Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Thinking of Getting an Abortion? Are There Examples of Sexual Assault in the Bible? Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:

Thinking of Getting an Abortion? Don’t Do It!

“If you’re faced with an unwanted pregnancy, please read at least the beginning of this article. “Thirty-Six Couples Wait for Every One Baby Who Is Adopted.”

A fetus in the womb.Lunar Caustic/CC BY-SA 2.0

As God’s children, we should determine to preserve the lives of the unborn, who are also His children, at all costs.

Did you know it’s a crime to destroy an eagle’s egg in the United States? Yet killing an unborn child is permitted. Society today is completely mixed up!

And the scourge of abortion is worldwide. It was reported several years ago that “nearly a third of pregnancies in Europe end in abortion” (Claire Bates, Daily Mail, Jan. 19, 2012). In China the number is an unthinkable 23 million per year (“China Commits ‘Staggering’ 23 Million Abortions Per Year, According to US State Dept.,” LifeSiteNews, April 15, 2016).

How does ending life in this way find such widespread acceptance? Many in favor of abortion make the woeful argument that what is growing in a woman’s womb is not really a human being.

But an unborn child is a human being. It’s not a piece of tissue. “A baby’s heart beats in 22 days, hiccups begin [at] 52 days, organs function 8 weeks after conception—in short … abortion kills a human” (Keith Riler, “Thirty-Six Couples Wait for Every One Baby Who Is Adopted,” LifeNews.com, July 9, 2012). The unborn can even hear and respond to music!

For those facing an unwanted pregnancy, abortion is the wrong answer. We must all learn to seek direction from God—and His forgiveness where we have gone astray—learning to value precious human life as He does.

What does the Bible say?

Society may call the unborn mere “tissue,” but Scripture makes it clear that the unborn is a child. Exodus21:22-23 says regarding expectant mothers: “If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life …” (emphasis added throughout). This meant the death penalty if the woman or the unborn were killed. Some will dispute that, but notice further that the unborn here is called a child.

Now consider Luke 1:1-2, which contains the story of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Mary, pregnant with Jesus, encountered her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John: “And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe [John] leaped in her womb” (Luke1:41). Elizabeth said: “For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy” (verse 44). The Greek word translated “babe” here is the same word we find in Luke 2 referring to Christ as “the Babein a manger” (verses 12, 16).

Again, the baby John leapt for joy in his mother’s womb. Clearly he was already a real person while in the womb—as was Jesus. Would it have been okay for John or Jesus to have been aborted then?

So both the Old Testament and the New Testament affirm that the unborn are indeed tiny babies! They have every right to human life!

Disaster at the U.S. Supreme Court

One of the most tragic decisions ever handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court was the January 1973 landmark ruling of Roe v. Wade, which allowed women across the country the “legal” right to abort the young life in their womb. This ruling has been interpreted to mean that the unborn do not have constitutional rights.

How horrific and sad! If the unborn have no constitutional rights, then who will protect the unborn?

The argument that every woman has the right to decide what is best for her own body is quite shallow. Do children in the womb have no rights concerning what is done to their bodies—whether to live or die? Who will speak for them?

Amazingly, “Jane Roe,” the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade whose real name was Norma McCorvey, later had a complete change of heart and came to regret her role in legalizing abortion. She became a Christian pro-life advocate in the mid-1990s and remained involved in campaigning to make abortion illegal until her death in 2017, stating “that her role in the landmark court case was the biggest mistake of her life””

Continued at: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/beyond-today-magazine/thinking-of-getting-an-abortion-dont-do-it


Are There Examples of Sexual Assault in the Bible?

“God does not condone sexual assault. But this does not prevent man from committing these crimes when they are not living their lives in accordance with God's Law.

An open Bible laying on a table.Aaron Burden/Unsplash

In every situation involving rape or sexual assault in Scripture, there are negative ramifications. God does not condone sexual assault. He expressly forbids it. God loves His children and He has compassion on those who have been affected by this crime.

Recent headlines have seen a resurgence of reports of sexual assault at the hands of powerful men. One such case—the numerous allegations against filmmaker Harvey Weinstein—has propelled and empowered a number of women to come forward with their own stories. The #MeToo movement has gained steam, and over the past months the number of these allegations has increased.

Sexual assault is not a modern issue. Sadly, as King Solomon wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). There are examples of sexual assault and rape found in Scripture, and God is not silent on this topic.

The key passage within the law of God regarding sexual assault is found in Deuteronomy 22:25-27:

“But if a man finds a betrothed young woman in the countryside, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die. But you shall do nothing to the young woman; there is in the young woman no sin deserving of death, for just as when a man rises against his neighbor and kills him, even so is this matter. For he found her in the countryside, and the betrothed young woman cried out, but there was no one to save her.”

The Hebrew word used in this passage to indicate assault is chazaq, which indicates force, violence or an overpowering of someone. This is by definition not consensual because the individual overpowered the victim. Additional proof of it being non-consensual was the implication that the young woman cried out, but there was no one to save her.

This passage is describing what we would term in our modern vernacular rape, or sexual assault.

What is important to recognize is what this is clearly stating.

1. It’s not the woman’s fault. Notice the phrase: “There is in the young woman no sin deserving of death.” The perpetrator of this crime holds all of the guilt in the described scenario.

2. The perpetrator is to be put to death, just as a man who rose up against his neighbor and killed him. Its punishment was to be equivalent to that of murder.

As a result of these verses, we can conclude that God does not condone sexual assault. Unfortunately, however, this does not prevent man from committing these crimes when they are not living their lives in accordance with the law of God.

The rape of Dinah and the spiral of violence

There are a few more examples of sexual assault in Scripture, all of which brought negative consequences.

One of the first examples is the story of Dinah in Genesis 34. Dinah was one of Jacob’s daughters, born to him by Leah. When Jacob and his family moved to the outskirts of the city of Shechem, Dinah went out to meet with the women of the land. When Shechem, the son of Hamor, saw Dinah, he assaulted her.

His heart was then drawn to her, and he attempted to have his father negotiate for her to be his bride. Ultimately, her brothers, Levi and Simeon tricked Shechem, Hamor and the men of the city to become circumcised so they would be able to intermarry with them. When the men were healing from their circumcisions and in pain, Levi and Simeon set the city to the edge of the sword, killing all of the men in the city as a reprisal for the rape of Dinah.

Levi and Simeon wrongly meted out the death penalty on more than just the perpetrator, and in Genesis 49, when the blessings and curses were given to Jacob’s sons, Levi and Simeon were cursed for their anger, likely referencing this event.

Chaos in the royal family

Another example of sexual assault in the Bible is the story of Tamar and Amnon, children of King David, found in 2 Samuel 13. In the account, Amnon burned with desire for his half-sister Tamar. He was so desirous of her that he made himself ill. He confessed the situation to a confidant, who helped him scheme a plot that would allow Amnon to take advantage of her.

Amnon follows through on the plan, asking Tamar to bring him food that he might eat it from her hand. She unsuspectingly enters his bedroom to feed him in his illness. He then demands that she come to bed with him, to which Tamar responds, “No…don’t force me, for no such thing should be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing!” (2 Samuel 13:12). She did not consent.

Amnon overpowered and raped Tamar. Afterward, he loathed her and put her away.

Tamar’s blood-brother Absalom caught wind of what happened, telling her to remain quiet about the situation instead of reporting it. He didn’t let on to Amnon that he knew what he had done, but all the while his hatred for him grew. When their father, King David, found out about the situation, he was furious, but didn’t do anything about it. Tamar lived in Absalom’s house in desolation.

Two years later, Absalom exacted revenge, ordering Amnon killed at a gathering for the princes of Israel. David grieved over the murder, and Absalom fled.

This entire episode—Tamar’s rape, Amnon’s murder and Absalom’s part in it—further drove a wedge into the relationship between David and Absalom, eventually resulting in Absalom’s coup, David’s exile and Absalom’s death at the hand of David’s chief military men. Even the division of the nation of Israel into its northern and southern kingdoms has its roots in this conflict between David and Absalom.

In every situation involving rape or sexual assault in Scripture, there are negative ramifications.

God does not condone sexual assault. He expressly forbids it. God loves His children and He has compassion on those who have been affected by this crime.

If you have been a victim of sexual assault, please get help. It’s not your fault. You can go to www.rainn.org , or call 1-800-656-HOPE to receive resources to assist you as you go forward in your healing.”                   From: https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/bible-questions-and-answers/are-there-examples-of-sexual-assault-in-the-bible



The two articles above are in their entirety because I couldn’t find a good place to abbreviate them.  Both rang home to me, because I have been assaulted, impregnated, and therefore thought about abortion, but didn’t do it.

This week has been a bit different.  Now that the 5-piece dinette booth has gone we had a lot of space in the mini-house.  We did bring in an old dropleaf table, just to have one in there to work on, but I wouldn’t want it for a permanent fixture.  Then we moved in a credenza/sideboard that I have for sale, to display it better than out in the storage. 

Tuesday, my neighbor Hans picked me up and we went to the YMCA yoga and exercises.  I had gone with him the week before and joined the Y, but I didn’t do the yoga that time. Each morning I do the Sit-and-Be-Fit exercises on PBS, but as my insurance pays for the Y, and Hans goes there twice a week, I knew it would be a good addition.  But the only problem is that a crowd of them go to the Incredible Pizza Buffet afterwards, which seems self-defeating to me!  Even though I just stuck to the veggies and salads.

One day I helped my friend over at the storage, and he took me to Schlotzky’s, and I just couldn’t believe that they charge over $10 for a sandwich, and people pay it!  But it was still factory-farmed and CAFO food (confined animal feeding operations) and I just can’t stomach eating it, after learning what those poor anumals go through: https://youtu.be/YHBPpv01n-M and for more on this, if you want to watch the movies:

TheTruth About Your Food with FOOD, INC. Filmmaker Robert Kenner https://youtu.be/2Oq24hITFTY

or: H.O.P.E. What You Eat Matters (2018) - Full Documentary

https://youtu.be/FprMvJYnD44    I hope that you will bookmark this page and watch these.  Your good health deserves that, because your health is your most precious asset.

Then you will understand why I would rather just eat the organic food that I have bought and prepared myself to stay healthy in my mid-eighties. 

Jay came on Friday, and we installed some pretty fancy white lattice across the posts of the middle carport at the mini-house, because I keep some stuff that is for sale there, and I don’t want the place to look junky.  I would rather put it out there when I know people are arriving, because I don’t want prospective customers coming into my house.

For the Sabbath potluck, I took Pizza Potatoes and Cheesy Cabbage, but the cold kept a lot of people away, so I ate the left overs, and fed some to Zack.  The Bible readings were Psa. 19, Gen. 41:1-57, Isa. 29:1-16, Rev. 7:1-17 and all of Mat.7. The Teaching was about Memorials, examples were to remember the Sabbath, and when Jesus said to “do this in remembrance of me”, meaning the Bread and Wine on that fateful time before Passover day.


Monday, January 21, 2019

A Lesson From the “Miracle on the Hudson”. Gambling. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:

A Lesson From the “Miracle on the Hudson”

This happened 10 years ago on the 15th. January 2009.
“When life suddenly throws us a big challenge, what do we do? How can we determine what is the best option available? Taking a look at a famous “almost disaster” can help.
A Lesson From the “Miracle on the Hudson”Jan. 15, 2009, seemed like a normal winter day. US Airways Flight 1549 lifted off from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport at 3:25 p.m. The captain, Chesley Sullenberger, was well-seasoned with 42 years of experience as a commercial pilot. Jeff Skiles, the first officer, was also a skilled and experienced pilot.
The aircraft was carrying 150 passengers and had a flight crew of five. It was a 10-year-old plane that had logged 16,299 flights and had been airborne for 25,241 hours. Records showed all maintenance had been done on time, and it was in proper flying condition.
At 3:27, when the aircraft had reached an altitude of 2,900 feet and was still climbing at 230 miles per hour, a flock of Canada geese suddenly appeared. There was no chance for the pilots to avoid them.
Each goose weighed about 18 pounds, and because of their size and number, the birds sucked in severely damaged both engines. The 150,000-pound aircraft, which required 40,000 pounds of engine thrust, instantly lost all power.
Lacking the airspeed and altitude that would have given them maneuverability and time, the pilots had to quickly decide what to do. Viable options were almost nonexistent. They were still over New York City and had no open fields, only the crowded city, in sight.
The pilots quickly realized that it would be impossible to get to an airport and land safely. They were going down way too fast. It left them only one option, and it wasn’t a good one—land the plane on the Hudson River.
Three minutes and 29 seconds after the birds hit, the plane was floating on top of the cold waters of the Hudson.
That happened 10 years ago on the 15th. January 2009.
Behind the “Miracle on the Hudson”
This event was nicknamed the “Miracle on the Hudson.” That description fit and has stuck because Captain Sullenberger managed to safely land the aircraft in the river and, with the help of his flight crew, safely evacuate all 155 persons on board.
Not a single life was lost!
Chesley Sullenberger
Captain Chesley Sullenberger
This dramatic story gives Christians something to consider. How do we react when we are faced with sudden and traumatic circumstances that require us to make a quick decision? How do we know if we are making the right decision?When the flight recorders, or black boxes, as they’re sometimes called, were later reviewed, the data revealed that the plane had touched down at exactly the proper angle—almost absolutely level. If one wing had hit before the other, the plane would have cartwheeled. If the aircraft had been angled too far up or down, the results could have been disastrous. Remember—the pilots had no help from the engines, so they had only one shot at getting it right.
Captain Sullenberger’s background and training made all the difference. He grew up in Texas and fell in love with flying from his youth. As soon as he could, he started flying lessons and practiced as often as possible to gain experience. He took his formal training seriously, carefully learning the flight characteristics of the various aircraft he had the opportunity to pilot.
Flying wasn’t just something he had memorized from a book. He had studied and practiced the skills of piloting until it became second nature. When the birds hit, there was no time to pull out a copy of Advanced Avionics Handbook for how to calculate an angle of approach or how to guide an aircraft not designed to land on water, safely onto a river. He had to rely on his experience and what was already in his head.
When life throws us a “bird strike”
How often does life seem to throw us an unexpected “bird strike” out of nowhere? When that happens, we are suddenly faced with making a decision we may not have contemplated before. Here are some examples:
  • Your supervisor unexpectedly pressures you to tell a lie to cover up something he or she did wrong.
  • An “opportunity” appears that would benefit you financially, but requires you to steal, cheat or bend the rules “just a little.”
  • You are at a social gathering and unexpectedly drugs are brought out, and you are being pushed to try them.
  • A boyfriend or girlfriend begins to pressure you for a level of physical intimacy beyond where you know it should be.
Just as Captain Sullenberger was well-studied in the principles of flight, we need to have the principles of God’s Word embedded in our minds, so we can call on it immediately when we need to make a decision.What do you do at these times? You don’t have time to spend a day or two praying, fasting and meditating on the issue to get strength and wisdom from God. You don’t have time to call a mentor for advice. You’re right in the middle of the situation, and you have to react immediately. Just like with Flight 1549, if you have the wrong “angle of approach,” the impact could be disastrous for you.
First, we should remember we always have instant access to our Father through prayer, and hopefully we would all have the presence of mind to send up an urgent, instant silent prayer for discernment, wisdom and deliverance! God does hear the distressed cries for help from His people (Psalms 18:6; 34:15).
But our Creator has also given us a resource rich with instruction and examples of how to live and react under nearly every situation we may face in life. That resource is older, more substantial and has been tested far more than any aviation text. It is the Bible, the living Word of God. Just as Captain Sullenberger was well-studied in the principles of flight, we need to have the principles of God’s Word embedded in our minds, so we can call on it immediately when we need to make a decision.”  Continued at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/blog/a-lesson-from-the-miracle-on-the-hudson/?
An Amazing Fact: “It’s really a game of chance. Gambling is impacting more and more people all over the world. And it’s winning at the expense of other people. It is addictive. It creates false hopes. And it violates principles of Christian stewardship. Families break down because of gambling, and society at large loses. It doesn’t really generate income; it takes away income and gives it to a few winners who don’t really need it.
In 1998, people in the U.S. lost $60 billion in legal gambling. This amount has increased every year for over two decades--often at double-digit rates. And there is no end in sight. The most amazing fact about gambling in America is that over the past 25 years the United States has been transformed from a nation in which legalized gambling was rare and limited, into one in which such activity is common and growing.
Today, all but two states have some form of legalized gambling. Lotteries have been established in 37 states (including the District of Columbia), with more states poised to follow. Indian casinos operate in every region of the country. From cruise ships to riverboats to western mining towns, gambling sites continue to proliferate. Internet and telephone gambling is legalized in more states, so an increasingly large share of the public can now place a bet without ever leaving home. Universally available, “round-the-clock” gambling may soon be a reality.
In Australia, the state of New South Wales has more than 10 percent of the poker machines in the whole world. It is not uncommon to see housewives playing the slot machine while shelling peas after their mid-morning shopping. Many problem gamblers have separated or divorced while others have committed suicide after losing heavily on the poker machine. The problem is that gambling now accounts for up to 10 percent of the income of many states. And who wants to kill the goose that lays golden eggs?
If you really want to “win big,” don’t gamble. Christians don’t put their hope in money. Our hope is in the soon coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Make a sure choice with absolute results every time—choose to follow Christ. The payout is something you don’t need to make a bet on.”
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 1 Timothy 6:17

DSCF2350Jay came and worked on one of his rare occasions.  He cut the thin plywood for the bottoms of the storage areas in the lift-up compartments in the dinette benches. They were missing when I got it. He also put one sheet of paneling on the utility room wall.  There is still a lot to be done in the mini-house, but he hardly ever shows up.  Unfortunately, Zack my neighbor, doesn’t have many remodeling skills.

On Thursday I went for the check up on my second cataract surgery and they said that everything was OK.  I also picked up my repaired washing machine, though it isn’t in place yet, it just made it to the garage. 
We had some terrible winds that knocked a lot of things down, fortunately not trees, just their pine needles.  We can’t keep up with the raking and burning of them in the barrel.   Then we had a freeze, with the wind, so everything was really chilly, too chilly for my friend to have the twice monthly yard sale at the storage place.  The weather makes a lot of difference to people who make their living by selling stuff.  But fortunately a man came and bought the dinette booth.   I liked it, but it was just too big for such a small space.

No wondering what to make for the church potluck, I pick the oldest meat out of my deep-freeze and this time it was ground beef, so I made a chili-flavored ground beef with organic spiral noodles.  I would have called it chili-mac, but I didn’t put that much chili powder in it because sometimes there a little grand children at church.  
The Bible readings were Gen. 39:7-40:23, Isa. 52:3-53:12, Act 16:16-40 and our weekly reading of the New Testament was Matthew chapter 2.  The Teaching was about the Call of Peter to Apostleship. 

The weather was very windy and chilly, and not many showed up, but the friendship made it a warm and fuzzy day.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

US Paying More for Illegal Immigrant Births Than Trump’s Wall. Time Spent Wisely. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:

The Illegal Immigration Crisis—No End in Sight

“As debate between those who want secure borders preventing illegal immigration and those who want open borders rages on, the crisis continues to grow.

A border crossing.Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters/Newscom

The immigration issue has stoked the growing fires of division.

Nothing paints the divide of the culture war more starkly than the debate over illegal immigration. People in the United States and many other nations debate this issue continually, ideologically split into one of two camps—those who feel that unrestricted immigration is good for their nation and those concerned that it’s being inundated by waves of people skirting the rules in coming into the country illegally, saddling the nation with enormous and unsustainable costs.

As polarization over the issue increases, so does the rhetoric. U.S. President Donald Trump, whose 2016 election resulted in part from his strong stand on immigration, shocked many with his recent announcement that he is considering an executive order that would end automatic unrestricted “birthright citizenship” for babies born to illegal immigrants on U.S. soil (a practice allowed in fewer than one in five countries around the world).

On the other side, the radical left in America has reacted to strong enforcement actions by the U.S.Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division of the Department of Homeland Security with calls to abolish it.

The changing face of immigration

50211443_382746605818178_2205747967451725824_nThere’s no denying that the United States was built on immigration. The ancestors of the vast majority of people in America came to its shores from many other nations, seeking economic and religious freedom and a better life. Regardless of whether they stepped off 17th- or 18th-century sailing ships onto the Virginia or Massachusetts shore, or passed through Ellis Island in the 19th or early 20th century, they arrived legally. In time, many came through a process that required they learn English, understand America’s form of government and pledge allegiance to the U.S. flag.

For legal immigrants, that process continues. But the past 40 or so years have witnessed millions coming to the United States illegally, bypassing a legal immigration process developed over a long time.

Drawn to a land of peace instead of turmoil, one governed by the rule of law rather than the whims of despotic dictators, with a rich economy offering opportunities not available in their native countries, illegals unwilling to “go to the end of the line” cross into the United States relatively easily through thousands of miles of virtually unprotected borders. After arriving, they soon avail themselves of many social services on offer and find menial jobs in America’s vast underground economy.

Making matters worse is the prospect that some could be terrorists or potential terrorists driven by a fanatical hatred of the nation extending to them the hand of security and opportunity. (Keep in mind that Islamic terrorists have killed more than 3,000 Americans in nearly 20 attacks on U.S. soil.)

The immigration issue has stoked the growing fires of division. Many feel compassion for the pitiful plight of millions oppressed in nations around the world and want to open the gates wide to any and all comers. Others see this as a tidal wave threatening to undermine and sweep away the very freedoms and opportunities that have always drawn in immigrants from abroad.

Of course it’s right to want to help, but the concerning threat here is very real—not only to America but to other countries around the world, such as Britain, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Greece, Russia, India, Brazil—and the list goes on.

Former U.S. president Ronald Reagan warned more than 30 years ago, “A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.” Governors of several southwestern U.S. states recognize the threat, with former Arizona governor Jan Brewer echoing Reagan: “A nation without borders is like a house without walls—it collapses. And that is going to happen to our wonderful America.”

A costly problem

No one really knows how many illegal immigrants are in the United States. Estimates run between 11 and 13 million, making the illegal segment about 4 percent of the population. However, a Yale University study released in September 2018 puts the number much higher—between 16 and 30 million. Either way, Census Bureau and Department of Homeland Security figures show the number has increased rapidly from about 8 million in 2007, peaking around 2016. Stepped-up border enforcement and deportation efforts by Immigration and Customs Enforcement have tamped down increases since then.

Many illegally entering the United States view the country as “the Promised Land,” so to speak, where they can get government-provided food stamps, free health care and free or subsidized housing. These services, of course, are not free. The most recent figures from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) put total federal and state costs of providing for illegal immigrants at more than $134 billion per year.

The estimated $19 billion per year illegals pay in federal and state income taxes does little to offset this cost. Put in simpler terms, each illegal immigrant costs U.S. taxpayers almost $8,000 per year, year after year.

….. Of course, border enforcement—or lack thereof—is also inextricably linked to drug trafficking. The same Mexican crime lords who smuggle drugs across the southern border also smuggle human beings. Most illegal drugs sold in the United States come from Mexico, and heroin is making a huge comeback. In 2017, the last year for which figures are available, more than 72,000 Americans died of drug overdosesthat’s nearly 200 a day and more than all U.S. deaths from the Vietnam and Iraq wars combined.”      Continued at: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/beyond-today-magazine/the-illegal-immigration-crisis-no-end-in-sight


Time Spent Wisely

“Our lives fly along at a fast pace.

An older man.Gus Moretta/Unsplash

It’s far better to use our time wisely and be productive so that we will not be looking back with regret.

Five, 10 and then 20 years are gone in a flash. Knowing that helps us appreciate the value of each day. Time is not to be wasted in idle inaction or just drifting along with whatever comes to us. We must all make the most of our own time—it has to be a conscious decision. Lost years are never regained.

Let’s review two important passages of advice from the Bible. One tells us that poverty and need is a result of not using time wisely (Proverbs 6:10). The second passage tells us we need to remember our Creator when we are young and full of energy before the difficult days come and the years in which you have no pleasure (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

Many people say “if only” or “I should have” or “I wish I could do that over again.” Life does not let us turn back the clock. It’s far better to use our time wisely and be productive so that we will not be looking back with regret.”  From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/this-is-the-way/time-spent-wisely



Well, selling the sofa that was in the house and the matching loveseat that was in the mini-house, made big spaces in each place.  Zack and I moved a daybed that I have had stored for years, into my living room so at least we have something to sit upon.  DSCF2349

Then, as there was room in the mini-house, we put the dining nook set together, and I listed it for sale.  There is no way I could have used it as pictured, I need just a small table and a couple of chairs. We haven’t quite finished working on the table, but we will have to hurry as there have already been inquiries about it.

My foster cat, Gracie, went back to her ‘Mom’ and their home which has been repaired since the fire.  It took about 10 months to repair it, maybe I was better off when mine burned to the ground in 1989, because it didn’t take us that long to build a whole new house!  Though a small one, granted.  I think it was stress from the fire that made Gracie chew on cardboard boxes because she quit that. It seems strange not to have a cat in the house.

On Thursday I had my other eye done. A neighbor of Jay’s took me.  This cataract surgery seemed a lot easier than the first one.  No “cement-being-scraped-off-glass” sounds this time. Friday was the post-op follow-up, and my SPCA friend took me. I was trying to spread my ‘nuisanceness’ around so as not to bother one person too much! 

On Saturday I drove 10 miles to the church myself, but I did have another driver with me, Jay, even though he doesn’t have a license.  After the first eye surgery, I asked the nurse when I could drive and she said as soon as I felt that I wouldn’t be mowing down pedestrians.  There are no sidewalks on the freeway or country roads to the church, so there were no pedestrians for me to scare!

Because I didn’t know if I would even be able to get to church, I didn’t cook anything for the Sabbath potluck, so I grabbed some organic lentils and quinoa that were already cooked, added some seasonings and veggies, and took it in a little crockpot.  Then I grabbed a red velvet cake that was in my freezer, and so that at least contributed to the desserts. Neither weighed that much as I am not supposed to carry more than 5lb for now.

Jay and I arrived safely and I was able to drive OK.  The Bible readings were Gen. 37:1-36, Jer. 38:1-13, Mat. 3:13-17 and all of Mat. 1.  Our pastor has decided that we need to read more of the New Testament in church.  We cannot separate the Jews (Old Testament) and the Christians (New Testament) because Jesus was, and is, a Jew.  The Teaching was about Divine Requirements and we should be doers of The Word, not just hearers, and have inward righteousness.

It was great to see the family with a new baby that hadn’t been there for a while, as they were back in town for a couple of days.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Three Ways Pride May Be Infecting Us All. Compliments. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:

Three Ways Pride May Be Infecting Us All

“The Bible specifically warns us to avoid pride and arrogance. How do we recognize and purge this dangerous and infectious sin from our lives?

Three Ways Pride May Be Infecting Us All

“The late New Testament scholar John Stott said, “At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend.”

He also said, “Pride is more than the first of the seven deadly sins; it is itself the essence of all sin.”

God reveals that He considers a proud look and a proud heart to be an abomination (Proverbs 6:16-17; 16:5). God also inspired Solomon to write, “Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate” (Proverbs 8:13).

So, why does God hate pride so much?

The Bible defines pride as arrogance, haughtiness and conceit. Pride emphasizes the self over others, and it rejects God’s greatness.

Pride occurs when sinful human beings subconsciously aspire to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence upon Him. Pride contends for supremacy with Him.

Pride takes innumerable forms but has only one end: self-glorification. That’s the motive and ultimate purpose of pride—to rob God of legitimate glory and to pursue self-glorification, contending for supremacy with Him. The proud person considers himself better than other people, and even seeks to glorify himself instead of God, thereby attempting in effect to deprive God of something only He is worthy to receive.

A proud person has a distorted view of himself, not accepting Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 1:26, 29: “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. … that no flesh should glory in His presence.”

Putting ourselves in the place of God is truly prideful, but pride also includes deciding that we know better than everyone else when we should be esteeming others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). Even comparing ourselves too favorably over others would be prideful and certainly is not wise to do (2 Corinthians 10:12).

Ungodly and hateful pride is a growing reality in the modern world. Instead of emphasizing personal responsibility and gratitude, this world emphasizes self-worth and self-centeredness. From the time when Lucifer developed pride because of his beauty (Ezekiel 28:17) to today, when modern political candidates and celebrities flaunt their greatness, the entire span of history shows us how infectious and dangerous pride can be.

Pride can also affect us in subtle ways. It is always lurking in the background of our lives, and we might not even be aware of it.It’s no wonder God listed pride as something He hates and inspired multiple scriptures to be written showing why all humanity should overcome it. We are even told, “God resists the proud” (James 4:6). This alone should be a warning that pride has to go.

But pride can also affect us in subtle ways. It is always lurking in the background of our lives, and we might not even be aware of it.

Three ways pride may be infecting us

1. Social media.

Facebook and other social media can be amazing tools for staying connected with friends and family. However, social media can also be a breeding ground for personal pride. Here is one way pride can reveal its ugly face on social media outlets:

Constantly checking to see how many people liked or commented on something we posted, or how many “hits” we receive, and feeling upset if “not enough” people responded.

Challenge: Review past posts and comments and see how much attention we tried to pull toward ourselves. Also, we could go through our personal photo albums and see if we have an excessive number of “selfies” posted.

2. Conversations with friends.

There’s nothing like getting together with friends and having great conversations. But what happens when pride creeps into our conversations? It is easy to spot in others, but much harder to see in ourselves. Notice these examples:

One-uppers: Trying to beat the stories or experiences other people are relating (“My day was worse” or “I had a bigger problem”). This is an attempt to bring the focus back on us, no matter what other people are saying.

Conversation dominators: When one person dominates a conversation to the extent that the other person cannot get a word in edgewise. Conversation should be give-and-take, not just give.

Know-it-alls: Never admitting wrong and always pointing out wrong in others. Unfortunately, too often this goes beyond just conversation and turns into a full lifestyle of pride. It is very important to have the ability to admit when we are wrong.

Challenge: Ask a friend or family member—someone close enough to us to be honest despite hurting our feelings—to answer this question gently but truthfully: “Do you sometimes think I’m being arrogant or boastful in what I say?” If we are not comfortable doing this, we can still try to evaluate our own conversations.

3. Our spirituality.

Jesus Christ warned against pride in our own spirituality (Matthew 6:1, 5). Though Christ wants us to practice righteous living, He doesn’t want us to live righteously just to attract attention to ourselves or appear righteous to others. Constantly calling attention to our personal righteousness is an easy way to fall into pride (the epitome of unrighteousness).

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus constantly corrected the Pharisees for practicing religion just to be seen by others.

The most famous example is in Luke 18:9-11: “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.”’” (For more details, read our article “The Pharisee and the Tax Collector.”)

Challenge: As we post things online or speak to others, we need to keep this instruction in mind: “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2).

A hard road

Pride is not an easy sin to overcome, mainly because it is so easy to see in others, yet so painfully difficult to see in ourselves. Benjamin Franklin once stated: “There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.”

Seeing the danger that pride brings—destruction (Proverbs 16:18)—should make us that much more eager to fight against this sin at every turn.

One of the best ways to deal with pride is to replace it with an attitude God constantly emphasizes in the Scriptures—humility. “Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Peter 5:5).

Another antidote to pride is to remember to give thanks to God (Colossians 3:15-17). Being thankful to Him helps us to realize that everything we have—including our lives and our blessings—comes from God, and He deserves all the credit and glory.

So, let’s crush insidious pride in all of its forms and replace it with humility and thanksgiving!”  From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/change/sin/three-ways-pride-may-be-infecting-us-all/  No more “It’s All About Me!”



“What is the difference between compliments and flattery?

Friends hugging each other.Courtney Prather/Unsplash

“An honest friend will love and respect you without the flattery.

One of the definitions of a compliment is “delicate flattery.” We appreciate compliments that are given in sincerity and with no hidden motives, but they often make us feel uncomfortable because we are not certain they are genuine. Human interaction can sometimes be complicated.

There are times when we want to tell the truth to a friend, or what we perceive to be the truth. That can be costly because we can lose a friend. Still, the wounds of a friend are a true showing of love. Choosing our words and comments carefully is important. A faithful friend may compliment you in truth, but he will also risk your friendship by being honest with you. An enemy who really does not care will not hesitate to flatter or be deceitful (Proverbs27:5-6). “Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.”

Flattery is a form of false love that does not actually show care about the person to whom it is directed. The motive for flattery is usually an attempt to gain something. It may bring ruin to someone else, but that is not the concern of the flatterer. We are often prone to flattery because we want to feel loved and respected. An honest friend will love and respect you without the flattery.”  From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/this-is-the-way/compliments



Zack. my neighbor came and worked a couple of days so we got some more stuff done.  If I am here by myself, I spend most of my time on the computer, listing stuff for sale, or learning as much about the Bible and functional nutrition as I can.

The dining booth that I have for the mini-house had a couple of deep scratches on the table, so it was sanded down, stained, but not finished yet.  We fixed the upholstery hose on the carpet shampooer and cleaned the loveseat and ottoman again that had just come out of storage because it smelled musty.  Then sprayed it to make it smell better.  I have them, and the matching sofa and rug listed for sale as I won’t be able to use that whole set in the mini-house.  I just need a loveseat that is a hide-a-bed.

The rain was coming and my French drain hadn’t been dug deep enough, so a guy came and did that, just in time, because it poured and poured for a couple of days.  We also replaced and re-anchored the tie-downs on the motorhome’s canvas carport. The last few years of sunshine had rotted the ropes.

This week was another trip into Conroe to the eye clinic getting ready for my next cataract surgery on Thursday.  My daughter, Wendy won’t be coming to take me this time as she has a new pup and can’t leave him crated for very long.  Jay went with me into Conroe so that he could go thrift shopping and we both bought a few clothes.

Tried to do some laundry but the old Kenmore washer didn’t spin out enough water.  Either it won’t kick into high speed spin, or the pump is shot, so I’ll have to put my original Roper washer back in place when I have some help.  I really like the Kenmore that was in the mini-house better, so I will take it in to be fixed.

I cooked brown rice in ‘the rinsing and pasta style’ of cooking, to get the arsenic out, and added some seasonings, organic chicken and veggies for the church potluck, and it was all eaten up.  There were also tacos with all the fixin’s, roasted chicken, lots of veggies, salads, (potato and coleslaw) pies and cookies.

The Bible readings were Gen. 35:12-36:43,  Isa. 43:1-7, and Mat. 11:25-30 and the Teaching ws about ‘The Faithfulness of Yahweh (God)’. 

There had been so much rain at the church that we couldn’t walk on the soggy ground between the sanctuary and the dining hall and had to go a long way around.  But at least only our feet got wet as the rain had stopped for the day.

Well, a family just came and bought the sofa, loveseat, ottoman and rug, so I can pay people to help me for a few more days.