Tuesday, March 27, 2018

What Easter Doesn’t Tell You. Easter or Passover. Peter Rabbit Does Not Belong In A Cage. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”

What Easter Doesn’t Tell You

“Do Easter traditions leave something missing in the story of Jesus Christ? What is it that Easter doesn’t tell you about Christ’s life, death and resurrection?

An old wooden hammer, rusted old nails and a crown of thorns.ginosphotos/Thinkstock

Christ died as our Passover Lamb, in fulfillment of the biblical prophecies that foretold His coming, His suffering, His death and His resurrection.

This may sound shocking to you, but did you know that Easter as a celebration has nothing to do with Jesus Christ?

The name itself does not mean “resurrection of Christ” like you may believe. The word Easter actually comes from the name of a goddess of fertility, spring and the dawn worshipped in ancient times. You can go online and quickly learn the origins of Easter bunnies, colored eggs, hot cross buns and the sunrise service. You’ll find these modern parts of the Easter celebration come from ancient pre-Christian religions. They were around a long time before the time of Christ, and they have nothing to do with biblical practice or the Church!

Maybe that doesn’t matter to you. Maybe you believe it’s okay to incorporate these things as part of the worship of Christ. But let me show you from God’s Word why you should rethink the observance of Easter.

Warnings in the early Church

The Church Jesus founded had a very clear understanding of who He was and how to worship Him. But over many decades things changed. Increasing numbers of Christians became confused during this period and lost many aspects of earlier teachings.

How could people possibly let that happen? It’s a sad fact that we have a natural tendency to forget the things we learn. Early Christians learned their true faith by the teachings of Christ and the apostles. But very early, as we can tell from the writings of the apostles to the early Church, heresy reared its ugly head. False teachings began to creep into the Church.

Paul warned the Church members in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) that they were flirting with a false gospel (Galatians 1:6). The apostle Peter warned that false teachers among the Christians would “secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them” (2 Peter 2:1, emphasis added throughout).

Gradually, through the years after the death of the original apostles, other teachings began creeping into the Church. Among these false teachings was a distortion and corruption of the truth about the death and the resurrection of Jesus.

Again, Peter warned Church members that there was a danger of “denying the Lord who bought them.” He warned against replacing the clear truth of Jesus Christ with pagan myth and false teaching. Yet in spite of Peter’s clear warning, people bought into the denial.

So, what does all this have to do with Easter?

Easter evolved from a story based on an ancient Babylonian god named Tammuz. The story of Tammuz is at the heart of the pagan world—and at the heart of Easter. It’s a story of a never-ending circle of life without meaning, direction or purpose. The ancient Babylonians believed that Tammuz died every year and that spring showed his “resurrection” by a goddess named Ishtar.

The word Easter ultimately derives from the name of this ancient false goddess. Her worship was very popular, and spread far and wide from Babylon to other regions of the ancient world. A lot of modern Easter customs come directly from the way ancient people worshiped Ishtar.

Why and how did this happen?  Continued at: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/beyond-today-magazine/what-easter-doesnt-tell-you


Easter or Passover, Which Is Christian?

“Many believe that God's endorsement of Passover ended with Christ's death—and that He has since replaced it with the observance of Easter as a celebration of Christ's resurrection. But is that so?

Easter eggs and a small cup of wine.iStockphoto

Have you ever compared the meanings and symbols of Passover and Easter? Have you ever asked what God thinks of the two?

On April 4 of this year, a billion or more people who identify themselves as Christian will celebrate Easter. The week before, a far smaller number will observe Passover.

How do these two scenarios compare? On the one hand, we have a fun-filled Easter egg hunt, Easter bunnies galore and an Easter Sunday sunrise service. On the other, a solemn Passover service that typically includes participants washing one another’s feet and partaking of unleavened bread and wine.

Easter seems more fun, more joyous; Passover seems old-fashioned and more serious. These are some differences that are obvious on the surface. Many other differences aren’t so obvious.

My own Easter story

My earliest recollections of Easter included searching for colored eggs that I helped paint and my mother hid. Since I loved hard-boiled eggs, finding and eating those colorfully decorated eggs was fun and quite a treat!

I never questioned the Easter season with its Easter eggs and Easter bunnies. This was supposed to be the most holy holiday of the year, but to me it was more about fun—just as merchants hoped it would be.

It wasn’t until my early 20s that I learned about the so-called “Jewish” Passover. The ministers I’d known earlier had given me no hint that Passover was something for Christians.

I now found this curious, since my Bible clearly showed that Jesus, a Jew, observed the Passover with His closest followers and instructed them, and us, to continue to keep it until His return (Matthew 26:26-29). I was also surprised to read that the apostle Paul explicitly told Church members in the Greek port city of Corinth—most of whom were not and never had been Jewish—to observe the Passover as a reminder and memorial of Jesus Christ’s death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

The Passover has great meaning for Christians, being as current and relevant today as it was when Jesus instituted its symbols and told His followers, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17).

And try as I might, I couldn’t find anything in the Bible mentioning the apostles or early Church celebrating Easter. No eggs or rabbits anywhere. I even found that the one place where the word Easter is found in the Bible—Acts 12:4 in the King James Version—the original word there is actually Pascha, the Greek word for Passover!

I was at a loss to explain this. How was it that millions upon millions of people celebrated a holiday that clearly isn’t found in the Bible, while dutifully ignoring a holy observance that is in the Scriptures?

A valid replacement?

Have you ever compared the meanings and symbols of Passover and Easter? Have you ever asked what God thinks of the two?

If you celebrate Easter with sincerity (and many millions do), you likely regard Easter as a religious holiday that superseded the archaic Old Testament Passover. After all, that’s what most churches teach—that Easter has replaced the Passover. But is there more to the story than that?

Even the Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges that Jesus and His apostles never celebrated Easter, observing instead the seventh-day Sabbath and the annual festivals of God, including the Passover, all listed in Leviticus 23 and mentioned in many other places in Scripture ( New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, 1967, p. 867, “Early Christian Feasts”).

You might have heard that Easter came from pagan origins but may have simply dismissed this as irrelevant. After all, God surely wouldn’t mind if you celebrated this holiday to honor Him, would He? Yet He does mind. The Bible clearly states that God wants to be worshipped according to the way He instructs in the Scriptures (see Deuteronomy 12:29-32).”         Continued at: https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/easter-or-passover-which-is-christian


Peter Rabbit Does Not Belong In A Cage 

Rabbit“Peter Rabbit is a well-known, mischievous rabbit who loves to run through the neighbor’s garden.

He is the star in his own just-released 3D movie, Peter Rabbit. Peter has been around in books since 1901, when his author, Beatrix Potter, drew him and started his adventure.

Animal shelters across the world are nervous because they believe the movie will increase the amount of people wanting a pet rabbit. The timing could not be worse as Easter is approaching, and that also brings an increase in pet rabbits. Not all animal shelters will or can take an unwanted rabbit.”

Continued at:  https://blog.theanimalrescuesite.com/peter-rabbit-movie/



On Sunday, the yard really needed to be mowed, but it is considered a Sabbth to some folk, so Zack my neighbor, and I deep-cleaned the air conditioner fronts, coils, filters and the ceiling fans.  That takes a little step ladder, so I don’t do stuff like that when I am on my own.

Tuesday, as it was going to be the day with the least wind, it was ‘yard day’, so we burned a couple of big piles of pine needles.  Zack mowed, and I tried to weed-whack, but the whacker wouldn’t advance the line, so I gave up on that.  On Wednesday I took Zack to Conroe for his doctor appointment, and we did a bit of shopping.

We now have the 15-light door that is going between the living room and bedroom in the mini-house all painted, but we haven’t re-hung it yet as it will be easier to lay the carpet without it in the way. Yes, we are ready for that, even though there is still a lot to do.

Claudia, Jay’s Mom, passed away in the hospital, so he is now on his own at 60 years old, and will have to pay his own bills. Hopefully, this will make him grow up and be more responsible and realize that he can’t spend all his money on beer, cigarettes and what-have-you.  You would think that a grandfather would have more sense!

Finally, the van passed inspection with a new catalytic converter.  That was expensive, even at the discount place, and the lady who was going to buy a door from me didn’t show up, so I can’t buy tags yet.  I found out that it would be cheaper to buy the tags online than if you go the County office.  Especially, if you use a credit card, so maybe that’s what I will do.  Though I hate to charge stuff as I already had to charge the converter.

For the church potluck I made some eggplant into “facon”, that’s fake bacon for those who don’t eat pork or meat.  I have made it out of tempeh before and it was quite good, but I must have done something wrong because the eggplant didn’t come out crispy even though it tasted good.  So I didn’t take it to church.  I dug around in my freezer and found three containers of already cooked chicken based dishes, put them in a pot on the stove to defrost, and took the result in my crockpot so it could be heated through when I got there. Everyone liked it, and some people took containers of it home with them.   I also took a big bowl of a cantelope that I had cut up. 

On Friday, the pastor’s wife called me as she had cooked some grass-fed ground beef and couldn’t quite make up her mind what to do with it.  As I had cooked a large bowl of mashed potatoes, we made it a joint effort, a Shepherd’s Pie.  On the Sabbath, we put the two together and reheated it in the church’s oven.  I keep a food thermometer with me, so I check each dish to make sure that it has come up to 165°.  There are always several other dishes, so I try to check them all.  That goes back to when I have worked in various food establishments, like school cafeterias, my own Mini-Golf, and a restaurant and Officer’s Club on an American Air Force base. USAF rules are even more explicit than the regular Health Depts.

The Bible readings were Psa. 32 and 85, Exo. 38:21-40:38. 1 King. 7:51-8:21 and Heb. 1:1-14.  The Teaching was about “The Messiah’s Suffering” and the terrible treatment that Christ endured for us, and how it was all foretold in the Old Testament.  Isa. 53 and Psa. 22 to name a couple. More than 700 years before Jesus was even born, Isaiah provides details of His life and death which have come true. 

More weird weather, heat one day and AC on the next day.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Stephen Hawking and the Big Question. The Patrick You Didn't Know. Cereal Bags Kill. Dog Fighting Is Not Entertainment! Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”, but late again.

Stephen Hawking and the Big Question

“Stephen Hawking’s brilliant mind revolutionized the world of theoretical physics—but did he ever find an answer to “the big question” that drove him?

Stephen Hawking and the Big QuestionFor Stephen Hawking, there was only ever one big question.

During his university years, everything came easy. He rarely studied or took notes because, in his words, “Nothing seemed worth making an effort for.” The exception was cosmology. He was drawn to the subject because it involved “the big question: Where did the universe come from?” (Kitty Ferguson, Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind, 2013, p. 31).

He spent his career in pursuit of answering that question, even as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) slowly destroyed his ability to move his own body. Over time, he lost all muscle control with the exception of the ability to flex a finger, twitch his cheek muscles and move his eyes.

But that was enough. Those few muscle movements were all he needed to turn the world of physics on its head and make a lasting impact on how we look at the universe itself.

A theory of everything

In 1973 Dr. Hawking spent months trying to decipher how quantum mechanics interacted with the forces of gravity. Since he was unable to write or even turn pages, “friends turned the pages of quantum theory textbooks as Dr. Hawking sat motionless staring at them for months. They wondered if he was finally in over his head” (“Stephen Hawking Dies at 76; His Mind Roamed the Cosmos”).

But he wasn’t.

Dr. Stephen Hawking was temporarily released from the constraints of his wheelchair when he took a zero gravity flight in 2007.

He succeeded not only in performing an astronomically complicated calculation entirely in his own mind, but also in making an astronomically important discovery. The result was a completely new way of looking at black holes—those supermassive collapsed stars so dense that even light itself can’t escape their pull—and the discovery of Hawking radiation.”      Continued at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/blog/stephen-hawking-and-the-big-question/


The Patrick You Didn't Know

“Who was "Saint" Patrick? What did he believe? What did he teach? And was he really Irish?

Patch of cloverssxc.hu/shannahsin

Saint Patrick’s Day is a well recognized holiday in the Western world. Celebrated in mid-March with no other Christian holidays around it, Saint Patrick’s Day has taken on a very festive atmosphere. While many picture wearing green, three-leaf clovers, leprechauns, green beer and corned beef, do any of those things really have anything to do with Patrick himself?

Do you know who Patrick was—and more importantly what he taught?

Let’s start with what most people think they know. We have been told that Patrick was a Catholic monk who brought the Trinity doctrine to the people of Ireland. And along the way he drove all the snakes from the Emerald Isle. He became so renowned that the Catholic Church made him a “saint.”

None of that is true.

The Scottish slave in the Celtic Church

Patrick’s given name was actually Maewyn Succat (or Sucat). He took the name Patrick most likely because of the area he was from in Scotland. That’s right, Patrick was Scottish, not Irish! Here’s what Patrick said himself of his background:

I, Patrick…had Calpornius  for my father, a deacon, a son of the late Potitus, the presbyter, who dwelt in the village of Banavan…I was captured. I was almost sixteen years of age…and taken to Ireland in captivity with many thousand men” (William Cathcart, D. D., The Ancient British and Irish Churches , p.127).

Patrick labored for six years as a slave until he managed to escape back to his native Scotland around A.D. 376. He believed he had a calling from God, however, to go back to Ireland to teach God’s Word to the people there. The Catholic Church, while having had an impact in England and later Scotland, did not have a significant foothold in Ireland until the 12th century. They didn’t even acknowledge Patrick for about 200 years after his death.

Patrick was connected to what is known as the Celtic Church. It was very much opposed to what was taught in the Roman Catholic Church.

While we have little of Patrick’s history and teaching written by himself, what’s taught about Patrick now didn’t surface until about 500 years after his death. It was the Catholic priest Jocelyn, writing around A.D. 1130 who wrote most extensively about Patrick. He ignored much of what was known then about Patrick and inserted a Catholic background into Patrick’s story. Patrick never wrote about a connection to Rome or popes or that his authority came from there. So if Patrick wasn’t Roman Catholic, what did he teach?

Patrick’s actual teachings

In A.D. 596 Pope Gregory sent a group of monks to England to try and bring the Celtic Church under the authority of Rome. However, the Celts refused to acknowledge Gregory’s authority and rejected the teachings of the Roman Church. In Ireland the monks found that the Celtic Church permitted their priests to marry. They also practiced baptism by full immersion in water. The Celtic Church also rejected the doctrine of (papal) infallibility and veneration, transubstantiation, the confessional, the Mass, relic worship, image adoration and the primacy of Peter ( Truth Triumphant , by B.G. Wilkinson, pg. 108). The latter list is of specific Roman Catholic doctrines that the Celtic Church knew were not taught in the Scriptures.

Patrick also rejected the merging of church and state (a main teaching of Catholicism). He believed and taught the same as Jesus in John 18:36 that God’s Kingdom is not of this world. The Celtic Church had local ecclesiastical councils and kept Saturday as a day of rest, (A.C. Flick, The Rise of Medieval Church, pp. 236-327). In this matter of a Saturday (Sabbath) rest, Dr. James C. Moffatt wrote that, “They [the Celtic churches] obeyed the fourth commandment [the Sabbath commandment] literally upon the seventh day of the week” ( The Church in Scotland , pg. 140).

Patrick (and the Celtic Church) observed the other “festivals of the Eternal” (Leviticus 23), believed human beings were mortal (that is rejected the teaching of an immortal soul and the doctrine of going to heaven or hell), rejected the Trinity doctrine, followed the food laws of Leviticus 11, refused veneration of “saints” or worship of Mary, and believed that only Jesus Christ is our mediator (Leslie Hardinge, The Celtic Church in Britain ; B.G. Wilkinson, Truth Triumphant ).

The Celtic Church had a long history before the Catholic Church pushed deeper into England, Scotland and Ireland. Celtic writings speak of individuals coming from Asia Minor who brought with them the doctrines they received from John, Paul, Philip and other apostles of Jesus. A Catholic “father,” Bede, (who lived in the mid 700s A.D.) who wrote about the Celtic Church:

“They ignorantly refuse to observe our Easter [Pascha, or Passover] on which Christ was sacrificed, arguing that it should be observed with the Hebrew Passover on the fourteenth of the moon” (Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica ).
What about St. Patrick’s Day?

Conrtinued at: https://www.ucg.org/vertical-thought/the-patrick-you-didnt-know


A Common Mistake Killed Her Dog, Now She Is Sharing His Story To Save Others


“Christina Young had to endure the sudden loss of her beloved dog, Petey, after a common mistake was made. This could be happening in many homes right now!

Young’s boyfriend, Christian, came home one day expecting Petey to greet him with a wagging tail and wet nose, but that didn’t happen. When he entered their home and Petey was not at the door, he became alarmed. Christian went further into the home, where he found their best friend, lifeless on the floor with a chip bag over his head.

Photo:Facebook/Christina Young

Photo: Facebook/Christina Young

Young posted to Facebook, “He was able to get them off the counter [and] we will forever blame ourselves for leaving [them] out. He ate every chip out but, of course, went back for crumbs…. With there being nothing left inside, every time he would go for more he would inhale, making the bag tighter and tighter around his head…ultimately resulting in suffocation .” 

Photo:Facebook/Christina Young

Photo: Facebook/Christina Young

Young couldn’t understand why Petey couldn’t get the bag off his head with his paws. She dived into researching the subject and found that it is more common than she thought. She was not alone, and she was not the first to wonder why there was not more information or awareness of this. She goes on to say, “3-5 pet suffocations get reported every week, and 42 percent of those occur while the owner is in the next room. It only takes about 3 minutes for their oxygen to drop to fatal levels.”

In her research, she discovered that literally any bag can cause suffocation and needs to be out of reach for your dog. She never imagined this could happen, and you may not have either.

She ends her post with a plea to all pet parents, “So I just ask that in honor of my boy, Petey, that you be extra careful, warn other dog owners, and give your fur babies some extra love today and every day after this. I pray none of you ever have to experience your heart breaking this way.”  From: http://blog.theanimalrescuesite.com/chip-bag-petey/ 


Dog Fighting Is Not Entertainment!

Please tell YouTube to remove all videos containing any form of dog fighting.

The Animal Rescue Site received a disappointing letter from YouTube in response to our request to ban dog fighting videos. Rather than agree to remove them, YouTube merely reiterated their flagging policy, and did nothing to acknowledge the harm these videos are causing. Your signatures are more important than ever -- help us tell YouTube that we won't take no for an answer!”  http://theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/ars/petition/YoutubeDogfighting



Zack and I did a little bit of work in the mini-house, but most of the week was taken up with messing with my van.  My granddaughter helped me get it dropped off to get the oxygen sensor replaced and Chris took me to pick it up.    I had only driven it 14 miles when the light came back on again  !!!   I took it straight back so they scanned it again and said that it needs a catalytic converter now, and that’s $550.  It is a very quiet vehicle and it doesn’t smell of rotten eggs like bad converters usually do.

The van still has to be driven the required 100 miles to make sure the oxygen sensor is OK, so I drove to church as usual.  I was told that I have all the necessary paperwork if I am stopped for having out of date tags and inspection.

My little timid ‘Puddin’, foster cat, went to her new home, but I haven’t heard how she is getting along yet.  Luna, the Siamese, and I miss her, and Luna keeps on looking for her.

One morning, I was standing in my kitchen when water dripped on me.   Zack and I found out that the ceramic-lined water heater connector that goes in the top of the water heater had developed a pin point leak.  Fortunately I had another one, so with Chris’ help, as she is very strong because she trims horses feet, we got the old stubborn, calcium-ridden, corroded one off, and replaced it.

For the church pot-luck, I made a par-boiled shredded beet and carrot salad made with orange, lemon juice, olive oil, not vinegar.  Also a potato, leek and parsley dish, and another of cabbage with onions and matchstick carrots.  We had a lot of other dishes and veggies, and everything was enjoyed by all. Two separate familes who each have five children couldn’t come, so it was a lot quieter in the dining hall.  They keep all their children quiet during the service, so they get a bit rambunctious afterwards.

The Bible readings were Exo. 35:1-38:20, about the Sabbath and the making of the Ark of the Covenant and the Altar.  The Teaching was about “False Doctrines”, how they were foretold, and that we can see them being taught even today. 

Claudia isn’t at the nursing home near the church as she is back in the hospital on the west side of Houston, near her daughter’s houses, so I couldn’t go see her.

I did get another cheaper estimate for the converter, but I am going to investigate this further when I can leave here without going the long way around.  There was a bad fire at the storage units down the street, and the road will be blocked most of the day.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

What Killed The Dinosaurs? Go Around. Wisdom Versus Knowledge. Drop the Load. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:

What killed the dinosaurs?

“What killed all the dinosaurs? What are dinosaurs? Why don’t we find any today?

Huge Sauropod dinosaur leg bone. Compare to the author’s 6’4″ handsome husband!

“Over the years there have been several theories for what killed the dinosaurs and why we don’t really find them today.  Was it an asteroid impact? Was it climate change?  “What killed the dinosaurs?” is a history question, so let’s go back to the reliable source of history that we’ve talked about – the Bible. The global flood, i.e., “Noah’s Flood”, in Genesis covered the whole earth and all the land-dwelling creatures not on the ark died. Since dinosaurs lived on land, they must have died in the flood. As mentioned in the previous article about rocks, fossils, and the age of the earth (read here), many of the rock layers were created during the global flood, including fossils of some of the creatures that died during the flood.

So, the global flood is what killed most of the dinosaurs. Noah did take some on the ark (see full article), so a few dinosaurs did survive the flood. However, the climate after the flood was very different and probably made it difficult for these creatures to survive. Additionally, looking at dragon legends, the ones that remained were probably pests that humans fought and killed in the following years.  What killed the dinosaurs? Several factors – the global flood, changing climate, and humans.

Didn’t dinosaurs evolve into birds?

Archaeopteryx fossil. Photo from pixabay

The idea that dinosaurs evolved into birds is very popular right now. First off, there are a bunch of problems with the idea of evolution as a whole. One type of creature turning into a different type of creatures simply has not on record. You can read more in last week’s article about evolution. Next, looking at the anatomy of a theropod dinosaur (those like T. rex and velociraptor that are thought to have evolved into birds) presents a lot of problems for the way birds breathe and walk.

Then, or course, is the issue of feathers. Feathers are very, very, very different from the scales we find on reptiles – they are very complex and function more like a hair than like scales. There is fossil evidence of skin impressions from many dinosaurs showing scales (even recently discovered on T. rex). The famous “missing link” fossil between dinosaurs and birds, archaeopteryx, is an extinct bird – very clearly not dinosaur. The true identity of “fossil proto-feathers” is still hotly debated among paleontologists. Even many scientists who accept evolution don’t agree with dinosaur-to-bird evolution. To top it all off, fossil parrots, loons, and other birds have been found buried in the same rock layers that we find dinosaurs in. Even the lowest (relatively oldest) dinosaur-containing rock layers have bird footprint fossils.

In conclusion, dinosaurs are marvelous creatures created by God just a few thousand years ago. We don’t see dinosaurs around anymore because of the global flood, changing climate after the flood, and humans fighting these dragons. No, those birds you see in your back yard are not descendants of a dinosaur. Be sure to come back next week as we conclude this series of articles on Creation basics!”        Excerpts from: http://creationclues.org/2018/03/03/what-happened-to-the-dinosaurs-creation-basics-5/   By Sara J. Mikkelson (Bruegel) is a young woman dedicated to bringing glory to the one and only God (the LORD, Yahweh, of the Bible) in all that she does.

For Further Study, Creation Clues: Bone Mix  Behemoth Burial Grounds Tackling Pterosaurs  Making Mosasaurs  Dinosaurs that Defy Millions of Years  Living Fossils Series  Tip-Toe Tracks


Go Around 


“There are times in life when stubbornness, ego or vanity will push us into forcing an issue or putting great effort into something that only amounts to little.

A woman walking on a paved path.Krists Luhaers/Unsplash

Sometimes the best thing to do is to take the other path.

Farmers who had a tough time plowing their fields had an old saying: “Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.” There are stumps and then there are stumps. Some may be worth the effort, some may not. Knowing the difference can save a lot of grief, and having good tools can make a difference.

Jesus gave some good advice when He said that we need to count the cost of projects or things we are facing (Luke 14:28). Sometimes the best thing to do is to take the other path. That is how Abraham solved his trouble with Lot. He told Lot to make a choice and rather than have strife, Abraham would simply go the opposite way (Genesis 13:9). Abraham knew God would bless him wherever he went. When you go around the “stump” for God, hold His hand.”

From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/this-is-the-way/go-around


Wisdom Versus Knowledge    

“Wisdom can be found anywhere God chooses, whether we hear it or not.

A person studying on the Bible. Rod Long/Unsplash

God’s Word offers direction for the times we lose our way on the road of wisdom. Ask for wisdom and observe the fruit borne from that request.

Is it possible that as worldly knowledge increases, wisdom decreases? Humanity has accomplished much and has many clever sayings, such as “knowledge is power.” But it’s a spiritual paradox of sorts.

Let’s consider Scripture. Standing amidst an assortment of pagan altars, Paul stood up at Mars Hill and said: “Men of Athens, I see how very religious you are in every way” (Acts 17:22). Paul spoke to them at their spiritual level. He didn’t look down his nose and walk away. He didn’t say, “Your idols are outrageous and need to be destroyed.”

He may have screened his thoughts and practiced diplomacy. Paul found a way to tell them some good news about his merciful, all-powerful God, using a sliver of wisdom he found among these knowledgeable Athenians: “I found an altar where you worship with the words written on it, TO THE GOD WHO IS NOT KNOWN. You are worshiping Him without knowing Him. He is the One I will tell you about” (Acts 17:22-23).

Wisdom can be found anywhere God chooses, whether we hear it or not: “Wisdom cries out in the street; she utters her voice in the markets” (Proverbs 1:20). We may cry out in prayer for understanding and seek it as treasure, but Scripture cautions about misplacing our focus on knowledge: “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).

God’s Word offers direction for the times we lose our way on the road of wisdom: “What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). Communication and signs are navigation tools. Ask for wisdom and observe the fruit borne from that request. “Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly” (Proverbs3:18).

Connecting the dots on this spiritual treasure-seeking quest will help us stay on target for the heavenly wisdom of James 3:17 and our true, living God.”

From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/wisdom-versus-knowledge


Drop the Load

“Many people carry loads that are heavy, but invisible.

If we carry our concerns and worries from the previous day into today, we will have an ever-heavier load to carry.

These invisible heavy loads are thoughts that burden us with anxiety, fear and concern. There could be thoughts of revenge and records of hurts we may have suffered. These inner loads are heavy only to you. “It does not take a very big person to carry a grudge,” someone noted. But the one carrying it may find their life changed and the joy they could have had curtailed. “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; it only causes harm” (Psalms 37:8). Most of that harm impacts the one carrying the load, but all those associated with him are affected.

Jesus advised His followers to stop worrying about tomorrow or things they could not change—there are plenty of things a person needs to be concerned with without adding some extra (Matthew 6:34). If we carry our concerns and worries from the previous day into today, we will have an ever-heavier load to carry. There are some parts of the load that we must bear, but things like grudges, anger or attempts to retaliate are ones that we do not need. Drop them, and your load will be lighter.”      From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/this-is-the-way/drop-the-load



Zack got one coat of paint on one side of the 15-light door in the mini-house, and we did a few other odd jobs. 

Chris and I took the van to Pete’s auto repair shop in Conroe as he has got it inspected for me in other years.  But he said that his scanner would not give him a good code for why the engine light is on.  So we picked it up and I took it to a larger shop. They scanned it, free, and said it is one of the 3 oxygen sensors and that they didn’t have time to fix it until the following Wednesday, (for $220). 

As I was driving it back to Willis, the engine light was off, so I thought that I would get it inspected.  It passed everything, except they said that the computer had been reset and that I had to drive it for 100 miles within 2 weeks, and then they would inspect it again.  I set the trip to zero, and wondered how I was going to rack up 100 miles in two weeks.  I didn’t have to worry about that, the engine light came back on in only 18 miles. 

On Monday, Luna, my Siamese foster was picked up by my SPCA boss, Kenya, and taken to her house overnight so that she could be taken to the vet Tuesday morning.  They had to verify that she is indeed already spayed, and get her next shots. Then Kenya put her in the Habitat at Petco.  The next day, Wednesday, Chris and I were going to get my van from Pete’s when Chris got a call from the Habitat that Luna was having a seizure again.  We rushed there and picked her up.  Chris dropped me off at Pete’s and took Luna to my house while I took the van to the larger shop.  When I got home, Luna was fine and as loving as always.  So it is either the shots or being confined in a small spaces that sets off the seizures.  Kenya is going to pick her up again next week and keep her under observation with a camera. She is going to trade with me,  I will be getting a gray boy cat who was saved from a foster mother’s home that caught on fire on Tuesday.  Three of the critters, 1 dog, 2 cats died in the fire, but this cat, and two others were saved and treated for smoke inhalation. 

Puddin’, my other foster cat, is so happy to be home from the Habitat that she hardly leaves my side, and is tolerating Luna being in the house. At first she swore terribly (a sailer would blush) anytime she saw Luna, but now she has calmed down to a growl.  By the 17th., I have to get her used to being around other cats as she has a potential adopter who already has a cat.  Luna and Puddin’ sleep on my bed with me, but not near each other. Maybe Puddin’ will like the new cat better? 

I have trained Puddin’ some “catiquette”, or cat etiquette. She doesn’t get on counters or the dining table, she comes when called, that gets two treats, and if she comes on her own, that’s one treat.  Of course, she has me trained, too, she lets me know when she wants her canned food, and comes to get me when she thinks it is bedtime. The changing of the clocks will probably confuse her tonight.

When I took Zack to the local food pantry, he was given two batches of beets,  and a package of ground bison, which he promptly gave me.  Some people don’t know what’s good, or what’s good for them.  I put the beets in a big pot, boiled them, skinned them and I will have a great time eating them in different dishes.  I have some brown rice soaking, ready to cook it in a crockpot, and cooking it in the beet water will give the brown rice an interesting hue.  Who says you have to stick to the conventional recipes?  I find cooking in a crockpot gives my kitchen smoke alarm some rest.  If I cook food on the stove, I often forget about it, until it reminds me.

The ground bison was cooked with some chopped onion, and as I had an abundance of potatoes, I cooked and mashed them, too.  What did that make?  A Shepherd’s Pie, of course, though I had to add a pound of grass-fed ground beef to make it enough for the church potluck.  I took some beef gravy for the pie, and a cut up cantelope, too. We also had chicken alfredo, tamale pie, beef pie, etc., lima beans, broccoli and other veggies.

The Bible readings were Exo. 30:11-34:35, about the Altar of Incense, the golden calf, the second pair of tablets of stone inscribed with the 10 Commandments, the seventh day the Sabbath, and the Feast Days being days of rest, 1 Kin. 18:1-39  and 2  Cor. 3:1-18.  The Teaching was more about what Martin Luther’s Reformation has done for us.  The people now had translations of the Bible in their own languages. The pilgrims had came over here with the Geneva Bible, as the King James version was so new.

After I had helped clean up the dining hall kitchen, I went to the nursing home to see Claudia, who is still hanging in there.  The weather this week has been variable with air conditioning needed one day, and heat the next day.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Why Does God Heal Some People But Not Others? Do Tragedies Happen Because God Is Punishing People? Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”: but it is now Monday, as I had company.

Why Does God Heal Some People But Not Others?     

“Why would God ever choose not to heal a person? Isn’t health and wholeness in this life what He wants for us?  

A young woman sitting with her arms on a counter looking through a window.Joshua Rawson Harris/Unsplash

Our present lives with all their trials and suffering should be viewed as a training ground. Preparing us for a future that is bigger and brighter than anything we might enjoy in our present physical lives.

Our Creator can and does heal people. But not always. Many times God deliberately chooses not to heal.

Why would God ever choose not to heal a person?

Isn’t health and wholeness in this life what He wants for us?

Does He withhold healing because we have sin we haven’t repented of yet?

Or is it because we lack faith?

Or is it because we have simply not asked?

Any of these factors can, and often do, lead to a situation where healing is withheld. But what about situations where none of these is a factor? Consider Paul’s prayers for his own healing 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. God’s reasons for answering “no” were not because of sin in Paul’s life or some lack of faith. God said “no” because He had something much bigger and much better in mind for Paul that could only be achieved through perseverance in suffering.

For believers, that bigger and better goal God has in mind is to be transformed into a new type of person who thinks and acts like Jesus himself (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:12-15). That transformation is what makes us fit to receive God’s gift of eternal life. If we were to receive that gift of eternal life without having first undergone this transformation in the way we think and act, eternity could end up being a very unhappy place.

God’s purpose was that Paul be moved towards this goal through physical suffering. Even in this physical suffering, Paul was following the example set down before by Jesus Himself (Hebrews 2:10).

As with Paul’s life, our present lives with all their trials and suffering should be viewed as a training ground. Preparing us for a future that is bigger and brighter than anything we might enjoy in our present physical lives.

Why then does God choose to heal some people?

We cannot possibly know all the reasons why God chooses to heal or not to heal. However, two broad categories shine forth in the Scriptures:

1. God heals because He is compassionate. He desires to act with kindness and gentleness towards human beings. In the greater world around us human disobedience, indifference and disbelief often disrupt the flow of His compassion.

2. God heals to demonstrate His power to perform works in this world (John 9:2-3). He often heals for the purpose of building and strengthening newly forming belief in Himself, either in the person being healed or ones looking on.

By contrast, Paul’s strong faith was tested and strengthened when he was required to persevere through the trial of not being healed.

Only God, who knows the heart, can properly assess a person’s life. Only God can know whether to heal or not heal will best move the person forward toward His goal of building the mind of Christ in them. His deep desire is that we learn to trust Him in all things including matters of healing.

To more fully explore what God’s Word has to say about the larger questions related to human suffering in this world, our free Bible study guide Why Does God Allow Suffering? is a good place to continue learning.”        From: https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/bible-questions-and-answers/why-does-god-heal-some-people-but-not-others


Do Tragedies Happen Because God Is Punishing People?

“There are select examples in the Bible of God enacting divine punishment on individuals, cities or nations as a whole; however, Jesus Christ clearly taught that everyday tragedies are not the result of people being particularly sinful or evil (Luke 13:1-5).    

A young man with his head down.   Niels Smeets/Unsplash

Following God is a matter of our eternal salvation that does not free us from all physical dangers, trials or harmful accidents.

God’s direct intervention and punishment, as described throughout the Bible, is the exception rather than the rule. This is due to His supreme patience (Psalms 103:8) motivated by His love for us and desire to reconcile us to Himself for salvation. The Bible teaches that God’s wrath is preceded by a warning so that people have the opportunity to repent (Amos 3:7), as opposed to the many tragic occurrences that strike daily and without warning throughout the world.

Jesus Christ spoke directly on the topic of accidents, natural disasters and even persecution as it relates to a person’s sin. In Luke 13:1-5, He gave two examples of people who suffered—some who had been slaughtered by Roman officials, and others who died when a large tower suddenly fell and landed on them. He pointed out that these people who died were not “worse sinners” than those in the same town who were unharmed, but instead He taught that “unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” This speaks to the reality that all people are under the same penalty of sin, which is death, unless we repent and follow God.

Conversely, even those who follow God and keep His commandments will sometimes suffer or die in tragedies. Of these, the scriptures teach that this is not divine judgment, but that “time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Following God is a matter of our eternal salvation that does not free us from all physical dangers, trials or harmful accidents.

Sin is the root cause of all death, disease, suffering and corruption in the world today. The cumulative destructive effect of sin that is in the world leads to death by illnesses, accidents, natural disasters and other tragic events that are completely unconnected to our own actions. While “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), often those who experience a tragedy are not receiving the direct punishment of their own sin. There are many cases when people do suffer as a direct result of their sin, but this does not require divine intervention. For example, adulterers will suffer emotional damage in their marriages with the additional possibilities of sexually transmitted diseases or retribution from the other person’s partner, but this type of “punishment” is simply cause-and-effect.

In the particular cases of God’s wrath found in the Bible, God acted in response to extreme conditions of depravity, and the result was complete and utter devastation on a scale that is far beyond the natural disasters or local tragedies that we experience today. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah illustrates this point, where only Lot and his two daughters survived. Again in the flood of Noah’s day, only eight people out of the entire world were spared. The Bible does teach God’s future judgment and wrath on the earth, but this is not merely to punish sin—it serves the dual purpose of breaking down the corrupt institutions of the world and raising up His righteous Kingdom under the rule of Jesus Christ and the saints (Romans 8:22-23; Revelation 11:15).

For more information on the cause of death, pain and suffering in the world—and God’s solution to sin for all mankind—please see our free study aid, Why Does God Allow Suffering?  From: https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/bible-questions-and-answers/do-tragedies-happen-because-god-is-punishing-people



It’s been two weeks since I picked the van up from the repair shop and it has started each time, so the new ignition switch is working.

Zack and I have made some progress in the mini-house.  All the door jambs are stained to match the trim, but one door jamb was painted an ivory color, so the best way to take the eye off it was to paint it the same color as the stain.  He sanded the painted door jam, so that the paint would adhere better.  The 15-light-door that is between the rooms was taken down, filled and sanded, as it will be painted too.  Home Depot mixed up some paint the same color as the stained trim from a sample of the trim.  We did get the door jam painted, but then we ran out of time.

We also had to do the first mowing of the new year, and that old mower started up at second pull, can’t beat that.

On Sunday, my SPCA friend Chris took me with her to pick up my little foster cat, Puddin’,  from the Cat Habitat at Petco, I just couldn’t wait to see her again.  She is so happy to be home that she has hardly left my side, except when someone comes to the door, then she makes a beeline for under my bed.  She was just too timid to ‘sell’ herself to the potential adopters at Petco.

My youngest son, Kevin, 48, arrived Sunday so I spent as much time as I could with him, as he lives in Florida now.  I guess it is a “son thing”, he ate quite a bit and did two loads of laundry while he was here. 

For the church potluck I made some Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix that I had been given into a veggie-based stuffing with sautéed onions, celery, grated carrots and spices.  I had a roll of ground turkey, but I didn’t want to make the usual turkey meat loaf with it, so I added spices to make it taste like turkey sausage and made it into an Impossibly Easy Pie.  https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/product-recipes/bisquick-recipes/bisquick-impossibly-easy-pie-recipes.  It was deemed ‘delish’!   We also had a meat/bean casserole with a cornbread topping, beef and noodles dish, lasagne, home-made mac and cheese, potato salad, coleslaw, green salad, etc, and lots of veggies including my favorite, Brussel Sprouts.

The Bible readings wereExo. 27:20-30:10, Eze. 43:10-27, Heb. 13:10-17, and the Teaching was about the Foundations of Doctrine.

After church I went to the nursing home nearby, and visited Claudia, Jay’s Mom.  She is just wasting away lying there.  I tried to see if there is anyone who can help her get her strength back by helping her exercise each day.