Sunday, November 25, 2018

Jeremiah 10 and the Christmas Tree? Which Scriptures Explain When Jesus Christ Was Born? Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:

Is there any connection between the tree mentioned in Jeremiah 10 and the Christmas tree?

“Jeremiah 10:3-4 describes a custom involving cutting a tree from the forest; carving and then decorating it with silver and gold. Is this decorated tree connected to the modern day Christmas tree? What should we as Christians learn from these verses in Jeremiah about our relationship with God and the use of idols?

A Christmas tree in a festively decorated living room.Image Source White/Image Source/Thinkstock

Is there any connection between the tree mentioned in Jeremiah 10 and the Christmas tree?

The symbolism of Jeremiah 10 is briefly explained in this excerpt from our Bible study aid Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe? :

Regrettably, the Israelites failed to permanently heed God’s warning. Time and time again they let their fascination with the religious practices of those around them get the better of them as they lapsed into idolatrous worship.

Around 600 B.C. God gave three more warnings against this kind of behavior. First, through the prophet Jeremiah, God said, ‘ Do not learn the way of the heathen; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them’ (Jeremiah 10:2). Here God cautioned His people against following the gentile (non-Israelite) practices of worshiping the heavenly bodies (like the sun on Dec. 25) and against astrology in general.

In the following verses (Jeremiah 10:3-5), God describes some of their idolatrous customs. They cut a tree from the forest, shaped it with an ax and overlaid it with precious metals. Although this account is specifically referring to the making of an idol (Jeremiah 10:6-8), God’s command, ‘Do not learn the way of the Gentiles,’ applies to all pagan customs. Christmas trees, mistletoe and colorful lights that come from pagan winter-solstice celebrations, rabbits and Easter eggs as fertility symbols, and demonic concepts at Halloween, all fit this prohibition. In giving this instruction against learning the way of the gentiles, God wanted His people to avoid the type of sin their forefathers had committed with the golden calf.

A more extensive explanation of Jeremiah 10 is found in the UCG Bible Commentary :

In this chapter, God makes it very clear: “Learn not the way of the heathen…for the customs of the peoples are vain” (Jeremiah 10:2-3, KJV), stressing His total rejection of practices adopted from other religions even if they are intended to honor Him. For God is never honored by disobedience. We can read Deuteronomy 12:29-32 and 2 Corinthians 6:14 along with these verses.

God first points out here that pagans were “dismayed at the signs of heaven” (Jeremiah 10:2). As believers in astrology, they considered their lives to be controlled by celestial events. Today, it is no different among the huge number of people who make daily decisions based on their horoscopes. This practice is utterly condemned by God. Even if astrological forces existed—which they do not—the Almighty Creator and Ruler of the universe would have power over them.

Worse still, the sun, moon, planets and stars were actually worshiped by ancient nations—and their movements were used to determine times for worship. Again, this was all based on fear and superstition. For instance, the winter solstice was observed because the sun reached its lowest zenith on that day, the shortest day of the year. It was believed that worship, fires and sacrifices were needed to encourage and boost the sun god back to his higher station. Afterward, the people celebrated the rebirth of the sun.

Indeed, the sun god was understood to have been born of his mother goddess around the time of the winter solstice—in fact, by the reckoning of various ancient cultures, on December 25. Evergreen plants and trees were used in this particular worship because they seemed to retain life through the winter months. These customs have continued down to our day in the form of the Christmas tree and decorations of holly and mistletoe.

Continuing then in Jeremiah 10:3-5, at least in the King James, New King James or Jewish Publication Society translations, the Christmas tree must surely come to mind. However, many mainstream Christian scholars, and other Bible versions, identify the objects addressed in this section as wooden poles or idols. That is certainly possible. In fact, it may even be likely if the word translated ‘workman’ in Jeremiah 10:3 can only mean a skilled craftsman and if the word translated ‘ax’ here can mean a carving tool, as some have rendered it. The exact meaning of the verse remains unclear.

Interestingly, it should be noted that the Hebrew word translated ‘wooden idol’ in Jeremiah 10:8, ets, is normally translated ‘tree’ in the Bible. Notice God’s instruction back in Deuteronomy 16:21: ‘You shall not plant for yourself any tree [ ets ], as a wooden image [ asherah ], near the altar which you build for yourself to the LORD your God.’

There are a number of references in Scripture to Asherah—understood to be an idol representation of the goddess Ashtoreth or Astarte, the mother goddess referred to in Scripture as the ‘queen of heaven’ (mentioned in the highlights on Jeremiah 7:1-27). ‘From the Biblical references, it appears that Asherah is referred to in three manifestations: (1) as an image, probably a statue or figurine representing the goddess herself; (2) as a tree; and (3) as a tree trunk. The latter two are, in effect, symbols of the goddess’ (Ruth Hestrin, ‘Understanding Asherah: Exploring Semitic Iconography,’ Biblical Archaeology Review, Sept.-Oct. 1991, p. 50). Indeed, the phrase ‘under every green tree’ (Deuteronomy 12:2), is used a number of times in Scripture to denote a pagan sacred place—that is, not just trees but evergreen trees.

Jeremiah 10 is indeed talking about the setting up of idols. But what many fail to realize in reading through the chapter is that sometimes trees themselves were set up by ancient pagans as idols. Depending on the exact meaning of the words translated workman and ax in the chapter, a carved idol or an actual tree could be meant. Both were cut from the forest, with stands fashioned to keep them fixed and upright but still able to be moved and set up anywhere (Jeremiah 10:3-5). Both, in the ancient world, were decorated with silver and gold and draped with costly fabrics (Jeremiah 10:4 and Jeremiah 10:9). With tree idols, idolatrous metal ornaments were sometimes fashioned and hung from the branches—which Jeremiah 10:9 could be describing. Yet the verse could alternatively be a reference to metal adornments for a carved idol.

In direct disobedience to God, the Jews under Manasseh actually set up an asherah in honor of Baal, the son and husband of Ashtoreth (see 2 Kings 21:3). Indeed, such was used in surrounding cultures to honor the sun-god Baal and his mother on the birthday of the sun, December 25—which is when this abomination of Manasseh may have taken place, in imitation of neighboring societies. Even if that’s not exactly what Manasseh did, it is rather likely that such decorated trees in winter would have been part of the Jews’ worship of Baal, as in other cultures.

More amazing to consider is the fact that in the syncretistic blending of religions, Baal (‘Lord’) was identified with the true Lord. Thus, the apostate Jews, in copying pagan worship customs, may well have set up decorated evergreen trees to worship the birthday of the true Lord—the One who later came to earth as Jesus Christ! And the Lord called their adoption of such customs to honor Him an abomination. Indeed, He still does.

While people today do not worship trees when they set up Christmas trees or other evergreen decorations such as holly and mistletoe, they are nevertheless using accoutrements of past idolatry to supposedly honor God. Yet the true God will have none of it. He sees it as disobedience and rebellion—and idolatrously clinging to tradition over His direct commandments. For anything that comes before the true God is an idol, whether we literally bow down to it or not. Indeed, it is even possible that modern Christmas trees are intended by Jeremiah’s words—particularly when we consider that this may be, as it seems to be on some level, an end-time prophecy to the ‘house of Israel’ that speaks of God’s coming wrath on the nations and the destruction of all idolatry (compare Jeremiah 10:1, Jeremiah 10:10-11, Jeremiah 10:15). For in the end time, the Israelite nations are not setting up wooden Asherah poles. But every winter, there are millions and millions of Christmas trees. And even if Christmas trees are not directly intended by the prophecy, the principle is the same.”



Which Scriptures Explain When Jesus Christ Was Born?

“Are there clear descriptions of the timing of Christ's birth?

While the Bible never gives an exact date (day, month and year), there are some general indicators of both the year and season of the year. Obviously the exact date of Christ’s birth is not needed for salvation, because the apostle Paul specifically told Timothy he had what was needed for salvation—the Scriptures he had learned since his youth (the Old Testament) with the added understanding of faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior (2 Timothy 3:15). Let’s look at the general information, though, that is given.

First, let’s start with the season of the year. Luke 2 describes the circumstances of Christ’s birth. Verse 8 says there were shepherds living out in the fields with their sheep at that time. Various sources will point out that shepherds around Jerusalem would not stay in the fields past the autumn. They would bring the sheep in for the winter.

For example, according to Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays, Luke’s account “suggests that Jesus may have been born in summer or early fall. Since December is cold and rainy in Judea, it is likely the shepherds would have sought shelter for their flocks at night” (p. 309). Similarly, The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary says this passage argues “against the birth [of Christ] occurring on Dec. 25 since the weather would not have permitted” shepherds watching over their flocks in the fields at night.

Also, Jesus’ parents came to Bethlehem to register in a Roman census (Luke 2:1-4). The Romans would have known better than to have taken such a census in the dead of winter, when temperatures often dropped below freezing and roads were in poor condition for traveling. Taking a census under such conditions would have been self-defeating.

So from that passage of Scripture we can at least know one season when He was not born—the winter.

So was He born in spring, summer or autumn? A prophecy in the book of Daniel is helpful here. The last part of chapter 9 gives a prophecy about His coming and verse 27 mentions a “week” of His confirming the covenant, but that in the middle of the week He would bring an end to sacrifice and offerings. The book of Hebrews explains how His sacrifice ended the need for the Old Testament sacrificial system (chapters 8, 9 and 10).

A “week” in prophecy can stand for seven years, a day for a year (Numbers 14:34). We therefore conclude that His ministry lasted 3 ½ years, with the other 3 ½ years to be completed at some other time. We know Jesus Christ was killed at Passover time and that His ministry started when He was around the age of 30 (Luke 3:23). Putting all of this together makes it most probable that He was born six months before Passover—or sometime in the fall.

An autumn birth is also substantiated, and in fact more positively proven, by the timing of the birth of John the Baptist. Luke 1 tells that story.

John the Baptist’s father, Zacharias, was a priest of the order of Abijah. In King David’s time the priests had been organized to serve at various times—a week at a time from Sabbath to Sabbath starting with the first week in the month Nisan. They would all serve together during the feast seasons. Abijah was the eighth course (1 Chronicles 24:10).

It is a matter of doing the math to realize he was serving around early June, so when he was able to go home to his wife, Elizabeth, so she could conceive, it would have been around mid-June. That means John the Baptist was born nine months later, probably in late March.

Then in Luke 1:26 we’re told the angel appeared to Mary telling her she would conceive her Son in Elizabeth’s sixth month. So Jesus Christ was six months younger than John the Baptist—meaning He probably would have been born in late September when Jerusalem was crowded with people coming to observe the autumn feasts.  (The Feast of Tabernacles) This would explain why there was no room for Joseph and Mary at the normal hotels or “inns” near Jerusalem (Luke 2:7).

Now for the year. This has been the subject of some controversy, but again we seem to be able to find some clues. Luke 2:1-2 tells us Jesus Christ was born during Caesar Augustus’ reign at the time of the first census when Quirinius was governor. Matthew 2 also tells us that Herod (the Great) was still king immediately after Christ’s birth. Since Herod died somewhere around 4 or 3 B.C., and some records indicate Quirinius was ruling in 4 B.C., we believe Christ was probably born in late September of 4 B.C.

Although it’s difficult to determine the first time anyone celebrated Dec. 25 as Christmas, historians are in general agreement that it wasn’t until sometime during the fourth century. This is an amazingly late date. Christmas was not observed in Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire, until about 300 years after Christ’s death. Its origins show that it cannot be traced back to the earliest Christians.”   From:



After Jay had cleaned the pine needles off the roofs of the house and mini-house we had several big piles to burn.  It is going to take a lot longer burning them in the barrel than just a big pile at the curb, but the subdivision has now clamped down on that. 

On Monday I had to see my doctor for the 10-days-before-surgery-check-up.  She listened to me, thumped me. did an EKG, and said I was good to go.  So apart from listing stuff for sale and making a long drawn out phone call to my cell provider, I did nothing but burn pine needles and go to The American Legion  on Thursday with a neighbor for Thanksgiving dinner. 

Then on Friday, while I was helping my friend at the storage unit next to the subdivision, my daughter called to say she was on her way with a pretty multicolored area rug for the mini-house.  I really needed to see it before I chose the carpet for the mini-house living room.  Now I know, it will be gray which will also match the heavy duty gray marble linoleum in the bathroom and kitchen.   Wendy, my grandson and I had a nice visit. 

For the church Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, I made a big pot of organic mashed potatoes, some halved, toasted croissants, and three kinds of gravy.  The pastor’s wife brought the turkey and dressing.   Others brought salads and desserts.

The Bible readings were Gen. 18:1-22:24, 2 King 4:1-37 and Luke 1:26-38.  The Teaching was “Let God Be First in Our Lives”.

No way I can starve, because on Sunday, a neighbor brought me another dinner from her Thanksgiving Day.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Giving Thanks. Remember Your Greatest Wealth Is Your Health

On the eve of Thanksgiving Day.

Giving Thanks.   Remember your greatest Wealth is your Health

Jeff Novick, MS, RDN

Thanksgiving Thoughts

“Thanksgiving is often thought of as time of feasting and indulgence and, for many, it means a time of overindulgence. As food is central to many of our celebrations and our health, I want to share some personal thoughts on Thanksgiving.

Throughout history, many cultures have enjoyed great feasts to mark the important and joyous occasions of the year. These feast days traditionally occurred only a few times a year and any overindulgence was confined to these few days of celebration. However, today, the spirit of celebration and the notion of a "little indulgence" have been taken to extremes as more and more Americans treat every day and every meal as a holiday and a time to overindulge.

Over the past 40 years, rates of excess weight, obesity and related health problems have increased rapidly. Today, almost three-fourths of American adults and over one-third of children and teens are obese or overweight. This extra weight increases an individual’s risk of developing many chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and cancer. 

Every day throughout the year, American meals tend to provide portions that are too large and have excess fat, salt, sugar, and calories. A large disparity exists between recommendations for a healthful diet and actual food consumption habits. Excessive intakes of salt, solid fats (major sources of saturated and trans-fatty acids), added sugars, and refined grains often replace intakes of healthful, nutritious foods, making it difficult for people to achieve recommended nutrient intake while controlling calorie intake. The negative health effects of these eating habits are further compounded by the sedentary lifestyles of many Americans.

Commitment to a healthful diet is one of the most important components—if not the most important component—of an individual’s overall health and well-being. A healthful diet is one that emphasizes minimally processed fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables, intact whole grains and legumes, and limits the intake of salt, saturated fats, added sugars and sweeteners, solid fats and oils and refined grains.

The key to achieving and maintaining a healthful weight—during the holidays and all year-round—is to live a healthful lifestyle on a day-to-day basis that includes healthful eating, regular physical activity, and stress management.
Following is one of my favorite food quotes of all time, and it comes from the book The Life We Are Given by George Leonard and Michael Murphy. I think it has a powerful message that is appropriate for this time of the year.

"Finally, how we eat, just as is the case with how we exercise, stands as a fundamental expression of our embodiment and is thus important to our practice, not merely for the benefits it might bring but for its own sake. To eat with full awareness turns us toward a diet that is both good and good for us. It rejoins us with the matrix of our existence and can inspire us with thanksgiving for the everyday wonder of food, the everlasting miracle of the life we are given."

The holidays are a time to celebrate, give thanks and, yes, perhaps for some of us, to even overindulge a little. It is important to remember, however, that Thanksgiving is just one meal on one day and is not the start of a month–and–a–half-long celebration. The very occasional indulgence on the very occasional holiday (i.e., the actual day and meal itself) will most likely not be damaging to overall health and well-being for most of us if healthy eating and exercising take place on a regular, consistent, daily basis throughout the rest of the year.

The holidays are times to focus on family and friends—not just food. Catching up and sharing laughs with loved ones will allow you to feel the spirit of the holidays more than a second helping of pie. If you do indulge a little to celebrate, be careful and do so without throwing all caution to the wind or hurting yourself. And remember, your body is never not watching!  

So, during this upcoming Thanksgiving and celebration, let's not forgot to take a moment and reflect, celebrate, and give thanks for those things that are truly the most important and of the most value to us...our lives, our health, our friends, and our families.

Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.    In Health, Jeff.”       From: McDougall's Health & Medical Center


Tomorrow, I am going to The American Legion with some veteran friends for Thanksgiving, so I wish you a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving Day.


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Unthankfulness. Thanksgiving, Christmas—and Greed. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”, The Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Unthankfulness, a Sign of Perilous Times

maxresdefaultThanksgiving and its opposite don’t seem that important to most people. But God looks at things differently. Ingratitude is one of the symptoms of society on the brink.

The apostle Paul warned of terrible, stressful times to come before Christ’s return:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy” (2 Timothy 3:1-2, emphasis added throughout). His list of destructive end-time attitudes goes on, but let’s focus on “unthankful.”

Why is ingratitude a symptom of a sick and self-destructive society? Why is it growing, and how does it harm us, while gratitude helps us?

Predictably unthankful

Why is ingratitude increasing in this secular, humanistic society? Paul wrote an insightful analysis of people who ignore the evidence of our Creator:

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:20-21).

People who do not acknowledge God are obviously not going to be thankful to Him. Thoughts that do not take into account the ultimate reality of the existence and plan of God are vain thoughts.

If you think you are just an animal, yet paradoxically think you are the master of your own destiny, your thoughts will reach no further than your life span (Psalm 146:4). They will be fleeting and futile, and you will be blind to the spiritual realities that last for eternity.

An ancient case study

We can see this in the life of King Nebuchadnezzar.

God had warned the king about the results of the prideful path he was on. “They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times [years] shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Daniel 4:25).

But Nebuchadnezzar did not heed the warning, and 12 months later he was again idolizing his own power and wealth. He said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” (verse 30).

From that very hour the prophecy was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar became like a wild animal. He ate grass, and his nails grew like bird claws. This poetic justice eventually transformed his haughty pride to praise.

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (verse 37).

Being unthankful belies an underlying rejection of God. If we don’t recognize what He has done for us, we put something else in His place.

Problems with ingratitude

Being unthankful belies an underlying rejection of God. If we don’t recognize what He has done for us, we put something else in His place. Not only does this demonstrate that we are disconnected from reality, but it generally means we are making a god out of ourselves.

If we ignore the blessings of God and the contributions of others, we create blind spots that keep us from seeing the whole picture. These blind spots can prevent us from perceiving the pitfalls in our path. It’s a law of the universe that pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).

Self-centeredness and ingratitude grate on the nerves of those around us, leading to lack of intimacy and to isolation. Unthankfulness can poison relationships and prevent new ones from forming.

Benefits of thanksgiving

On the other hand, gratitude has many benefits that are now being confirmed by science.

John Tierney summarized some of the recent research in an article in The New York Times:

“Cultivating an ‘attitude of gratitude’ has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others. … A new study shows that feeling grateful makes people less likely to turn aggressive when provoked. …

“Why does gratitude do so much good? ‘More than other emotion, gratitude is the emotion of friendship,’ Dr. [Michael] McCullough says. ‘It is part of a psychological system that causes people to raise their estimates of how much value they hold in the eyes of another person. Gratitude is what happens when someone does something that causes you to realize that you matter more to that person than you thought you did.’”

It’s the Golden Rule in action (Matthew 7:12). We all like to be appreciated, and gratitude acts as a lubricant in human relationships. It helps us make friends and strengthen friendships and family bonds. Being thankful to others pays off in making our own lives more pleasant and happy.

And thankfulness can help build our relationship with God as well. He is a loving Father, and He wants what is best for us. That includes wanting us to have the benefits of a positive outlook on life (Philippians 4:8) and a proper perspective on our blessings and challenges.

Freed from the blind spots and pitfalls of pride and ingratitude, we can see our future clearly based on the ultimate reality. God made us and has given us everything we have. Beyond that, He has a purpose for us that transcends the troubles of this age. He wants us to think like He does—to appreciate what is good and to give.

God owns everything and has given us everything we have. He even gave the life of His Son so that we can be forgiven of our sins! So what can we really give to Him? Our thanks!

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 107:1).”  From:


Thanksgiving, Christmas—and Greed

kidsgiving“So, I can’t help but wonder, am I the only person struck by this? I’m talking about the paradox of this time of the year, the approximately one month from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I just find it amazing!

Here’s what I’m talking about: the fourth Thursday in November, the wonderful national holiday celebrated in the United States of America—Thanksgiving Day. What’s it all about? Gratitude, thankfulness, acknowledgement of divine blessing.

Here’s what President Abraham Lincoln, sometimes referred to as the father of the Thanksgiving holiday, proclaimed back in 1863:

“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. … No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

He then went on to “set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.” He recommended “offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings.”

Isn’t that wonderful? Gratitude. Humility. Recognition of God’s merciful blessings and favor. Never mind that for far too many Americans in the 150 years since that proclamation, Thanksgiving Day has devolved into little more than “turkey day,” or a day to watch football. At least it started out right, as a day of thanksgiving.

But then the paradox. This year it didn’t even wait till “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving. For many retail establishments, it began before Thanksgiving Day itself: “Buy, buy, buy!” “Grab, grab, grab!” “Get, get, get!” Okay, so maybe it’s just because I’m a little older and bothered more by these things. Or maybe it actually is even more crass, even more aggressive this year. But this annual orgy of greed and grab seems to be more offensive and unpleasant this year than usual.

An example: At a Wal-Mart store in Elkin, North Carolina, fights broke out as one crazed shopper violently grabbed and shoved in a frantic consumerist push. For what? A TV set! And it didn’t even wait till the day after Thanksgiving. It was Thanksgiving night! (). And this is about gratitude?

And so it goes on, just as it does every year, for one whole unpleasant month. Spend, spend and more spend. Stuff, stuff and more stuff. Grab and grab and grab—even with a little violence, if necessary. And for what? A day that supposedly commemorates the birth of the Savior of humanity, the

One who gave His life for all humankind.

Leave aside for the moment the fact that Christmas isn’t even mentioned in the Bible. Leave aside the fact that it has pre-Christian origins. Leave aside the fact that it’s really a pagan festivity, baptized under the banner of Christ.

Leave all that aside, and you’re still left with that grotesque contradiction, a month ending in a holiday that supposedly epitomizes the Christian way of life, but that really seems to culminate four weeks of greed and coveting. How sad!

Am I the only one? No, I’m really glad that I’m not. Most of my friends are aware of the non-biblical roots of Christmas, and they do their best to avoid all the commercialism and ugliness of a celebration that has become little more than one giant retail binge.”       From:



Two doctor’s appointments this week cut into our work schedule. One for Zack, my helper and neighbor, and one at the eye clinic for pre-op measuring my eye for my cataract surgery on the 29th.

Jay wanted to work one day too, so he and Zack put three of my heavy tube-type TV’s in my van.  I was going to take them to Spring to the recycling center, at $10 disposal fee each.  Then the night before my eye appointment I thought I would list them as FREE on Craigslist.  The next morning the internet was out, so after my eye appointment I went to the library to answer the emails there. Several people were after the TVs, but only one came through, so he got them from me while I was still in Conroe.  So finally, I have my big flat screen TV working in the living room.

Then I bought a metal barrel for burning the pine straw, so we drilled holes in the bottom, put it on cement blocks and now have it set up in an inconspicuous place at the back of my house.  We are having to go slow with it as we have to burn the paint off the barrel little by little so to not make a bad smell.

For the church potluck I made some Grass-fed Beef into a Tomato-free Sauce for Spaghetti with Italian Seasonings.  I took some whole wheat pasta with me and cooked it there before church, and kept it hot in a colander over some hot water.  Also, I had some very spicy dip and didn’t know what to do with it, because I can’t eat spicy.  Then I came up with the idea of making into Spicy Broccoli Slaw.  Of course, the people who like spicy, liked it.  Several winter squashes had been washed, not dried, and cooked in crockpots, so I took them, too.  For me, it is easier to cook them in a crockpot rather than risk getting hurt trying to peel their hard skins off. There weren’t so many people at church this time, so we froze a lot of the left-overs for another time.

The Bible readings were Psa. 100 and 92, Gen. 12:1-17:27, Isa. 40:27-41-16, Rom. 4:1-25, and the Teaching was “Not A Nice day In Israel” about how the Israelites are being bombarded with 400+ rockets, and the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael are still fighting.

We cleaned my keyboard and now my “d” doesn’t work.  Each time you see one I have had to copy and paste the “d”, and there are lots of them.

We were going to have a freeze, so Zach and I moved all my potted aloe plants into the greenhouse just in time.  Then it warmed up to mid seventies again after a couple of days.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Veteran’s Day. This Is the Way... "I Will Fight No More Forever". Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:

“Happy Veterans Day.  We honor our servicemen and women for their sacrifices with prayers for veterans.


Veterans Day first began as a celebration to mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. It was known as Armistice Day during its original year of 1918 when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. However, it was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to include all veterans, from both World War II and the Korean War, which both ended in 1945 and 1953, respectively. According to, “In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.”

Veterans Day is a day to honor veterans but is not to be confused with Memorial Day, which is in May. Veterans Day celebrates those who served in the military, while Memorial Day honors those who died while serving in the military.

According to Infoplease, 18.8 million are veterans as of 2015. Of that number, 1.6 million are female, 11.6% are black, and 6.8 million of them served in Vietnam. 3.9 million of veterans have service-related disabilities.

This Veterans Day, be sure to thank a veteran for their service.”


A Closer Look at Veteran’s Day

“Yet, here I sit - in the wealthiest nation on the earth - free to attend the church of my choice, to own as many Bibles as I can afford, to choose my own husband (or choose not to marry), to vote for the leaders of my government and even write a letter to the editor of the newspaper when I disagree with the decisions they make.

And why can I enjoy these freedoms? Because the men and women in our armed forces understand that freedom has a cost. And since the birth of our nation, brave men and women have stepped forward, weighed the cost and chosen to lay down their lives in service to their fellow countrymen.

Thank you just isn't enough. We need to pass these truths on to future generations - and Veterans Day is a great place to start.

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13” From:


This Is the Way... "I Will Fight No More Forever"

The cool days of November are upon us. Since I was a lad, this time of the year always causes me to think of the echoing pronouncement, “It was on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month that the guns went silent.” In the Commonwealth nations, this is often rendered Armistice or Remembrance Day. In America, it is commonly called Veterans Day.

This is the day the guns went silent on the Western Front of what was then known as the “Great War.” Amazingly, it has been over 100 years since our grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought on the plains of Europe. It wasn’t supposed to be a great war. It simply wasn’t supposed to last long. But the complicated quilt of alliances that reacted to the assassination of the archduke of Austria at Sarajevo would have it no other way.

Surely, the wise men could have stopped it. Or certainly the cousins who occupied the thrones of England, Germany and Russia could have handled this in a backroom family way. But, well, the rest is history. Perhaps the various politicians and nations had to get the tensions that had been building for decades out of their system. And, as is so often the way with war, the troops were still fighting in the accustomed manner of the last century’s conflicts and were not prepared for the latest technological advances.

Charging horses were no match for newly devised automatic weaponry, and the big guns of war would do their job. The dead deserved a reason for dying.  As the “Great War” unfolded, many sought a great vision and hope around which humanity might rally. Certainly the dead deserved a reason for dying. Thus, this global eruption would be framed as “The War to End All Wars.” Certainly a better world would emerge!  It simply had to be. “  Continued at:



Not an awful lot went on this week, though some things changed.  The small fridge that was in the guest house (now mini-house) wasn’t working right.  So Jay and I loaded it up in my van with all his deceased mother’s clothes.  Then we found out that the appliance repair man now charges $30 to diagnose, and then that comes off your bill if you get it fixed.  I didn’t have any plans to use it when I move into the mini-house, so I was going to sell it.  I had bought that fridge new, many years ago, but even when working it wasn’t worth much, so I took it across the scales, and just sold it for scrap.  The consignment shop didn’t want Jay’s mother’s clothes, so we took them to the Women’s Center in Conroe. What they can’t use, they sell in their thrift shop.

Then, wouldn’t you know it, I was given a nice big, two door, working fridge.  They wanted it out of their storage unit to make room.  I knew it cooled properly, because I put thermometers in the fridge and freezer before it was loaded in my van.  But it couldn’t be put it in the mini-house yet, because it will take two strong folks to get it up the steps, even though I have an appliance handtruck.  So, until the floor covering is in, it is in the carpert wrapped up in a black tarp trying to look inconspicuous, as it is against the restrictions.

I also bought another flat screen TV pretty cheap because they didn’t have the remote.  Here, we have to have a cable box which comes with a remote, so it doesn’t make that much difference to me.  I tried it out on my computer, but it is just like my laptop, the screen isn’t high like on my monitor and I was scrolling all the time to see everything.  I didn’t like that, so I decided I will keep my desktop after all, if all laptops do that too.

For the church potluck, I made two potato dishes, one with grated potatoes made into fritters, and the other was roasted potatoes.  Then I took some cooked angus beef and veggies out of the freezer as I just didn’t have time to cook anything else.  I have really been trying to keep my nose to the computer grindstone, getting stuff listed for sale, but things aren’t selling very well right now.

The Bible readings were Gen. 6:9-11:32, Isa. 54:1-55:15, Mat. 24:36-46, and 1 Pet. 3: 18-22.  The teaching was about the “Search For God” and “to seek His Kingdom first and all these things will be added”. Mat. 6:33.

The weather has changed considerably.  One day I was wearing a sleeveless shirt, and the next it was a pullover, sweats and jacket day.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

How Should I Talk to My Kids After One of Their Friends Have Died? The Sermon on the Mount. Update.


For “Scripture Sunday”:

How Should I Talk to My Kids After One of Their Friends Have Died? 

“Our earthly bodies are but a temporary dwelling that will one day be folded up and put away to await a permanent and glorious residence to come.

A mother holding her young son.Jordan Whitt/Unsplash

After a loss of a friend, add hope to your child’s sorrow.

Some young people become bitter against God when they have suffered the death of a friend. Yet others who have endured the same will continue to love and serve God. Have you ever lost a loved one and wondered how God could have allowed them to die? How can we help our children to make sense of this question?

Open the Bible with your kids and use God’s Word to comfort and encourage their troubled hearts.

The difference between those who find hope after a loss of a friend and those who don’t often comes down to whether a person has a sincere and deep trust in God. Trusting that He has a beautiful plan to work all things out for good in the end. As parents, we can and should approach the subject of death with clarity and confidence when discussing it with our children. And then, in the day when it’s needed, they can fall back on the truth to get them through difficult losses.

The apostle Paul gives us a very useful analogy that our kids can understand: “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). The human body, as a tent, is the illustration Paul uses to explain the death of one of God’s own. Our earthly bodies are but a temporary dwelling that will one day be folded up and put away to await a permanent and glorious residence to come.

As parents, we must remember that the Bible explains clearly that our earthly life is transitory and is only a small stepping stone to an amazing future.

If your kids have been tent camping before, ask the question: “After several days of sleeping on the hard ground with bugs and dirt, were they glad to fold the tent up and head for a warm shower and soft bed at home?” The answer is probably yes.

For the deceased child of God, while their physical tent is folded up for now, one day they will be unfolded by God Himself to experience a wonderful opportunity to live forever in a perfect body, without pain, surrounded by God’s love.

Paul’s words encourage us to turn our focus onto the permanent habitation from heaven: “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:2-4).

With this truth, our kids can face death in the present with the confidence that one day their friend’s death will be swallowed up by a beautiful life everlasting!”  Continued at:   


The Sermon on the Mount.

“Nearly 2,000 years ago, Christ preached a profound sermon showing how converted Christians are to live. How essential is the Sermon on the Mount today?

Prayer is so important!

Christ’s words recorded in Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7 are often called the Sermon on the Mount. The reason for this designation is that Jesus “went up on a mountain” (Matthew 5:1) to deliver this message. Apparently, He did this to make it easier for His audience to hear what He was going to say. An abbreviated account of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount is found in Luke 6:20-49. Although there are slight differences between the two Gospel accounts, these passages provide an excellent overview of the subjects Jesus addressed during His earthly ministry.

According to John R.W. Stott, “The Sermon on the Mount is probably the best-known part of the teaching of Jesus, though arguably it is the least understood, and certainly it is the least obeyed” (The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 1973, p. 15). Because Matthew’s account is more extensive than the one in Luke, we’ll use it to identify key messages that Jesus delivered for His audience in the first century and for us today.

Sermon on the Mount summary: Beatitudes and application of the law 

Jesus’ sermon begins with a description of those who would be blessed by God. For instance, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

The verses beginning with the word “blessed” (Matthew 5:3-11) are commonly called “Beatitudes”—meaning a state of supreme happiness. In essence, Jesus is stating that these perspectives would become the mental states of mind for all who would become His disciples. For additional study on how you can have these perspectives in your life, read “Beatitudes: Keys to Real Happiness.”

The remainder of the sermon gives more specifics of conversion—how to be a Christian.”    Continued at:



My foster cat’s mom was supposed to come to visit her, it would be the first time since the cat, Gracie, was rescued from their house fire.  I waited all day, but she didn’t show up.  Later she texted that she forgot, and then said she had flu and couldn’t talk.  Gracie has bonded to me, follows me around the house, and sleeps on my bed.  I think she was just kept in a room by herself at her own home, away from their dogs, so I don’t know how she will adjust when she goes home. Their house is just about repaired now so she should be going home soon.

On Wednesday, we had another Holy Day at the church, The Last Great Day, or Eighth Day.  It marks the end of The Feast of Tabernacles.  We had plenty of food left over from the Sabbath, but I took some roasted squash, Romaine lettuce and croissants anyway.  The Bible readings were Deut. 14:22-1:17 which is about the Eighth Day, 1 Kings 8:35-5, and Deut. 33:1-34:12, 32:1-33 The Song of Moses.  The Teaching was about The Last Great Day, which Jesus mentioned in John 7:2-37.

Most of the week I have been trying to get things listed for sale, but it is a long, slow process, and I don’t know how I will ever get it all sold.

Zack and I started to connect a new splitter and cable for the TV’s in the mini-house, but he got mad at it and went home.  The next day he didn’t show up for work, so I tried to do what I could by myself.

For the Sabbath I made American Goulash.   It is different from the Hungarian Goulash in as much as pasta is mixed in, whereas in Hungary they have potatoes and carrots, etc. in it.  We had an enjoyable service and even Jay sobered up and came with me.  He is my deceased friend’s son and worked for me for over 20 years.  Everyone was so pleased to see him there again, it’s been a long time. 

The Bible readings were Gen. 1:1-6:8, Isa. 42:5-43:11, John 1:1-14, and because the Bible readings were starting over in Genesis, the pastor also read Psa. 111, and 112.  The Teaching was about Grace.  “For sin shall not have dominion over you.”  John 6:14,15. 

Jay wanted to work today, because he is bored staying at home, so as he was sober, I let him.  We moved the work tables, shelves, table saw etc. out of the mini-house living room, trying to get it ready for floor covering some day.