Sunday, February 24, 2019

Slave to the Lender. Six Biblical Personal Finance Principles. Update.

For “Scripture Sunday”:

Slave to the Lender

“Credit is an easy way to buy what you want now. Used wisely, credit can be an effective tool; but without restraint, it can make you a slave to the lender.

The borrower is slave to the lender

Don't become a slave to the lender.

The importance and usefulness of credit in our modern life is evident. The value of a good credit rating is emphasized by the prevalence of credit reporting and credit protection products and companies. A poor credit rating can be a rude awakening for someone trying to buy a house—or even applying for a job!

A culture of credit

For the average family, a major purchase such as a new automobile or a home would not be possible without the ability to borrow money on credit and pay it back over time. Many businesses must also occasionally borrow money to upgrade facilities or purchase equipment. Without sufficient capital on hand, credit becomes an important means to keeping a business growing and profitable.

These are important uses of credit in our society today. And used wisely, it allows a family or a company to take advantage of opportunities that would otherwise be lost. Gains in business and equity for a family are all positive outcomes of credit used wisely.

Not all credit is created equal       
Continued at:


Six Biblical Personal Finance Principles

“Money affects every aspect of our lives, and God’s financial principles can help us gain control and find peace of mind.

Six Biblical Personal Finance Principles

The other day it seemed that just about every conversation I was part of or overheard related to money.

At lunch, a friend told me she needed to take a second job to pay for her son’s college tuition. Another friend called me, discouraged about her upside-down car loan. A radio talk show host discussed consumer debt levels with his listeners. The couple behind me in line at the supermarket argued about whether they could afford certain items in their shopping cart. After receiving our latest utility bill, my husband and I had a long chat about how we could cut back on energy usage.

Truthfully, that day probably wasn’t much of an aberration—for me or for the people I was in contact with. The fact is, our personal finances influence much of what we think about, talk about and do day in and day out.

Often we’re worrying about whether we’ll have enough money to make ends meet, pay for an unexpected expense or retire. Some people become obsessed about amassing their fortunes and turn into workaholics. I’ve known people whose mood changed, depending on what the stock market was doing or how many bills were outstanding.

Our finances affect where we live, our work schedules, what we do with our free time and on and on.

So it’s not surprising that the Bible—the owner’s manual for living—has a great deal to say about money.

What follows are six biblical personal finance principles, along with some elaboration from professional financial consultants.

1. Follow a budget

The Bible doesn’t use the term budgeting, yet it offers clear direction on the importance of such planning. Simply put, a budget is a written plan to track and control income and expenses.

Proverbs 27:23 says, “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.” Put in modern terms, we need to be aware of how we’re using our income, so we can know whether we need to make adjustments in our spending.

“Budgeting helps us avoid impulsive and unnecessary spending, live within our means, and prepare for future needs,” explains Bill Gustafson, senior director of the Center for Financial Responsibility at Texas Tech University. “If we don’t carefully plan our finances and direct them where to go, we will one day find ourselves broke.”

To set up your household budget, figure out how much you spend each month for different categories (such as housing, food, transportation, entertainment, clothing, medical, etc.), and compare that to your monthly income. If your expenses are more than your income, you will need to cut out unnecessary purchases.

Once you’ve established your budget, use either a ledger or a budgeting program on the computer to start tracking your monthly expenses. “If you get to the point where there’s no more money left for the month in a particular category, stop spending,” Dr. Gustafson says. “It’s going to take some determination to do this, but it’s a necessary step if you’re going to get your finances under control.”

For more on budgeting, see our online article “The Bible, Budgeting and You.” It includes a downloadable sample outline budget.

2. Tithe faithfully

The top priority on our income, before we do anything else with it, should be God’s tithes. God says in Malachi 3:10, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house.”

A tithe is 10 percent of a person’s “increase” (Deuteronomy 14:22), which is given to support the ministry and work of the Church. When we tithe, we show God that we are putting Him first in our lives.

Certainly God doesn’t need our money. Everything we have ultimately belongs to Him (Exodus 19:5). The real beneficiaries of tithing are those of us writing the checks. In the last part of Malachi 3:10 God makes the promise that when we faithfully tithe, He will “open … the windows of heaven, and pour out … such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”

The blessings can be physical or spiritual. Financial expert Dave Ramsey explains in his blog that tithing teaches us to be good stewards of what God has given us and to live unselfishly. This can lead to improved household finances and can help us become better spouses, friends, relatives, employees and employers.

Tithing can also help us learn to trust God more fully and build a closer relationship with Him. Often people who tithe can think back on times when—at least on paper—it didn’t look like they could afford to tithe. Yet they did and had enough—sometimes even more than enough—for their physical needs.

One friend put it this way: “Tithing has helped me to stay more focused on God, to not just look at the ‘facts’ from a human perspective, and to remember we can always count on God in all situations.”

3. Avoid unnecessary borrowing

The Bible warns against the use of debt. Proverbs 22:7 states, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” If you become burdened with a heavy load of debt, in essence you’ve become a slave to your creditors. You no longer have the freedom to decide how to spend your paycheck because you’re obligated to meet those debts.

The way to keep debt in check is to be careful about buying on credit. “Only borrow for purchases that will increase or hold their value, such as home or college tuition,” advises Erica Sandberg, a San Francisco–based money management consultant. “Don’t take out high-interest loans for nonessential items that are likely to depreciate quickly, such as new automobiles, clothing, furniture, appliances or jewelry.”

According to a 2018 report from, the average credit card interest rate in the United States is around 17 percent. This means you’ll pay $170 in interest annually on every $1,000 of debt.According to a 2018 report from, the average credit card interest rate in the United States is around 17 percent. This means you’ll pay $170 in interest annually on every $1,000 of debt. If you let the balance carry over month after month, you can quickly end up owing far more than the original price of your purchases.

Erica Sandberg recommends only using credit cards if you are able to pay the full balance on the statement each month, so you don’t have to pay any interest. If you have a lot of outstanding revolving debt, this should be paid off as quickly as possible, starting with the credit card that has the highest interest rate.

4. Save up before spending

Financial planners generally suggest saving at least 10 percent of your income every month. Have three different accounts: a short-term savings for major purchases (such as new household furnishings or vehicle repairs), a long-term savings (for your retirement or children’s college tuition), and an emergency fund (in case of a job layoff or large unexpected expense).

“Saving up money before making a purchase is one of the smartest ways to keep out of financial trouble,” says Dr. Gustafson. “By having money set aside for ‘big ticket’ items, you won’t be tempted to use credit cards to pay for them.”

This is another biblically based financial principle. Proverbs 21:20 says, “Be sensible and store up precious treasures—don’t waste them like a fool” (Contemporary English Version). Proverbs 6:6-8 describes the ant, who saves during a time of plenty for a time when there will be need. We, too, should save now for future expenses.

5. Give to others

Everything we have—our money, physical assets, jobs and even the ability to earn money—comes from God (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19). After meeting our own needs, He wants us to share some of what we’ve been given with others.

In Acts 20:35 Paul quotes Jesus as saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” We should give unconditionally—even when the recipients cannot repay us (Luke 14:12-14). That could mean donating to charity, buying someone a gift, having people over to dinner or buying food for a homeless person.

While we need to exercise wisdom in how much to give, we shouldn’t be so tight with our money that we’re reluctant to part with any of it. As with tithing, God blesses us when we’re generous (Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6).

There have been times when I’ve given and afterward seen a disconcerting emptiness in my pocketbook. But then seemingly out of nowhere I received some unexpected cash or other financial blessing that filled that gap.

When we have the desire to share, God gives us the means to do so.

Of course, not everyone has the same financial means. We may genuinely be struggling monetarily. But even then, we can still give of the time, talents or other nonfinancial assets that God has provided for us. The point is, God wants us to use what He has blessed us with so we can be a blessing to others, not just so we can fulfill our own needs and desires.

6. Put your confidence in God, not in your finances

When it comes to finances, people often go from one extreme to another. If our bank accounts, retirement portfolios and home values are increasing, we might start trusting in them. When we’re facing a job layoff, stock market losses or unplanned expenses, we may worry anxiously. Neither extreme is the biblical approach.

The Bible makes it clear that true security can only be found in God (1 Timothy 6:17) and that trusting in riches will destroy us (Proverbs 11:28). Our wealth and possessions are temporary and can easily be wiped out in an instant, perhaps through theft, accidents or natural disasters.

If we’re struggling with our finances, we must remember that God is our refuge, and that He cares for those who trust in Him (Nahum 1:7). We shouldn’t be anxious about money problems (Philippians 4:6). We must do our part—to not overspend, but to save and invest our money in what has eternal value. The rest is in God’s hands. If we’re seeking God’s Kingdom first and foremost, we can be assured that God will provide for our physical needs (Matthew 6:25-34).

By committing to these financial principles, we will benefit from improved finances and financial peace of mind. There may be less tension about money at home and a better connection among family members as well.

Most important, we will learn to trust God more fully, develop a deeper appreciation for His purpose for us and build a closer relationship with Him.”  From:



One reason that I chose these topics is because when I left England it was the rule that you had to put a third down on something you wanted to get on credit, “on tick”, they called it.  I think that stopped a lot of unecessary debt, which is too prevalent these days.  So I hope that folks will go by these good principles when borrowing.

Just regular maintenance around here this week.  Raking and burning and trying to keep abreast of the leaves and pine needles, and we also had to burn some old termite-eaten lumber.  One morning I took Zack to the local food pantry operated by the local churches, to get his ration of free food.  

On Wednesday, I took a day off and looked in various thrift shops. in Conroe. One find was “The Bible from 26 Translations” and I also bought one of those old glass electric hot plates, but this one is about 3 feet long.  It will keep a lot of the church potluck food at serving temperature.  My daughter called my cell while I was at Walmart ordering my new eye glasses, she was in Conroe so we met and I saw her new German Shepherd pup, “Ruckus” for the first time. He is big.  I tried to take a picture, but he wouldn’t hold still.

On Thursday, the usual Yoga and Senior exercises at the “Y” and they put on a lunch there this time.  Friday, a visit to the doctor, just routine stuff, and  then because it was “Preparation Day”, according to the Bible, I got my church clothes ready, cooked for the church potluck, and set my hair.  A quick brush through and it might look decent.

For the Sabbath potluck I took Turkey Spaghetti Bolognese, Whole Grain crackers and White Cheese dip.  I also took the rest of that enormous cookie that had been taking up room in my deep freeze.  But the favourite dessert there was a cheescake, and that went fast!

The Bible readings were Gen. 49:1-27, Zech. 14:1-11, Luke 23:13-34 and all of Matt. 7.  The teaching was the second part of “Messiah, Our Advocate”.

The computer guy was at church this time and now I have my desktop back, hurray!  Even though I found out how to use my regular monitor instead of hunching over the table-height laptop screen, it just didn’t do right for me.  It has Windows 8 and I am used to Windows 7.  I hope I never have to get used to Windows 10!  The keyboard is a little different, too, so that made me make mistakes, 

Still crazy weather around here, you can’t get bored.  Really cold, and then just to surprise us, a warm day. 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Geologic Dating Methods: Are They Always Accurate? Virginia Government Turmoil. Update

For “Scripture Sunday”:

Geologic Dating Methods: Are They Always Accurate?

Geologists use radiometric dating methods to determine the age of strata and fossils. Are they always accurate? Does an evolutionary bias affect the dating?
Geologic Dating Methods
When a new fossil is discovered, geologists assign a date for when they think the plant or animal lived. They normally use radiometric dating methods to date the fossil, and many promote these methods as being accurate. Yet when you look into the technical papers on these discoveries, you find that these dates are often questionable and are sometimes clearly in error.
What are radiometric dating methods?
Several types of radiometric dating methods are used today. One of the best known is carbon 14 (C-14). When a plant or animal dies, the carbon in it has a small amount of radioactivity. C-14 is produced when high-energy particles from solar radiation hit the earth’s atmosphere and make the unstable element called C-14. As time goes by, this C-14 slowly changes back to stable atoms. explains: “Carbon-14 dating, also called radiocarbon dating, [is a] method of age determination that depends upon the decay to nitrogen of radiocarbon (carbon-14). Carbon-14 is continually formed in nature by the interaction of neutrons with nitrogen-14 in the Earth’s atmosphere; the neutrons required for this reaction are produced by cosmic rays interacting with the atmosphere.
“Radiocarbon … is absorbed from the air by green plants and then passed on to animals through the food chain. Radiocarbon decays slowly in a living organism, and the amount lost is continually replenished as long as the organism takes in air or food. Once the organism dies, however, it ceases to absorb carbon-14, so that the amount of the radiocarbon in its tissues steadily decreases. Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years—i.e., half the amount of the radioisotope present at any given time will undergo spontaneous disintegration during the succeeding 5,730 years. Because carbon-14 decays at this constant rate, an estimate of the date at which an organism died can be made by measuring the amount of its residual radiocarbon. …
“It has proved to be a versatile technique of dating fossils and archaeological specimens from 500 to 50,000 years old.”
There are also other radiometric dating methods that are used to date strata and fossils. One of the most common is the potassium-argon dating method. This is used to date volcanic rock to the time the volcano erupted. If this rock is above a fossil, that fossil can be dated as “older” than the volcanic rock above it.
Encarta 2006 Premium Encyclopedia’s article on “Archaeology” explains:
“Potassium-argon dating provides approximate dates for sites in early prehistory. Geologists use this method to date volcanic rocks that may be as much as 4 billion to 5 billion years old. Potassium is one of the most abundant elements in the earth’s crust. Many minerals contain radioactive K-40 (potassium 40) isotopes, which decay at a known rate into Ar-40 (argon 40) gas. Scientists use a device called a spectrometer to measure the accumulation of Ar-40 in relation to amounts of K-40. The ratio of these elements can indicate the age of a geologic layer, generally since it last underwent a metamorphosis, such as melting under the heat of molten lava from a volcanic eruption. Thus, geologic layers rich in volcanic deposits lend themselves to potassium-argon dating.”
Sometimes radiometric dating methods give results that are totally wrong. One example of this is the KNM-ER 1470 fossil found in Kenya by Bernard Ngeneo, a field worker for the famous paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey. When the original sample of the volcanic tuff was given to the laboratory, the potassium-argon date was about 230 million years. This date would mean that men lived during the time of the dinosaurs and would upset the evolutionary timescale. So new samples were sent and finally a date of 2.4 million years was eventually accepted (Nature 226, April 18, 1970, pp. 226-228).
Since evolutionary theory is generally assumed to be true, it is to be expected that dates that do not fit the evolutionary timescale will be reexamined or dismissed. But does this assumption lead to circular reasoning and wrong conclusions?Since evolutionary theory is generally assumed to be true, it is to be expected that dates that do not fit the evolutionary timescale will be reexamined or dismissed. But does this assumption lead to circular reasoning and wrong conclusions?
Assumptions of these methods
In order to calibrate these dates, geologists must use certain assumptions:
  1. The amount of the radioactive element at the time of origin is known.
  2. The rate of decay of the radioactive element is the same throughout time.
  3. There has been no contamination or loss of the radioactive element or the radioactive decay products since being formed in the sample.
Problems can occur when using these assumptions. The Bible shows that before the Flood in Genesis 7, conditions were different on the earth. Adam lived for 930 years. Clearly something was different during that period of time. Perhaps there were atmospheric differences that could have affected the amount of radioactive material produced at that time.
Scientists have to assume that C-14 production has been a constant in order to calibrate their dating methods. Yet it is known that the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere has changed over time, and the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere varies. The nuclear bomb tests of the 1950s, for example, actually changed the amount of radioactive carbon in the atmosphere.
Another problem with radiometric dating methods is the assumption about the amount of the original radioactive element. How do we know exactly how much potassium was originally in the volcanic rock? As we will see, this method clearly can give erroneous dates for strata.
Even the method used for dating a sample can lead to dramatic changes in dates for an item. National Geographic Magazine explained that a different dating method for C-14 indicated the oldest Maya civilization was not nearly as old as earlier data had indicated. The article states: “The remains of a woman found below a layered platform called Cuello in northern Belize had been thought to be more than 4,000 years old. … As a result of new dating methods, about a thousand years have been trimmed from the chronology” (“Oldest Known Maya: Not Quite So Old,” Nov. 8, 1990).
A thousand years is a very large error!
Radiometric dating methods are referred to as “absolute” dating, but that doesn’t mean the dates they arrive at are necessarily certain. Scientists use the term absolute to distinguish from relative dating methods. When fossil A is found in rock strata below a rock layer containing fossil B, fossil A can generally be dated as older, relative to fossil B. That is relative dating. But relative dating doesn’t yield actual age; that is what absolute dating attempts to do.
“Absolute dating complements relative dating by providing a specific (not necessarily precise) chronological age for a given specimen” (Glen Kuban, Introduction to Fossil Collecting, 1994-2000, emphasis added).
Yet many presume these dating methods are absolute in terms of certainty. This is misleading, since dates determined by radiometric dating methods are not always absolute at all.
Environmental conditions
Erroneous dates can occur when the environment has affected the sample. For example, the C-14 dates of living mollusks found in rivers can give anomalous dates.
Continued at:

Virginia Government Turmoil

Accusations abound with calls for resignation. What can we learn from this latest incident?
[Darris McNeely] Politics in the state of Virginia are kind of in a free fall right now with the top three political figures, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general and the governor, exposed for indiscretions going back several years, both sexually and racially, and calls now for their resignation, and it’s created quite a mess. These are not the first politicians to get in trouble like this, nor will they be the last politicians to get in trouble like this.
[Steve Myers] Yeah, it’s definitely something that’s not relegated to one political party or the other. I think it speaks to human nature and the challenges that we all face as we face life and we grow up and we make choices in our life.
[Darris] The governor’s comments first drew our attention here on Beyond Today when he described with graphic detail recently what an abortion would take place or basically infanticide after a fully born baby would be laid on the table and then a conversation between parents to decide its fate would take place. That erupted all over the news. We covered that on Beyond Today, and then other things have come out now in his life, the governor’s case, and the other two gentlemen. Again, just horrendous examples that call to mind certain scriptural principles, I think. We are in an age right now where whatever one did at some point in their past life, especially in their youth, can be called up and the person can be held accountable for it.
[Steve] That’s become more and more prevalent. You can hardly run for a political office these days if your past has anything that would hold you back because, and I think for one reason is that we’re not talking about forgiveness, we’re not talking about repentance in these things and people can’t get by these things. So, when you look at the political scene, if there’s things in the past that are going to come out, it’s going to cause a problem for you. So how do you become responsible for those things, how do go beyond those things? Because we all have problems and issues in our life.
[Darris] I think the lesson is there for us all to learn that any time in your life, whether you’re a young person or an older adult, our daily life and the actions we take, they have consequences. Sometimes we can do stupid things we shouldn’t. Sometimes they will then maybe we think be in the past, but there are principles from the Bible that show that the folly and the sins of our lives sometimes do come back.
There’s a scripture in Ecclesiastes 10:1 I think that applies to this. It says, “Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment and cause it to give off a foul odor, so does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.” In the case of all three of these men, they’ve been elected to high office in the state of Virginia holding places of honor for their supposed wisdom and, yet, their folly from their past lives have now caught up with them.
[Steve] When you recognize that fact, then how do you get beyond this? How do you go beyond? What can they say to make it all right? They’ve behaved in manners that don’t bring honor to the office that they hold. And, yet, what do they do now? How do we react to those kinds of things?
[Darris] So, what do you think the big lesson, big takeaway is for us?
[Steve] I think one of the things is you can’t represent yourself to be something that you’re not. Oftentimes, it seems there’s this, and it goes throughout the political scene, that we present ourselves as far above these kinds of incidents when, in fact, we’ve done them ourselves. We’ve done maybe different versions of these things. And so, oftentimes, Christ pointed these things out where he would talk to the religious leaders of the day. He called them hypocrites because they would condemn people for doing similar types of things and raise themself up as being righteous and perfect and wonderful, and yet, they did the same things and they didn’t take account of themselves.
[Darris] Scripture does say your sins will find you out. God is not mocked.
[Steve] That’s right.
[Darris] And I think we have to all take a step back and regardless of the politics, regardless of the issues, remember what Scripture says and make sure that our morality, our ethics and our lives are anchored in the solid word of Scripture, the Bible, and the belief in God.” From:
Not really a lot of progress this week. Jay was broke so he wanted to work for a couple of days.  It took him a long time to install two more 4’ x 8’ sheets of wooden T1-11 on the wall that is outside the mini-house, but inside the attached green house.  It had to be measured carefully for the cutting out for the window that looks into the green house from the mini-house kitchen, then the hot and cold pipes that were installed for the future sink, and an outlet, and I could tell that all that booze has affected Jay.  After all, I have known him for over 20 years and he has worked here and built stuff here for most of that time until just a couple of years ago.  His thinking isn’t like it used to be.   
Then we moved the tools up the three steps into the future tool room which is at the back end of the greenhouse.  Those inside walls need to be insulated and covered with T1-11 too.  I had a very old heavy desk up against the far wall, but it was wedged in there so tight and was so heavy that we had to cut it up with a saw.  It was made of that old sawdust-stuck-together type “wood” and over an inch thick, no wonder it was so heavy.  It was going to be burned anyway. 
I don’t want anything but real wood.  Yes, even the T1-11 we are using is REAL wood.  It came off another building, because now-a-days all you get is made of that Masonite-type stuff.
Thursday was Yoga and the Silver Sneakers exercises. But on that day the YMCA hosted a lunch and Valentine Dance.  Most of the food was good, but there was fried catfish, so I brought that home for Jay’s cat.  I don’t eat it because of Lev. 11:12 for one thing, and I don’t eat breaded fried food.
The dance was something else.0214133841
0214133101Here they are doing the limbo, but most of them cheated and just ducked under the pole.  
And of course they played “Y-M-C-A” and they all did the actions that go with it.
All the seniors got up when they played the “Twist” from back in the 60’s, that is something they all knew how to do.  A good time was had by all.

For the Sabbath potluck, as I had some ground turkey, I made it into Impossible Turkey Taco Pie: . The “Impossible” pies are always welcomed, and sometimes I make them with fruit.  Here are several “Impossible” recipes: .  I know, I know, processed food, but sometimes the Sabbath is a ‘cheat-day.  We all eat more than we should when we have our delicious potlucks.  The great company and conversation is addictive too.

The Bible readings were Gen. 47:28-48:22, Isa. 43:1-8, John 16:25-33, and all of Matt. 6. The Teaching was about How Important to Search and Learn from the Bible.  Don’t take as true what someone tells you, verify it for yourself.  (That applies to the Internet, too!!)

It was chilly in the church, I don’t think the thermostat works right, and I hadn’t dressed for the cold because it was supposed to be a warm day.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Would Jesus Do Valentine’s? 3 Romantic Alternatives to Valentine’s Day.

For Scripture Sunday”:

“What Would Jesus Do?” Would Jesus Do Valentine’s?

“A few years ago the acronym WWJD became really popular—it stands for “What Would Jesus Do?”

So here’s a question for this time of the year: Would Jesus do Valentine’s?

Well, why not? one could argue. It’s all about love, romance and showing sweetness to someone special. Sounds like the kind of thing Jesus is all about!

But think about this for a minute: The only reason we have Valentine’s Day today is because someone started it somewhere. We can’t simply put Jesus in our context today and ask if He would be celebrating Valentine’s, without first asking would He have celebrated it when it first became popularized.

So let’s rewind history just a bit. Going way back, centuries before Jesus, the Romans had a big, three-day long religious celebration—a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. Faunus was the Roman equivalent to the Greek god Pan. He was also associated with the god Lupercus, from which this festival got the name Lupercalia, which was celebrated between the 13th and 15th of February.

All the lore surrounding the goings-on of this festival is a little murky. Some say that after the sacrifices and rituals to pray for the gods’ blessings for fertility, the bachelors would draw from an urn the names of young women, and they would be paired with them for a year, maybe longer if the relationship worked out. Others debate that, but we do know enough to conclude that, well, let’s just say that the pagans knew how to mix a lot of illicit sex into their religious celebrations.

So skip ahead a few hundred years and—I’ll just quote from a National Public Radio report—“Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals.” Knowing how popular it was with the masses, though, he said, we’ll still have something on Feb. 14, but we’ll honor Saint Valentine, a fellow Catholic legend says was martyred. As NPR says, “The festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, ‘It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn’t stop it from being a day of fertility and love.’”

The website says Gelasius “changed the lottery to have both young men and women draw the names of saints whom they would then emulate for the year (a change that no doubt disappointed a few young men). Instead of Lupercus, the patron of the feast became Valentine.

For Roman men, the day continued to be an occasion to seek the affections of women, and it became a tradition to give out handwritten messages of admiration that included Valentine’s name.”

And let’s not forget about Cupid—where did he come from? Well, in Roman mythology Cupid is the son of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. He himself is the god of raw desire, erotic love and attraction; and he was worshipped because he could cause people to fall in love by shooting them with his love-potion arrows. So, that cute little cherub on your greeting card?—a Roman god.

So would Jesus have done Valentine’s Day when it first appeared on the scene in modern Christianity? Would He have said, “Hey, I don’t have any problem with you borrowing a little religion here and there from the pagans. Want to weave their idols and gods into My religion? Go for it. Don’t worry about that silly commandment about idolatry and no other gods before Me. My God, Roman gods—no big deal.”

“Valentine’s and WWJD”—what would Jesus do? That’s pretty clear. The real question is “Valentine’s and WWYD”—what will you do?”  From:


3 Romantic Alternatives to Valentine’s Day

3 Romantic Alternatives to Valentine’s Day“As Valentine’s Day draws near, many will celebrate romantic love. But what about true love? Here are three ways to escape the superficiality of Valentine’s Day.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, millions of people have already made plans for romantic getaways, ordered flowers or chocolates and started writing valentines. For the holiday that is supposed to epitomize romantic love, it is very materially based and commercialized.

Can a married couple express true love in better ways than heart-shaped chocolates and bland, poorly worded cards? You bet!

Origins of Valentine’s Day

Where does real romance that is related to true love come from? A solid, healthy relationship. The old adage of “we could talk for hours” should still be one of the most romantic things to us.Before we discuss the meaningful alternatives to Valentine’s Day, consider why we should seek alternatives in the first place. Valentine’s Day is based on a very bizarre, ancient fertility festival called the Lupercalia. This festival was celebrated in mid-February in ancient Rome. The ancient Romans would sacrifice an animal on the Lupercalia and then use the hides to whip females in order to supposedly increase their fertility.

Another component of the festival was matchmaking. Males and females would be paired up at Lupercalia by a lottery and then would remain partners for either the duration of the festival or for a year.

The Roman church later replaced the Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day in honor of a martyr named Valentine. But the popular celebration maintained the romantic and sensual elements of the pagan festival.

The fact that Cupid, a Roman god of love, is associated with this day is even more proof of its deep roots in ancient Roman paganism.


Marriage is a beautiful institution created by God, and there are much better ways to build and celebrate it than a celebration like Valentine’s Day!

Here are a few ideas to celebrate your love for your spouse—without doing it on Valentine’s Day!

1. Get romantic at unexpected times.”

Continued at:



When the back seats where taken out of my van, we covered the rear of the van and the seat tracks with a piece of carpet which we cut to fit.  It had become grubby, so Zack and I took it out and shampooed it, and gave the van a good vacuum. On Tuesday I went with another neighbor, Hans, to the Y and did yoga and senior exercises again.  Yoga doesn’t look strenuous, but you know you have done it! 

Another day, Zack and I sanded down a table top and a few other things, we didn’t get them finished though.  On Friday, Jay came to work and we put some of the siding on the outside wall of the mini-house which is inside the attached greenhouse.  We have had several nights when it went below freezing, so I am glad that I could put my potted aloe vera plants in there.  For the several hundred aloe plants that are planted outside we tried something new this year, we covered them with the endless supply of pine needles instead of cloths.  So far they have fared well.

Then we had another old spell. I didn’t make anything for the church potluck this week as something went wrong with my oven and also I just couldn’t get warm.  On Friday, it was fine while I was working outside, but when I came back indoors I just felt like I was freezing.  A hot shower and an electric blanket fixed that.  My temperature is always below normal, so I really feel the cold, that is why I left England and Washington State.

Then, my desktop computer went crazy and so I had to drag out this laptop. I don’t like the wide narrow screen so you have to scroll all the time. I can see a whole page on my desktop’s monitor. My van is fixed, but now the oven and computer don’t work. It’s always something.

The Bible readings where Gen. 43:15-44:17. Jer. 42:12-17, 43:12-13, Mat. 6:19-24 and all of Mat. 5. The Teaching was about “Messiah, Our Advocate.”  It was so cold that I was wearing two jackets and three warm shirts to make it through the day.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Are You Ready for Some Football?! Lessons From the NFL Bounty Scandal. Update

For “Scripture Sunday”:

Are You Ready for Some Football?!

“Any success worth having requires hard work and dedication.

Fall is in the air, and in the United States that means it is football season. At the start of every Monday Night Football game fans are familiar with the question, “Are you ready for some football?!”
Non-American readers, I beg your indulgence because my point will also apply to what you call football and to other sports as well.
American football
American football passed baseball as America’s pastime long ago. For better or for worse it is part of the national culture. During the autumn, stadiums and couches will be full of spectators rooting for their team. Fans will wear their team colors, fly their flags and agonize over each play.

I have to confess. I am included.
Football, though, is just a game with no long-term value. Which team wins or loses has no lasting importance. It is just entertainment, but since many of us watch football, we might as well learn something from it.
Advice from a famous coach
Legendary Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi said, “Football is like life—it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.”

Vince Lombardi was right. Look at teams that have sustained success. Any successful team at any level will show those characteristics.
Teams have to persevere through challenges during the season. Players keep themselves in peak physical condition through training, which demands dedication, hard work and self-denial. Successful teams buy into the coach’s vision and respect his authority.

Those same traits will serve us well in life. We have to persevere though the challenges we face. A truly successful life requires moderation and self-denial.
Any success worth having requires hard work and dedication.
And what about respect for authority? We won’t fulfill our ultimate potential if we are constantly at odds with authority figures.
Sports lesson from Scripture?
Did you know that much of Vince Lombardi’s formula for success is found summed up in the Bible?
The apostle Paul wrote about a sporting event that he must have watched. He spoke of running in a race and competing for a crown. He stated that to compete for that prize, the contestants had to go into strict training. He also said he disciplined his body and kept it under subjection. You can read his famous words in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
Watch and learn
Paul wasn’t a professional boxer or runner. He was using the Isthmian Games that took place near the ancient Greek city of Corinth as an analogy to life. These games were similar to our Olympic games. Foot races, boxing and wrestling were just some of the events in the games. It was the great sporting event of that time. The Isthmian Games were as familiar to people then as football is to us now. It was as if Paul had said, “Football is like life.”
Paul told us to live life as if we were in training for a great event with a valuable prize for the winners. Winners at the Isthmian Games would get crowns of leaves, but Paul said he was competing for a crown much more valuable. It wouldn’t decay like leaves but would remain forever.
As we watch our football this season, let’s keep in mind that it is only a game, but one that teaches us some lessons. For another lesson on the value of sports, read “Creating Winning Habits.”  This brings us back to our original question:
Are you ready for some football?!”  

Lessons From the NFL Bounty Scandal

“Scandal has again hit the world of professional sports. This controversy displays a moral failure in the way we as a society approach competition. Is there a better way of sportsmanship available to us?

This scandal that surfaced in professional sports was the discovery of a bounty program instigated by former New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams during the 2009-2011 football seasons. His plan offered financial incentives to defensive players for purposely injuring opposing players seriously enough to take them out of the game. Ironically, the guilty team’s name is the Saints. Such conduct is obviously anything but saintly in character! In fact it is also contrary to league policy and recent emphasis on reducing player injuries.

Hefty fines and multigame suspensions are the normal punishment for this type of behavior. However, this does not address the root problem—the overemphasis on winning that leads many to resort to inhumane, unethical and unhealthy conduct.
Sports controversy—Winning is not all that matters
The infamous quote attributed to former NFL coach Vince Lombardi, “Winning isn’t everything; it is the only thing,” may in fact be a misquote; but it is certainly a valid assessment of the common mindset of spectators and participants in professional sports. The fact is that winning is where the money is. So the equally famous quote of sports journalist Grantland Rice that “it’s not that you won or lost but how you played the game,” is little more than a noble sentiment that few take seriously.

However, I know from personal experience that playing by the rules, including the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31), is actually more enjoyable and much safer without sacrificing the quality or the excitement of the game. I learned this while playing on the basketball team of the Christian college that I attended.
Kind competition is more rewarding
We were taught that basketball is supposed to be a non-contact sport (something you certainly don’t see in the NBA with nearly as much bumping and shoving as opposing lineman in a football game). We were told to never try to block a fast break layup because of the danger of serious injury. Players and spectators were also expected to show good sportsmanship, including complimenting or applauding a player on the other team for making a good play, and remaining respectfully silent when a player on the other team is shooting free throws. In fact the gym would often become so silent as to be intimidating.

Players also learned the importance of playing by the rules, including the lessons of life that sports should teach. Theoretically, there should never be such a thing as a “good foul,” because that suggests that it can be rewarding to violate the rules—a tragic fallacy with potentially serious consequences in life outside of sports if applied to the laws of God or man. So our league even changed some rules to eliminate any advantage of violations.
We played to win, but winning was not our highest priority. We understood the higher purpose of sports to be building character. Sadly, sports programs today often reward characters rather than character; although many teams have had to learn that talent without character can be detrimental to the team and result in losing games.
God’s way works—Even in sports
Competition is exciting to both participants and spectators, which I also know from personal experience. However, the problem with competition is that for every winner there is at least one loser. And the difference between the ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat is often measured by inches or fractions of a second.
Mankind has to learn that cooperation offers a far better way of life than competition, because cooperation is based on a win/win philosophy where everyone wins. Realistically, most will never learn that in this life, because the current overemphasis on winning is rooted in self-serving human nature.
However, God has a winning plan for all mankind that will be ushered in after the return of Jesus Christ to establish the Kingdom of God on earth—a time of peace and prosperity, health and happiness, and wholesome entertainment and recreation for all. Human nature will be changed from the hostile, self-centered approach to a mindset and commitment to love and service, resulting in a safe zone of cooperation, mutual support and edification. Sound too good to be true? Maybe in today’s world, but that is exactly what God has planned for the future, and is embodied in the message of the gospel. I invite you to read our free booklet, The Gospel of the Kingdom to learn more about this wonderful time, and how you can enjoy some of these benefits today.”  From:
On Sunday, I went to the Olde Security Flea market with my friend Don, who has a lot of things for sale in the storage place next to my subdivision.  (Looked for you DD, and your wife, but didn’t spot you.) Don was trying to get rid of a lot of small stuff that hadn’t sold at the storage place yard sale, so we set up a $1 table.  The other table had the more expensive things.  Half way we reduced it to 50% off, and things flew off the tables.  It took a lot less time to load the trailer when we left!
The next day Zack and I got all my metal and aluminum scrap out to the front yard. Don picked me up and we loaded it, with his scrap, on the trailer and sold it all to the scrap yard.  Now that’s out of the way.
Wednesday, Jay and I went into Conroe, but the van died there.  The grounding system just went out completely.  It was towed to a nearby repair facility and I came home van-less.  The next day Hans took me to the Y again, and we did the yoga and senior exercises.  This time we ate free sandwiches there and listened to a spiel about hospice and healthcare

Finally, on Friday, my van was fixed, so I am in debt on my credit card even more!  It is hard on my little bit of pension when these unexpected expenses happen.  I had plenty of potatoes, so I made Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes, and took an 18” round chocolate chip cookie stuffed with sickly sweet frosting, that I had been given.  So on Saturday, it’s plastic container was enormous and it took a special trip to get it to the van to take it to the church potluck.

The Bible readings were Gen. 42:1-43:15, Isa. 50:10-52:12, Rev. 21:9-27 and all of Matt. 4.  The teaching was about the Trials and Tribulations of those who suffered through persecution, a lot of this from the book of 1 Peter.

The thermostat in the church heating system is haywire, and it is either too hot or cold, but weather was warmer, so it was a nice day.