Monday, September 26, 2016

Cause and Effect in Prophecy. James Smithson.


For “Scripture Sunday”:.  Late again as it is Monday.

Cause and Effect in Prophecy

Deuteronomy 28:1, 15

“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. …

“But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you. …”

Bible prophecy, and the Bible as a whole, teaches us the principle of cause and effect. Obeying God’s good and beneficial laws ultimately leads to wonderful blessings. Disobeying—sinning—ultimately leads to the horrible curses described in Deuteronomy 28.

This is a sure and certain principle—there are predictable consequences to our actions, physically and spiritually.

So why does humanity so easily forget this inevitable truth? Because under the sway of Satan, we have learned to postpone some of the bad consequences, and Satan has used his enormous powers of deception to make the bad look good and the good, bad. He tricks us into thinking there are shortcuts—that we can escape the consequences.

But God wants us to take the long view—to see through the deception to the ultimate reality. He gives us His laws and Bible prophecy so we can see what will cause suffering and what will cause real joy and happiness. Choose life!

For more about the purposes of Bible prophecy, see “Purpose of Prophecy.”



Purpose of Prophecy

“Two of the Minor Prophets provide major lessons about why God gives us predictions of the future. What is the purpose of prophecy?

Purpose of Prophecy

Part of the mission God gives His people involves getting His message out to this world. That message is a message of warning, a call for repentance and a message of hope and good news. Prophecy has always been a part of that message.

But why? Why does God give prophecies? Consider the following insights from two of the Minor Prophetsthat reveal three reasons for prophecy.

Two tales of one city

Jonah and Nahum were both prophets who were given messages from God about Nineveh—a great city that represented the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians were a brutal and greatly feared enemy of Israel. Both Jonah and Nahum were given prophecies about Nineveh’s destruction. But the books turn out much differently.

Jonah, who prophesied about 100 to 150 years before Nahum, would have been quite happy to see the vivid destruction that Nahum prophesied come to pass. But the story of Jonah adds additional depth to our understanding of what God is doing—and why.

Let’s look at what these two prophecies about Nineveh show us about three of God’s purposes of prophecy.

The events in the book of Jonah happened perhaps 50 years before Assyria took Israel captive. Even then, Assyria was a dreaded and cruel enemy. In Jonah 1:2 God told Jonah: “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”

God hates wickedness, and He wants us to hate it too. And that leads us to a first purpose:

1. Prophecy shows God’s justice, and this is intended to lead us to repentance.

What wicked things had Assyria done? Jonah doesn’t give details, but Nahum later gives a list of some of the terrible things that Nineveh had long been known for.

  • They conspired against God (Nahum 1:9).
  • They were famous for crushing and harshly oppressing their enemies (Nahum 1:13; Nahum 2:12).
  • They were known for violence and lies (Nahum 3:1).
  • Nineveh “taught them all to worship her false gods” (Nahum 3:4, New Living Translation). Verse 19 says, “Where can anyone be found who has not suffered from your cruelty?” (NLT).
  • God is righteous and holy and just. He never minimizes sin or says it’s not so bad. His justice requires that He decry evil and point out that sin leads to suffering, destruction and death. He doesn’t want the humans He created to sin or die. God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). We’ll come back to this aspect of God’s nature a little later.

    2. Prophecy shows God’s power—He always wins! This gives us encouragement.

    Nahum prophesied 60 to 100 years after Israel had been cruelly taken captive by Assyria. This was 100 to 150 years after Jonah. In Nahum 1:3 it says: “The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. The LORD has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.”

    God is patient—slow to anger. But in the end His power always wins. Even though people of that time worshipped the “god of storms”—who was called Baal by the Canaanites—God is the one really in control of the whirlwinds and storms. Not only could Jesus control the storms and walk on water, this seems to portray God as walking on the clouds!

    In the end, God wins. The people of Nahum’s time needed this encouragement. The people facing the end-time “beast” power will need that encouragement. Understanding God’s power and that He always wins is important for us to understand more about God.

    3. Prophecy shows God’s love.   
    More at:


    James Smithson

    An Amazing Fact: “Distinguished scientist and chemist James Macie was born in France in 1765, the illegitimate son of a British duke. With Jim’s father out of the picture, the boy’s devoted mother, also a woman of wealth, returned to England with him to fight for her son’s official acceptance. Because of the laws of 18th-century England, she barely managed to have Jim declared a British citizen. Because of his illegitimacy, James Macie’s other basic rights were restricted at every turn. Perhaps what hurt Jim most was that he could never hold the title of his real father, the 1st Duke of Northumberland.

    Knowing these restrictions as he grew up, Jim Macie determined to excel in other ways. In 1786, Jim graduated from Pembroke College with honors, and shortly thereafter launched himself upon a glowing scientific career. Many sophisticated experiments and published results later, Jim became a respected scientist. While his scientific colleagues, with less talent, would be knighted for their accomplishments, Jim was denied that honor simply because he was born illegitimate. It is no wonder that James Macie was hurt. He vowed never to marry, realizing that the stigma of a tarnished heritage would be passed to his children.

    So, James Macie conceived of a plan that would serve as a final rejection of the country that had rejected him. When Jim passed away in 1829 he died a very wealthy man, with no heirs who could claim his vast fortune. In his will he sought revenge on England by leaving all of his money to a newly formed country that England called illegitimate— the United States of America. Jim had never even visited the United States. Yet by willing his fortune to us he disinherited England as it had disinherited him.

    In his will he specified that his money was to be used for the foundation of an institute that would increase and diffuse knowledge among men and that would perpetuate his true family name that was denied him at birth—the name Smithson. And thus, the gift James Smithson gave us, which represents the torment of illegitimacy, is today our country’s most magnificent storehouse of culture and scientific accomplishment. I expect you have heard of the Smithsonian Institution.
    Did you know the United States is also mentioned in prophecy? “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon” (Revelation 13:11).”
    Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
    Genesis 21:10



    Yes, I have been very amiss and not updating.  Nothing going on with the repairs to the guest house as my helper had his hernia surgery, then it came undone, so he had to back into the hospital.  I have been very busy trying to get caught up sorting stuff out for sale.

    Several young men have said that they would pressure wash the algae off the house, but they didn’t show up.  I just can’t understand people who say they are going to call, or do something, and then they don’t!

    0812151518My two foster cats have been staying in the SPCA Cat Habitat at Petco for a month to get some public exposure.  Nala who I have fostered for three years was adopted. That made me glad that she will now have a good home when I am gone, but I miss her very much.  Her new ‘Mom’ was surprised that I let Nala sleep on my bed, so I don’t think she will let Nala do that.  Nala also has to get used to two big dogs and another female cat, so that adoption might not “take”, then Nala would come back here.

    DSCF1203My other cat, Midi was also adopted, and they just adore him.  I knew they would, and I am so happy that he, an 11 year old black cat, finally has a real “furever’ home.  Before he came here he had been at a foster home where there were a lot of cats and he didn’t get very much individual attention, so he loved it here.  I miss him too, he used to sleep on the other side of my bed from Nala, and I was in the middle, like person in a cat sandwich.

    The third of the four cats in the Habitat was adopted and if the fourth one doesn’t get a new home, I am going to foster her.  She is a ‘tortie” (tortoiseshell), black with little mottled orange splotches, named Flower.

    Things at the church have been fine, we are now back to starting to read the Bible from Genesis again.  As I had to help get things ready in the dining room I couldn’t hear the Teaching very well.  We are getting ready for The Feast of Trumpets and then The Feast of Tabernacles the following week.  One time I made a beet/carrot dish in my crockpot, and a sweet potato/apple dish the next time, and it was all eaten up.

    Even though the weather is cooler than it was, is still warm and muggy as there has been a shower nearly every day.

    Monday, September 12, 2016

    Fifteen Years After 9/11. What Makes a Hero? Heroic 9/11 Dogs. Update.


    For “Scripture Sunday”:

    Fifteen Years after 9/11, What to Remember.

    “While memories of September 11 elicit a flood of emotions, the lessons of that historic day should never be forgotten.

    America attacked: Hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m. in New York City (Sept. 11, 2001).

    Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    One Nation

    As workers and inhabitants made their way back to Manhattan after September 11, the smell of rubble and melted plastic mingled with the stench of decaying bodies. The horror of that day lingered, but something else did as well. New Yorkers felt increased camaraderie after surviving the disaster, often asking each other, “Where were you on 9/11?” Strangers would recount their stories to one another.

    Hints of a feeling of togetherness began on September 11 itself. In Washington Square Park, a few began holding hands, with passersby quietly joining. People from varied backgrounds soon added to the number, and the circle quickly grew. It was consoling to know they were not alone.

    A similar feeling of solidarity swept the country, starting with candlelight vigils and memorial services in states across the union. It was seen in a sea of waving American flags, then in pins, T-shirts and bumper stickers.

    The entire nation shared a unified sense of purpose. They backed the president almost unanimously. A Gallup poll showed 90 percent approved of his performance on September 21-22, including 89 percent of Democrats.

    In the face of losing the freedoms and prosperity they had long enjoyed, Americans better appreciated them, and were prepared to work hard to ensure their continued existence. Those in New York City volunteered for clean up at Ground Zero. Elsewhere, individuals began volunteering, both for 9/11-related charities and local causes. Thousands returned to the churches of their childhood, trying to make sense of what happened. By some estimates, nearly half of adults attended a religious service the Sunday following 9/11. Charitable donations went up as well, with Americans giving about $2.8 billion to help those affected by the terror attacks.

    What to Remember

    The September 11 memorial that now stands where the towers once did is designed to help visitors never forget that historic day. Entering the site, they must follow a path that leads to a museum pavilion dedicated to the unforgettable day, with the nation’s tallest building towering in front of them.

    In addition, waterfalls drop into two square pools set into the footprints of where the twin towers once stood. The pools are ringed with bronze plates carrying the names of attack victims. Trees line the entire memorial.

    With each anniversary of September 11, we call to mind the events of that day. We remember the horror we felt as the towers crashed, the sadness of mourning loved ones, and the renewed appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy.

    But just remembering the event is not enough. America must learn lessons. It will take a period of hardship to alert the United States to what is blocking God from blessing it.

    September 11 was the front edge of a time of trouble soon to overtake America. This coming period of continuous calamity will be one that future generations will truly never forget.

    Those who learn the lessons from what is occurring now, and from that historic and tragic September day, can escape—if they remember God is the only source of blessings and learn to obey Him by living His Way now.”

    Excerpts from:

    For a fuller picture of what is foretold to occur, read America and Britain in Prophecy.


    What Makes a Hero?

    Reflections on the tragedy of 9/11, and the heroes who gave all they could.

    YouTube video:


    [Darris McNeely] “Have you ever asked the question or had a discussion, what makes a hero? I’ve discussed this with close friends many times through the years, as we look at either stories or real-life people that we come in contact with, and defining a hero – always an interesting discussion.

    The fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America are upon us here in 2016. And there is always a great deal of reflection, it seems every year, on the anniversary of 9/11, when nearly 3000 Americans lost their lives in New York, in Washington, and in Pennsylvania. Fifteen years on, people still remember people who – and the stories of individuals who died, who didn’t make it out of either imagethe twin towers in New York City or the Pentagon or the airplane that went down in Shanksville, PA, and as I’ve read many stories about people and the situations that came up on that day, I never cease to be amazed and just touched by the stories of human bravery, of people who were ordinary people – people who could have gotten out of the twin towers, from their offices, and yet they stayed behind and went multiple times up and down stairwells to get their coworkers out, to get those who were in their charge out, and then didn’t make it out themselves.

    I’ve talked to people who have – who lost neighbors and close friends. I’ve been to the memorial there in New York City, and as many as you have. And every time we are confronted with the anniversary of 9/11, and again, a story of human bravery, it touches us, it reminds us that we live in a very dangerous world, and all of us probably wonder are we any safer for the trillions of dollars that have been spent on safety for the American homeland.

    But bringing it back to the personal level – what makes a hero? It’s a very good question to think about for all of us, as we remember those who did die on 9/11, and life goes on, asking ourselves what might we do? What is it that we do in our everyday lives? Are we honest? Do we live with integrity? Do we have care and concern? Do we have love for one another? Would we lay down our life for another person? Those are all big questions, and none of us really know what we might do when an emergency comes. But coming back to the anniversary of this significant event that still resonates in the psyche of Americans fifteen years later, is a moment for us all to think about what makes a hero.” From:



    Remembering Heroic 9/11 Dogs

    “On that day, 10,000 emergency workers sprang into action. Among those, 300 were humble dogs. Dogs trained for search and rescue, dogs trained to sniff bombs, and dogs trained to help comfort and heal — they dutifully set about the task of helping out their human friends.”



    A bit more work has been done in the guest house.  All the sheetrock on the new wall between the new bathroom and kitchen is up now, and there isn’t much more taping and floating to be done, but it won’t be finished just yet.  Roy had his hernia surgery last Friday so he is supposed to take it easy for a while.  We put soundproofing in the bathroom walls as it is close to the kitchen and living room.

    My two SPCA foster cats, Nala and Midi (Midnight Lee) are still on display in the Cat Habitat at Conroe Petco looking for ‘'furever” homes.  For a month or so, there are four cats in the Habitat in four separate cages, and once a day an SPCA volunteer goes there to take care of them.  Sometimes one or two will be adopted, and if not they just go back to their foster homes.  My cats have been there for over 3 weeks now, and I miss them terribly, but I haven’t wanted to unsettle Nala by going to see them.  I am surprised that she is finally eating and seems to be enjoying all the attention there, as she was always so clingy to me.  I would like to see her in a permanent home before my time comes.  Midi adapts to new things like the Habitat very well, he’s been there several times, but I doubt if he will be adopted as he is black and 11 years old.

    For the church potluck I made Roasted Veggies with red, white and blue potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and also a steamed kale in yogurt sauce salad.  I heard that steaming kale makes it taste better.

    The Bible readings were Deut. 26:1-20:8, Isa.60:1-22, Matt. 13:1-23, and the Teaching was “Anchor”.  Our hope is a steadfast anchor for us to have eternal hope.  The sun was really scorching when I got there, but by the time we had eaten our potluck lunch, the rain had come and it was a cooler day.

    Tuesday, September 6, 2016

    Show Kindness to Others Every Day. Power of Words. Immensity of Space.


    For Scripture Sunday:

    The Sixty Second Challenge

    Show Kindness to Others Every Day


    “We interact with strangers all the time. Do they see a light shining when they see us?

    An man looking at the camera.WonHo Sung/Unsplash

    It's important to God that we are kind, gentle, forgiving and patient at all times. This way we are always ready to have a positive effect on others and be outstanding representatives of God and His way of life.


    “‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” (Matthew 25:37-40; New Living Translation).

    Take the Sixty Second Challenge—dare yourself to be kind and positive to brighten someone’s day.

    Think about the countless people you see throughout your day-to-day life. You don’t know where they’re from, what they’re going through, or in many cases, even their name. Try brainstorming a list of examples. Here’s some to start:

    • Check-out clerks
    • Gas station attendants
    • Food service and retail workers
    • Custodial staff
    • Other people driving on the road
    • Receptionists and secretaries
    • Maintenance workers
    • Joggers, walkers and bikers
    • Post officers and delivery workers

    As you continue this list, remember God’s instruction to be a light to others (Matthew 5:14-16). You and I probably only interact with these individuals for a minute at most. What kind of positive—or negative—impressions could someone get from us in those short 60 seconds?

    This is why it’s so important to God that we are kind, gentle, forgiving and patient at all times. This way we are always ready to have a positive effect on others and be outstanding representatives of God and His way of life.

    This might seem like a tiny or unimportant effort, but remember what God says about things that seem that way: “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities” (Luke 16:10, NLT). God expects you to be faithful in all aspects of your life. By showing kindness to others, you are sharing your faith.

    How can we share our faith in this way? Let’s write another list together—please add your own ideas for this in the comments!

    • Smile
    • Give appropriate eye contact
    • Wave or shake hands where acceptable
    • Say “please” when asking for something
    • Forgive or overlook a mistake they might have made
    • Greet them and ask how they are doing
    • Hold the door for them or let them go through before you
    • Offer to help them carry something
    • Tell them “thank you”
    • Strike up a positive, casual conversation
    • Wish them a good day

    Take the Sixty Second Challenge—dare yourself to be kind and positive to brighten someone’s day. Challenge yourself to do this to every new person you see or interact with that day. Take the actions above and apply them to the people we listed earlier. Wave to the mailman. Thank the janitor. Ask the cashier how she’s doing. You might not even have a full minute with any of these people, but see how much of an influence you can have with the time you’re given.

    By reaching out to others in kindness, we are lights in a dark world. There’s no telling what that other person was going through during the rest of their day. But for just 60 seconds, you can be a light to them—and that can make all the difference.

    Other verses to consider when going out of our way to be kind to others

    “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

    “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

    “A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself” (Proverbs11:17; English Standard Version).



    Power of Words

    Do you realize the power you have in the things you say?

    YouTube video:


    [Steve Myers] “How powerful are the words that we use? I was thinking about this the other day and remembered the story of creation. Do you remember the story of creation? If you go back to the beginning of the book of Genesis, when God created things, it tells us that He spoke. In fact, I was reading an article about that Hebrew word for “spoke”, and it seemed to indicate that every time someone speaks in the Old Testament – whether it’s God, or whether someone’s speaking to another person – that they use the word “spoke”, and then they quote whatever that person said. And so it becomes a very interesting concept to think that this physical world came into existence by the word, by the spoken word. In fact, Christ, before He became Christ, was known as the “Logos”, “the Word”. And so each day of creation, God spoke, and another part of the world came into existence.

    Think of the power of words. It created this world, this universe. And it also impacts us. It impacts our relationships. God’s word had the power to bring about the creation. Our words can also be creative. But they can also be destructive. And so we have to be careful about the power of words.

    In fact, the Proverbs say a lot about the things that we say. Notice this particular passage in Proverbs 18:24. I’m sorry, verse 21. Proverbs 18:21. Here’s what it says about the power of our words. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” In other words, there’s consequences that come because of the things that we say, and the way we relate to people and the way we express those things. God’s expression in creation was that He brought things into existence. His creative powers were expressed through the word. And we can do that very same thing. Or on the other hand, the negative side of things, has difficult consequences.

    In fact, just a couple of pages before this, in Proverbs 16, we read in verse 24 – now we have verse 24, there. In Proverbs 16:24, it says something that is very powerful. It says, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones”. You see, that’s God’s intent when He speaks to us. His intent is for the best. It’s a positive, powerful thing.

    And I think that’s something that we can think about. Think about the power of our words. We have a tremendous power in the things that we say because they’re a reflection of what we actually think. So let’s make it our goal to fulfill what it says here in Proverbs 16 – that our words can be pleasant words, our words can be a sweetness, they can be a very good thing, they can be something that are creative and build up rather than tear down. So let’s make that our goal to be a sweetness to others through the power of our words.”


    Immensity of Space

    An Amazing Fact: “For the better part of recorded history, Earth was thought to be the stationary center of the universe and the ancient wise men believed there were only 5,119 stars. The constellations were named and filled with colorful legends. Without a telescope the stars seemed to be just twinkling points of light that move across the night sky. Now we know when we look at the heavens that what we once thought were just single stars are often really a gigantic spiral of stars called galaxies.

    A galaxy is like a colossal island in space made up of gas, dust, and millions of stars. On clear nights we see the spiral edge of our own galaxy called the Milky Way. Our Sun is just one small star in a pinwheel containing about a hundred billion blazing suns aligned in the form of a disk. And that’s not counting the planets that could be orbiting around these stars. Recent research indicates that there are billions of galaxies in our universe.

    A few years ago the Hubble Telescope took a picture of a small spot of sky near the Big Dipper. To give you a better idea of how big this area was, it was about the size of a dime held 75 feet away. In that tiny dot of sky scientists counted over 1,500 galaxies! Take that number times the volume of space in every direction and you would calculate that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies with billions of stars in each galaxy. Wow!

    The distance of these galaxies are measured in light years. Keep in mind one light year is the distance you would travel if you could ride a beam of light 186,000 miles per second for 365 days. Our home, the Milky Way, is some 30,000 light-years across. That means you would have to travel the speed of light 30,000 years to cross just our galaxy! And you still wouldn’t have even left our front yard. For example, if you wanted to visit the Andromeda Galaxy you would have to travel over the speed of light for over 2.4 million years.

    When we consider the God who made all of this, we can only say, “How Great Thou Art!” It is almost inconceivable that the God who made the infinite cosmos wants to dwell with us. “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:4).
    When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; Psalms 8:3What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? Psalms 8:4



    The helper, Roy, and I have been busy taping and floating the sheetrock patches where we had to add or subtract outlets in the new kitchen and bathroom.  Sometimes we had to cut a ‘peep-hole-‘ in a wall to find the wires, so those had to be filled in, too.   We framed up and filled in the old closet doorway with sheetrock as there is a new entry to the walk-in closet now, so that had to be taped and floated, too.  Then the new wall between the new kitchen and new bathroom had to be textured, sealed and painted.  We have one more wall to sheetrock but Roy doesn’t need to be battling big sheets of ‘rock’ right now.  One day we spent straightening out the storage areas and packing everything better.  We only work in the mornings and my helper is still waiting to have his surgery so he doesn’t really feel very well.  He has had to go to the VA hospital each Friday for tests and exams.  He should be having his hernia surgery on Friday, but it is his acid reflux that is giving him the most trouble, as he can hardly eat and is losing weight fast. I am so thankful to our Lord that I don’t get sick.

    My two foster cats, Nala and Midnight Lee (Midi) are at the SPCA cat habitat at Conroe Petco for a month, hopefully to be adopted.  I miss them a lot, but they need to have permanent homes before I am no longer around.

    The last two Sabbaths I was asked to ramrod the potluck as the Pastor’s wife was away in San Antionio one weekend, then she had a swollen painful eye on another. The potluck lunches are always fun, and I try to take something different each time.  One time it was a Shepherd’s Pie made with lentils instead of meat, and veggies, then covered in the traditional mashed white potatoes.  I was surprised how popular that was.  Another time it was Shepherd’s Pie made with ground chicken and veggies covered in mashed sweet potatoes.

    In our weekly Bible readings at the church we have now got as far as Deut. 21:10-25:19, and Isa. 54:1-10 and 2 Peter 1:15-10.  One week the Teaching was about “Belonging to God, Who Shall We Serve” and another was on the subject of “End Time Prophecies” again, as there is so much foretold in the Bible about that time. This time is was about “ISIS Today”.