I’m getting a head start and wishing everyone a prosperous and happy new year!
I pray that the happiness of the season bring you blessings of great joy, for this is the time we remember the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. May the Spirit be with you during this time of celebration.
Here is an interesting article from the Washington Post. It shall be interesting in the next five years to see what impact the testing has had on critical thinking skills of our students.,
It has been a strange week indeed. We’ve been struggling with phone service through Sprint for several weeks. It’s very strange that some folks are having no problems and others are shaking their heads. The Sprint rep I spoke with said they decided to take all their towers down at the same time in this area for upgrades, never giving any thought about bringing in portable ones like they do in other places. The extension is always next Saturday each time I call a technician after getting lost in voice mail eternity for a while.
Then this past week, the cable modem went nuts as did the televisions coincidentally right after we are all forced into another cable box installation for each television. Given the amount of wait time on the phone, I would guess they were getting a lot of calls and their automated voice system actually beats out Sprint’s for the most annoying one of all. They came out and put in a new modem today and it lasted about 6 hours and we are back on the phone trying to get it fixed and then my cell phone crapped out too…no service. For a while it was kind of nice. The phone didn’t work, TXT didn’t work and the cable system was down so no phone, no Internet no TV. We just got to sit and relax.
Thanks techno bugs.
The link to the article in Christianity Today
Discusses the concern over “In Christ Alone” a song that has been sung in a number of Presbyterian churches that I have attended is not “theologically sound” because of the words “wrath of God.” I’m of the mind that God is a god of compassion and love but God also abhors evil and sin. When Christ died on the cross, he gained victory over sin and that includes evil. God’s wrath as portrayed in the song is not so much directed at our salvation, rather it is that through Christ, we have been redeemed.
I’m not sure why the committee at the GA PCUSA doesn’t understand that. I got it out of their own Book of Confessions.
Watching the news has become a real chore: what with all the confrontations, opposition and polarization to just about anything. It appears to this writer that there is more effort expended to challenge and oppose everything in the name of partisanship than there is to collaborate and try to work together. I am reminded of one of the many encounters Jesus had with the Pharisees. The Pharisees were the ruling politicians in social circles at the time, the powerful elite, and they always made a big deal of wearing their spirituality on their sleeve and later, they would hide out in the temple at night to play the 5th Century version of playing poker at the country club on Friday nights, stealing from the temple treasury of which they were entrusted, taking care of their own interests and those of their good friends …and the homeless, the needy and those spiritually lost were left with nothing. Not much has changed in the last 2000 years. I would suggest that the Pharisees’ tactics of isolating and polarizing the masses was to their benefit to maintain their status as leaders of the church and the community and subsequently, to keep themselves rich, fat and happy.
Into this good ‘ole boys’ club entered Jesus. In Luke, Chapter 13, we find Jesus being confronted with a question involving the slaughter of a group of Galileans because they messed up a sacrifice. The question was this: Were those killed worse sinners than others? Jesus, according to the Scripture responded by “strongly repudiating common belief” of the idea that God controls every event. Those asking the question thought anyone who was reverent and presented an outward appearance of “holiness” was protected by God. No harm could come to them. Jesus rebuked them saying God allows us free will and anyone can die. The difference, Jesus said, is that those who repent and truly believe in God will not perish but have everlasting life.
“Perish” or “Death” what’s the difference? So much meaning is built into the syntax of these words. Death is the end of all life for a non-believer. For a believer, it is only an earthly departure to a joyful reunion with God. The blood of Jesus Christ washed away the sins of the world. What those pompous Pharisees could not see through their own self-absorbed power fixation was that no intermediary is needed in our relationship with God. Jesus is our guide to our redemption and our eternal life. Through Christ, we will never perish so long as we repent and believe in Him.
Redemption may not protect one from death but it ensures eternal life with God. The Pharisees might as well find something else to do– maybe they can sell the Brooklyn Bridge or some swamp land in Florida. Their gig was up. The distressing truth is that those annoying Pharisees are still around. We don’t call them Pharisees anymore but their self-serving, power-grabbing legacy still exists. One need only attend a public meeting, watch the news or other program on TV or watch the actions of some of our public officials to see that Jesus’ words still fall on deaf ears. At a time when we should be helping those who have nothing, they are brushed aside for icons and façades memorializing the importance of the Pharisees. But out of the dismal ashes of despair there is hope!
This writer believes there is an inherent desire to seek God. One can deny, one can try to run away or one can curse God but God’s love is so much greater than any earthly power. At a time when it seems like the world is not a very nice place to live, we can share the story of redemption and eternal life. Psalm 63:1-8 (ESV) says: “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
Take time to reflect on the sacrifice that God made for us. Rejoice that all we need do is ask forgiveness and believe in Jesus Christ. Renew your promise to be part of Christ’s ministry and through the help of the Holy Spirit, live a life pleasing to God.
Dear Microsoft. I tried to update my Skype today and it forced me into windows 8 shopper which promptly asked for a Microsoft account number which I refuse to create. So it appears that I cannot update or purchase anything without using a microsoft account so guess what. I’m moving to Linux and trashing all my Microsoft products, and going to open office. I will be encouraging everyone else to do so and also I’m writing a letter using open office by the way, to the justice department complaining about you cruddy business practices. Have a nice day. NOT
I find it terribly disheartening that President Obama cannot pull himself away from Africa to return to the United States to pay respect to the 19 firefighters who died fighting fires in Arizona to protect those who live there.
Repeatedly this president refuses to recognize the sacrifices of our military and public safety officers in a time of tragedy. He is willing to do so when other elected officials are killed or injured or at situations that provide a good photo opportunity.
Part of a good leader’s ability to lead is to understand and empathize with those in which they share a common interest in the public good. If the President was engaged in serious negotiations for a peace proposal or ending a war, his absence in this country might be forgivable.
It is ironic that at the very time we are preparing to celebrate July 4th, the birth of our nation, our president is again playing apologist to other countries…many of whom are admittedly anti-American.
It is time for you to come home Mr. President!
Ruth and I spent the better part of the evening with the vacation Bible school folks today (Sunday). We had a great time and the adult session provided some stimulating discussion and good fellowship.
I certainly appreciate all the folks from the four churches who have volunteered to make the VBS a great success.