like the sale of my house and mini-house (guest house) will be going through and I will be moving to a senior apartment in another town, I had to do something about a feral cat who takes up residence here every time she has kittens because she knows that I will feed her.  I hated to do it, but I set a trap and caught her, and her kitten.  She only had one survive this time. She was poorly and had one of those deadly cat diseases that they get from being outside, either FIV or FeLu.  I felt like a traitor because even though she hissed at me and I couldn’t get near her, she trusted me. She would meow from under my van to tell me she was hungry because she knew that I would bring her something to eat and drink.  Chris took us to the shelter south of Conroe, where she would be put to sleep.  I knew that I wouldn’t be safe to drive through my tears.  This way she won’t die a painful lingering death alone, but just go to sleep peacefully. 

The fuel pump for my little Mercury Tracer was available but expensive at the local parts house, and then I found out how much less they are online.  I am not in that much of a hurry to get it fixed, so I will wait for it to get here for $120 difference!

I made organic chicken breasts and spaghetti for the church potluck, and there were two great dishes made by different ladies that were ground beef. One with rice and one with a cornbread topping.  Lots of salads, veggies and desserts.  We all get plenty to eat.

The Bible readings were Exo. 22:4-23:5, Isa. 49:1-7, James 1:1-2:4, and the Teaching was more about Pentecost.  The pastor’s voice was giving out so he didn’t read any of Matthew this Sabbath.

It was hot trying to get stuff out of my attic, it had to be done anyway, then  it was a lot cooler after the rain, so we should have waited until the next day.

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