All Hallows Eve|Is Bible True? [v8]

NOVEMBER 1999

GREETINGS — We had wonderful weather here in Michigan for the little ‘trick-or-treaters’ to enjoy dressing up as ‘someone’ else and running from house to house to get a free surprise—it’s great for kids (like me) to be able to ‘fantasize’ and enjoy creative make-believe if they know what the real intent and importance of the tradition is.

This tradition has gone through many changes from the probable origins of the celebration from the Celtic Festival circa 800 BC. It was a celebration  dedicated to the recently completed harvest, and marked the beginning of the season of cold, darkness, and decay. They went door-to-door to collect food to donate to their gods. It honored “Samhain.” the Celtic god of death that allowed the souls of the dead to return to their earthly homes for this evening. It was a fire festival, with the townspeople taking an ember from the bonfire to their home to light the fire of their family hearth. It was usually carried in a turnip or gourd. Nervous about walking home in the dark among the “evil spirits,” they dressed up in costumes and carved scary faces in their ember holders to frighten away the spirits.

After the fall of the Celts to the Romans, two of the Roman autumn festivals were combined with the festival of Samhain. Many of these customs survived even after the people became Christians. In the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV created “All Saints Day,” since there were not enough days in the year to recognize the saints. It was originally called “All Hallows’ Eve,” which means “the evening before the saints day.” This is the tradition the Roman Catholics still celebrate today.

During the 1800’s a large number of immigrants arrived from Ireland and Scotland and introduced their ‘non-religious’ customs. During the mid-1900’s trick-or-treating became less popular in large cities, where neighbors did not know each other. Halloween pranks, which had once been harmless, now became rowdy and destructive. Recently, commercialism and “satanism” has turned it into a ‘holiday’ a long way from its ‘roots.’

Blessings….
Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v8) for NOVEMBER 1999
(NOTE: Please send your ‘thoughts’ to me at: mbesh@ameritech.net)

I hope you can find the time to ponder these ‘thoughts’…some of them have ‘sobered’ and deeply affected me…

Thank you’s to:

Richard Bachman
Bob Hart
Michelle Jones
Lezlie Besh
Terry Besh Longo
Gail Lutey
Joe Olson
Bonnie Stephens
John Waskin

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TRUTHS ABOUT CHILDHOOD

1. There is no such thing as childproofing your house.
2. If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over
them with roller blades, they can ignite.
3. A 4-year-old’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a
crowded restaurant.
4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor
is not strong enough to rotate a 42-pound boy wearing
pound puppy underwear and a Superman cape.
5. It is strong enough, however, to spread paint on all
four walls of a 20×20′ room.
6. Baseballs make marks on ceilings.
7. When using the ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw
the ball up several times before you get a hit.
8. You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on.
9. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.
10. The glass in windows (even double pane) doesn’t stop a
baseball hit by a ceiling fan.
11. When you hear the toilet flush and the words “uh-oh”,
it is already too late.
12.  Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke—lots of it.
13.  A 6 year-old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even
though a 60-year-old man says it can only be done in the movies.
14.  A magnifying glass can start a fire even on an overcast day.
15.  If you use a waterbed as a home plate while wearing
baseball shoes, it does not leak, it explodes.
16.  A king-size waterbed holds enough water to fill a
2,000 sq. ft house almost 4 inches deep.
17.  LEGOs will pass through the digestive tract of a 4-year-old.
18.  Duplos will not.
19.  Play-Doh and microwave ovens should never be used in the
same sentence.
20.  Super Glue is forever.
21.  MacGyver can teach us many things we don’t want to know.
22.  So can Tarzan.
23.  No matter how much Jell-O you put in the pool, you still
can’t  walk on water.
24.  Pool filters do not like Jell-O.
25.  VCRs do not eject PB&J sandwiches, even though TV
commercials show they do.
26.  Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.
27.  Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.
28.  You probably don’t want to know what that odor is.
29.  Always look in the oven before you turn it on.
30.  Plastic toys do not like ovens.
31.  The fire department in San Diego has at least a 5-minute
response.
32.  The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make
earthworms dizzy.
33.  It will, however, make cats dizzy.
34.  Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.
35.  A good sense of humor will get you through most problems in life.

– A San Diego father –

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WHAT IN THE WORLD DID YOU DO TODAY?
Submitted by Laura Jan Kirkley

One afternoon a man came home from work to find total mayhem in his house. His three children were outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife’s car was open, as was the front door to the house.

Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes,  looking for his wife. He was worried she may be ill, or that something serious had happened. He found her lounging in the bedroom, still curled in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went.

He looked at her bewildered and asked, “What happened here today?”

She again smiled and answered, “You know every day when you come home from work and ask me what in the world I did today?”

“Yes” was his incredulous reply.

She answered, “Well, today I didn’t do it.”

Author Unknown

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IS THE BIBLE TRUE?
BreakPoint Commentary #91027 – 10/27/1999
Written In Stone: Archeology & The Bible
by Charles Colson

Walking past a newsstand this week, your eye may be caught by a dramatic painting of Adam and Eve on the cover of U.S. News and World Report.  Alongside the two figures, the title of the cover story asks, “Is the Bible True?”

Flip open the magazine and you’ll find that the answer is a confident “yes!”  U.S. News has summarized exciting new archeological evidence that confirms the historicity of the Bible.

For example, a few years ago, a group of archeologists found an Assyrian stone tablet in Northern Israel dating from the ninth century B.C.  The Aramaic inscription listed Assyria’s foes. Included in the list were the words “king of Israel” and “house of David.”

The significance of these findings is that they toppled years of archeological skepticism. Many archeologists have long questioned the historical accuracy of the Bible, maintaining that there was no such person as King David. They pointed to the lack of any reference outside the Bible to David in the archeological remains from Assyria, Egypt, or Babylon. They argued that David’s name, a Semitic word meaning “beloved,” was evidence that biblical writers created a legendary king to create a glorious past for Israel. But now archeology has given proof that King David was an historical figure after all–exactly as the Bible teaches.

This latest discovery isn’t the first time the evidence has confounded the skeptics. For instance, Kenneth Kitchen, an Egyptologist at the University of London, told U.S. News that documents recently discovered in Syria confirm the amount of money Joseph’s brothers received when they sold him into slavery. According to the book of Genesis, it was twenty silver shekels. In later centuries, the price typically paid for slaves in Israel was  ninety to one hundred shekels.   If the biblical account was made up later, as skeptics have argued, then the authors would have picked a sum much closer to the going rate at the time.

Archeological discoveries also help document the veracity of Testament texts. For example, scholars have long doubted gospel accounts of Jesus’ burial. They maintained that the Romans simply tossed crucified bodies into a common grave or left them to be scavenged by wild animals. But archeologists recently discovered the remains of a crucified man, a contemporary of Jesus, buried in a family grave. These remains suggest that the Romans did allow for the kind of burial described in the gospels.

Why are secular scholars constantly being refuted?  The answer is that they approach scripture from a naturalistic perspective that discounts any document that speaks of the SUPERnatural.  Since the Bible records miracles as though they really happened, the Bible is simply discounted out of hand.  Scripture is reduced to stories that merely illustrate theological points, while containing little that is historically accurate.

But, as the U.S. News article illustrates, this distinction is crumbling under the weight of empirical evidence.

The latest archeological news is an exciting reminder that Christians have nothing to fear from scientific inquiry.  In fact, we welcome it.

The next time you hear Christianity characterized as an ancient legend, be prepared to describe the exciting evidence unearthed by archaeology. To answer the question on the cover of U.S. News–yes, the Bible is really true.

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THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Let’s face it-English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through annals of history but not a single annal? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn’t preacher praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and wise guy are
opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another. Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm clock goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn’t a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.

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SOUL FOOD

Last week I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, “God is good. God is great. Thank You for the food, and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all. Amen!”

Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, I heard a woman remark, “That’s what’s wrong with this country. Kids today don’t even know how to pray. Asking God for ice-cream. Why, I never!”

Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, “Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?”

As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table.

He winked at my son and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer.”

“Really?” my son asked.

“Cross my heart.” Then in a theatrical whisper he added, indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing, “Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.”

Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at his for a moment and then did something I will remember the rest of my life. He picked up his sundae and without a word walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, “Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes, and my soul is good already.”

Author Unknown

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FROM ENTERTAINMENT SCREEN TO NEWSREEL…
THE VIOLENT ENTERTAINMENT CONNECTION

“Mamma, when ‘Power Rangers’ comes on at the center we have to turn it off.”  This was the comment of my college daughter who works at a children’s enrichment center summers and holidays. The children become so rambunctious when this show airs that, to manage their behavior, they must not allow the show to run.  How does the violence in this children’s action show translate into aggressive behavior in its viewers?

In recent years, when we have received the shocking news of our children killing children, the incidence of violence in the media and violent video games has come under attack.  More often than not these children have been enacting some violence they have seen portrayed on the movie screen or they have been heavily involved in playing violent video games.  Again we ask, “How does this happen?”

To begin examining this connection, it might be helpful to find a way to categorize the different degrees of influence on decision-making. A continuum can be helpful in determining this influence.  On either end of the continuum, we can place the immovables.  On one end of the continuum would be the children who are going to choose violence whether they are influenced by media and games or not.  These children are considered immovable.  Then on the other end of the continuum is another set of immovables.  These are the children who would never commit any act of violence based upon the influence of the media or video games.  But then in the middle of the continuum are the children who are considered to be the movables.  These are children who might be influenced by the violence in the media or violent video games. This answers the anecdotal comment, “Well my son played those games every day from the time he was nine until he was fifteen and he never considered violence.”  That may very well be, but he would have been placed on the end of the continuum  with the immovables who would not be influenced by video games.

Because of the extreme violence we have seen our children commit, many have looked at research to see if there is a connection between the violence in media and games and the violence committed by these children. Some research has been around for a very long time and other research is emerging.

Researchers have known for several years that there was a connection between the violence viewed on television by a husband and the number of aggressive acts he committed toward his wife.  In one particular study husbands who viewed a violent program were significantly more aggressive toward their wives than the control group who did not view this violent programming.  Certainly, such viewing would likely have a similar effect on children.

One explanation of this connection is a process called systematic desensitization.  This approach is used to help individuals overcome phobias and irrational fears.  They are exposed systematically to the distressing stimulus. As they become comfortable with a mild level of exposure, then a higher level of exposure is provided, until they lose their overactive response.  As children view these disturbing scenes over and over, they lose the natural response of aversion.  They no longer have that effect on them.  They have moved a little bit closer to repeating the  behaviors.

Mental rehearsal is another process which can help explain the connection, particularly between violent video games and aggressive behavior.  Mental rehearsal is usually done through imagery, in which the subject takes himself through a behavior in his mind that he wants to develop.  Athletes and performing artists are using mental rehearsal to prepare for events that cannot be easily simulated for in practice.  How much more effective might be the practice in the mind when a child is sitting and acting his way  through a video game. Studies have shown a child’s heart rate and blood pressure increase while playing a series of video games.

Though there are many other factors which contribute to these “high risk kids without a conscience,” we cannot deny the influence of the violence we experience through the video games and media.  When we observe children spending large amounts of time with any form of violence, we have to wonder if some of these processes are not at work.

by Mikal Frazier, LMFT, LPC
[aaf@allaboutfamilies.org]

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THE CONDENSED BIBLE

God made
Adam bit
Noah arked
Abraham split
Joseph ruled
Jacob fooled
Bush talked
Moses balked
Pharaoh plagued
People walked
Sea divided
Tablets guided
Promise landed
Saul freaked
David peeked
Prophets warned
Jesus born
God walked
Love talked
Anger crucified
Hope died
Love rose
Spirit flamed
Word spread
God remained.

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BreakPoint Commentary #90929 – 9/29/1999
Putting His Money Where His Mom Is: Peter Singer’s Hypocrisy
by Charles Colson

There’s nothing secular elites enjoy more than calling Christians “hypocrites.” They delight in pointing fingers at Christians whose conduct doesn’t quite measure up to what they profess to believe.

Well, recently the tables were turned when a well-known secularist was caught failing to live up to HIS beliefs–and thank God for that.

Peter Singer is a professor of ethics at Princeton, and he’s the quintessential moral utilitarian. Singer believes that an action’s morality cannot be judged
by any transcendent standard.  Instead, he suggests we ask whether a particular action will increase the sum total of happiness in the world.

For example, as George Will commented about Singer, “Should one spend a sum to ease the suffering of a family member or send the same sum to
ease the sufferings of 10 Sudanese?”  Singer’s answer would be to send the money to Sudan, because doing so would increase the world’s total amount of happiness.  He also argues for allowing parents to kill their handicapped newborns, and favors euthanasia for the sick and the elderly–people who can no longer enjoy their lives and who create a burden on others.

But Singer’s beliefs were put to the test when his own mother became sick with Alzheimer’s. You will be relieved to know that, instead of starving
his mother to death and thus increasing the world’s supply of happiness, Singer is behaving hypocritically. He spends thousands of dollars providing his mother with nursing home care.

Singer sheepishly acknowledges the hypocrisy of his actions. “It’s not the best use you could make of my money, that’s true,” he admits. But he then
rationalizes his inconsistency:  “It does provide employment for a number of people who find something worthwhile in what they’re doing,” he says.

Hogwash.  A better explanation is that Peter Singer the son trumps Peter Singer the philosopher.

Christians should rejoice at Singer’s inconsistency, and not only because taking care of his mother is the right thing to do. The case demonstrates how unworkable secular humanist ideas about human life really are.

It’s one thing to engage in intellectual parlor games within the safe confines of the academy. In that setting, denying the sanctity of human life or the
existence of moral absolutes has little, if any, impact on people’s lives.

But in the real world, it means the difference between life and death.  The last thing people like Singer want is for people to act in accordance with
their principles when it affects someone they care about.

The truth of any worldview is authenticated by how well it depicts reality.  By doing the right thing by his mother, Singer himself has
demonstrated that his philosophy does not produce a rational and just society.   He would be hard pressed to cite a single example of a
healthy, vibrant society that believes that there isn’t anything special about human life. As Singer himself demonstrates, this belief produces societies
that no one would want to live in–not even him.

In short, Singer’s worldview flunks the reality test.

So if you come across someone who tells you there’s nothing special about human life, ask him which Peter Singer they hope their kids emulate when they’re old and frail: Peter Singer the avant garde philosopher, or Peter Singer the hypocrite.

The one who admits, “It is different when it’s your mother.”

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THE INTERVIEW

I dreamed I had an interview with God.
“Come in,” God said. “So, you would like to interview Me?”
“If you have the time,” I said.
God smiled and said: “My time is eternity and is enough to do everything; what questions do you have in mind to ask me?”

“What surprises you most about mankind?” God answered: “That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again. That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health. That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future. That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived…”

God’s hands took mine and we were silent for a while and then I asked…”As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?” God replied with a smile: “To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved. To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives. To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. All will be judged individually on their own merits, not as a group on a comparison basis! To learn that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least. To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them. To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness. To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings. To learn that money can buy everything but happiness. To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it totally different. To learn that a true friend is someone who knows everything about them…and likes them anyway. To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they have to forgive themselves.”

I sat there for a while enjoying the moment. I thanked Him for his time and for all that He has done for me and my family, and He replied, “Anytime. I’m here 24 hours a day. All you have to do is ask for me, and I’ll answer.”

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

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BreakPoint Commentary #90928 – 9/28/1999
Indestructible Power: Wedgwood Witness
by Charles Colson
(breakpoint.org)

What happened at Wedgwood Baptist church in Fort Worth shocked the whole nation. The tragic loss of life leaves many wondering: What good can possibly come of this?

In the aftermath of the murders, one answer has emerged: As with the Columbine slaughter, this latest massacre is giving Americans a chance to see the difference that faith in Christ can make.

We saw a glimpse of that difference in news accounts of those terrible few minutes inside the church. According to the New York Times, when Ashbrook began shooting, everyone in the church dove under the pews.
Everyone, that is, except Heather McDonald. McDonald has Down’s Syndrome and didn’t understand what was happening.

Fortunately for her, Mary Beth Talley, one of the youth group members, did. Talley shielded McDonald with her own body, literally taking a bullet for her. Even after being shot, Talley continued to comfort McDonald.

After the shootings, reporters descended on Fort Worth, all of them asking the same question: How do Christians respond to tragedy? Are they serious about forgiveness and hope?

National Public Radio’s Wade Goodman interviewed survivors and other church members. Instead of cursing Ashbrook, members expressed sorrow that they had not done enough to reach out to a troubled man. Church member Dan Gill told reporters that “[Jesus] died for the man who pulled the trigger, too.”

Stephanie Jones, the mother of Susan Jones, a seminarian killed in the shootings, said “We are not angry, and we have peace that God is in control.”

Jones’ sentiments were echoed by Kathy Jo Brown, who lost her husband, Shawn. She told the New York Times that “Shawn ran the race victoriously, all the way to God’s arms.”

Perhaps the most remarkable story involves shooting victim Sydney Browning. Browning taught at an alternative high school for troubled teenagers. As a friend of hers told National Public Radio, shortly
after the Columbine shootings, she and Browning had discussed what they would do under similar circumstances. Browning told her that if someone
had to be shot, she hoped it would be her, because she knew she was saved–something she couldn’t say about her students.

These responses to such a horrific tragedy highlight, as nothing else can, the difference between the Church and the unbelieving world.

That difference is, of course, faith in Jesus Christ. People like Sydney Browning and Mary Beth Talley weren’t afraid because they knew Who was in control.They knew that, as Martin Luther wrote in his great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress,” although “the body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still.”

The early Church had a saying: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” The example set by early Christians in death and suffering was the
greatest witness to the “truth which is in Jesus.”Now, when our neighbors ask us why we believe, we have our own example of the power of an
indestructible life: the martyrs at Columbine and now these young people of Wedgwood Baptist.

And if this example leads people to faith in Christ, then the world will once again see that God can and does bring good out of unspeakable evil.

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A lady walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer. She says she is going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000. The bank officer says the bank will need some kind of security for such a loan, so she hands over the keys to a new Rolls Royce parked on the street in front of the bank. Everything checks out, and the bank agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan. An employee drives the Rolls into the bank’s underground garage and parks it there.

Two weeks later, she returns, repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41. The loan officer says, “We are very happy to have
had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but
we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and
found that you are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us is why would you
bother to borrow $5,000?”

She replied, “Where else in New York can I park my car for two weeks for 15 bucks?”

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EMERGENCY CALL NUMBERS

When in sorrow, ……………………… call John 14.
When men fail you, ………………….. call Psalm 27.
If you want to be fruitful, ………….. call John 15.
When you have sinned, ……………… call Psalm 51.
When you worry, …………………….. call Matthew 6:19-34.
When you are in danger, ……………. call Psalm 91.
When God seems far away, ………… call Psalm 139.
When your faith needs stirring, …… call Hebrews 11.
When you are lonely and fearful, …. call Psalm 23.
When you grow bitter and critical, .. call I Corinthians 13.
For Paul’s secret to happiness,.. …….call Colossians 3:12-17.
For understanding of Christianity, .. call II Corinthians 5:15-19.
When you feel down and out, ……… call Romans 8:31.
When you want peace and rest, ……. call Matthew 11:25-30.
When the world seems bigger than God, ……..call Psalm 90.
When you want Christian assurance, …………. call Romans 8:1-30.
When you leave home for labor or travel, ……call Psalm 121.
When your prayers grow narrow or selfish, . .call Psalm 67.
For a great invention/opportunity, ……………..call Isaiah 55.
When you want courage for a task, …………….call Joshua 1.
For how to get along with fellow men, ………..call Romans 12.
When you think of investments and returns,… call Mark 10.
If you are depressed, ………………… …….call Psalm 27.
If your pocketbook is empty, …………….. call Psalm 37.
If you are losing confidence in people, … call I Corinthians
If people seem unkind, ……………………. call John 15.
If discouraged about your work, ……….. call Psalm 126.
If you find the world growing small and yourself great,.. call Psalm 19.

Alternate numbers:
For dealing with fear, …………. call Psalm 34:7.
For security, …………………….. call Psalm 121:3.
For assurance, ………………….. call Mark 8:35.
For reassurance, ……………….. call Psalm 145:18.

Emergency numbers may be dialed direct. No operator assistance is necessary.

All lines to Heaven are open 24 hours a day! Feed your faith, and doubt will starve to death!  Pass it on !!

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THE FIRST ‘KIDS’

Whenever your kids are out of control, you can take comfort from the
thought that even God’s omnipotence was not valued by God’s kids.
After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve in His image and gave them ‘free will.’  He so lovingly provided everything they needed and had only one thing they could not do…

“Don’t what?” Adam asked.

“Don’t eat the Forbidden Fruit,”  God replied.

“Forbidden fruit?  We got Forbidden Fruit?  Hey, Eve…we got Forbidden Fruit!”

“No way!”  “NO WAY!”

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but don’t eat that fruit!”  said God.

“Why?”

“Because if you do so, you will surely die!” said God, wondering why he hadn’t stopped after making the elephants.

A few minutes later God saw the kids having an ‘apple break’ and was angry.

“Didn’t I tell you not to eat that fruit?” the ‘First Parent’ asked.

“Uh huh,”  Adam replied.

“Then why did you?”

“I dunno,” Eve answered.

“She started it!”  Adam said.

“Did not!”

“Did so!”

“DID NOT!”

Having had it with the two of them, one of God’s punishments was that Adam and Eve should have sinful children of their own…thus the pattern was set and it has never changed. But there is reassurance in this story.

If you have persistently and lovingly tried to give your kids wisdom
and they haven’t taken it, don’t be too hard on yourself. If our original parent had ‘trouble’ with them, what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for your kids—or even us, the parents….

What happens when there is a sign that says “Don’t touch,” — What is the first thing we do?!!

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BreakPoint Commentary #91020 – 10/20/1999
Digital Maps: Privacy in the Information Age
by Charles Colson
http://www.breakpoint.org

The Safeway grocery chain offers its customers big savings on everything from steak to dog food. All you have to do is present your “Savings Club” card at the checkout line.

Of course, in exchange for the savings, Safeway learns every detail of your shopping habits–a loss of privacy that’s increasingly characteristic of the Information Age.

We Americans voluntarily give up enormous amounts of information about ourselves–things like our names, social security numbers, and birth dates–to complete strangers.  Every time we use a credit card or write a check, we leave behind clues about who we are: our likes, dislikes–even
our weakness for Mrs. Field’s cookies. In the words of Alan Westin, president of the Center for Social and Legal Research, “your credit card is literally a map of your life.”

That information goes into enormous databases, where people will pay handsomely for a peek at every detour your life takes.

Most of these people just want to sell you something, and they use the information for marketing surveys. Then there are law enforcement agencies that use credit card records for good reasons–for example, to track down criminals or deadbeat dads.

But there’s a darker side to Information Age technology. Bryan Pfaffenberger, author of Protect Your Privacy on The Internet, says that “for $5 you can get anybody’s social security number, and for another $5, [you can] get all his residences for the past five years.” With this information you can gain access to someone’s credit card numbers. Your
medical records, salary, and investments–all are available for a price.

How did we become so vulnerable to invasions of our privacy? The answer is that Americans have embraced Information Age technology without stopping to ask how it will shape the culture.

In his book Technopoly, Neil Postman warns that every technology brings with it an ideology–a set of beliefs, a way of doing things, a shifting of priorities.  In the case of the Information Age, its name says it all. Its
enthusiasts believe that the efficient collection and manipulation of information is the key to prosperity.

Corporations and governments now digitize as many of their records as possible–records that contain intimate details of our lives.

In this rush to digitize, few people stopped to ask whether this was a good idea. Consequently, we have lost the ability to control who has access to our personal information.

What can we do about it? We can ask our legislators to erect barriers against this flood of free-flowing data. For example, after newspapers published Judge Robert Bork’s video rental list a few years ago, Congress made it a crime to release such information. If our video rental habits are  off-limits to snoops, the more intimate details of our lives should be also.

Christians know that sinful human nature needs the restraint of law to prevent abuses of power. That’s why we should get behind measures that would restrain those who can’t resist the urge to use the Internet to pry into the most private aspects of our lives.

You may not care that strangers know you love Mrs. Field’s cookies–but you should care that, at the click of a mouse, almost every detail of your private life is exposed to any stranger who wants it.

*****************************
MY RESIGNATION LETTER

Effective immediately I’m officially tendering my resignation as an
adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an
8 year old again. I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it’s a
four star restaurant. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle
and make ripples with rocks. I want to think M&Ms are better than
money because you can eat them.  I want to lie under a big oak
tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer’s
day. I want to return to a time when life was simple. When all you
knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but
that didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t
know and you didn’t care.  All you knew was to be happy because
you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you
worried or upset.  I want to think the world is fair That everyone is
honest and good. I want to believe that anything is possible. I want
to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by
the little things again.

I want to live simple again.

I don’t want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of
paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the
month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip,
illness, and loss of loved ones.  I want to believe in the power of
smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the
imagination, mankind, and making angels in the snow.

So….here’s my checkbook and my car-keys, my credit card bills
and my 401K statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood.
And if you want to discuss this further, you’ll have to catch me first,
cause, “Tag! You’re it.”

Hugs to all,

*****************************
DETECTIVE STORY

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip.  After a good meal they lay down for the night, and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”

Watson replied, “I see millions and millions of stars.”

“What does that tell you?” said Holmes

Watson pondered for a minute. “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?”

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke. “Watson, you really don’t get it, do you. Some ‘turkey’ has stolen our tent.”

*****************************
Four Engineers…

There are four engineers traveling in a car; a mechanical engineer, a
chemical engineer, an electrical engineer and a computer engineer.

The car breaks down.

“Sounds to me as if the pistons have seized. We’ll have to strip down the engine before we can get the car working again”, says the mechanical engineer.

“Well”, says the chemical engineer, “it sounded to me as if the fuel might be contaminated. I think we should clear out the fuel system.”

“I thought it might be an grounding problem”, says the electrical engineer, “or maybe a faulty plug lead.”

They all turn to the computer engineer who has said nothing and say:

“What do you think?”

“Well — perhaps if we all get out of the car and get back in again…”

*****************************
DOES YOUR ROOF LEAK?

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; …they shall not overflow you. —Isaiah 43:2

In a book written in 1696, I found these statements: “Sharp afflictions are to the soul as a soaking rain to the house. We know not there are such holes in the roof till the shower comes, and then we see it drop down here and there. Perhaps we did not know that there were such unmortified cuts in our soul till the storms of affliction came, then we found unbelief,
impatience, and fear dropping down in many places.”

How true! Affliction tests us and proves what sort of Christians we are. If there are defects in our spiritual armor, they will show up under the strain and pressure of trouble.

When the floodgates of distress are opened, it is then we echo with understanding the words of the psalmist, who exclaimed, “Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck” (Psalm 69:1). Yet we need not fear, for it is our loving Father who allows the waters to come, not to  drown us but to cleanse us and help us to see where our life needs repairing.

Have you been through a storm? Have you been disturbed, irritated, faithless, fearful, or rebellious? Consider that God may have put you
through this difficulty to reveal your spiritual needs. By prayer, faith, and yielding to the Holy Spirit, repair the “leaky roof.” —Henry G. Bosch

*****************************
GOLFER KILLED IN PLANE CRASH WAS A NEW BELIEVER
ORLANDO, FL (BP) — (Newspaper article)

Payne Stewart, the world’s eighth-ranked professional golfer who was killed with five others in the crash of a small jet Oct. 25, was a member of First Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla., who, by numerous accounts, had undergone a spiritual renewal in the past year.

Stewart, 42, won the U.S. Open on Father’s Day in June — on the final hole, sinking the longest putt ever to decide the event in its 105-year history, a clutch 15-footer — and was a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team which staged a remarkable comeback for a win over the European team in September. Stewart also had won the U.S. Open in 1991 and the PGA Championship in 1989 during a professional career, distinguished also by his knickers and tam-o’-shanter cap, that began in 1979.

“At the presentation of the coveted U.S. Open trophy, Payne revealed his trust in God and appreciation to God for helping him finish strong,” recount Jim Sheard and Wally Armstrong in an upcoming book, “Finishing the Course: Strategies for the Back Nine of Your Life,” in a section Stewart had approved for publication the week before his death.

“For Payne Stewart, this was not some hackneyed cliché. It was a revelation of his newfound faith in Christ,” Sheard and Armstrong write. “In recent months, Payne has come to faith in Christ as his Savior. He now trusts God for the provision of his strength and for the needed balance in his life.

Stewart leaves a wife, Tracey, an Australian native, and two children, Chelsea, 13, and Aaron, 10. The children were in First Baptist’s Christian school, The First Academy, when the crash occurred around 1:15 p.m. Oct. 25.

The children were called from their classes about 15 minutes later. “They were pulled aside and told there was a problem with their dad’s plane,” Steve Smith, a First Baptist staff member told The Orlando Sentinel. “They were taken home and told at home.”

Stewart “was a wonderful Christian who had Christ in his life and somehow in his death,” Jim Henry, pastor of First Baptist, Orlando, and a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told the Associated Press. “That brought a great sense of peace to his family in a difficult and tragic time.”

Stewart’s charitable giving prompted a separate article in The Orlando Sentinel Oct. 26, recounting, for example, that he had given $500,000 to an arm of First Baptist, The First Foundation, less than two weeks before his death and had lent his name and energies to various charity golf tournaments, most recently for the Orlando Children’s Charities, which had received nearly $500,000 for the Boys & Girls Club and other children’s organizations in the past five years.

“Tracey and I and our kids have more than we deserve, that’s just the way it is,” Stewart had been quoted as saying. “So it’s not hard to give something back.”

Also killed in the Oct 25 crash of the chartered twin-engine Lear 35 carrying Stewart were his two sports agents, Robert Fraley, 46, and Van Ardan, 45, also known as committed Christians; Bruce Borland, 40, senior course designer for Golden Bear International, owned by golfing great Jack Nicklaus; and pilots Michael Kling, 43, and Stephanie Bellegarrigue, 27.

Fraley was CEO of Leader Enterprises Inc. and Ardan was president of the sports management company. Among Fraley’s clients were NFL coaches Bill Parcells, Bill Cowher and Dan Reeves, former NFL coach and NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs and New York Mets pitcher Orel Hershiser.

The jet was en route from Orlando to Dallas but a suspected malfunction in cabin pressure likely killed the occupants early in the flight. The plane flew 1,400 miles across half a dozen states in the nation’s midsection before running out of fuel and crashing in a grassy field in South Dakota.

Sports Illustrated took note of Stewart’s newfound faith in its U.S. Open coverage last June, recounting that Stewart had “turned to religion, embracing Christianity with the fervor of a prison convert.” He wore a “What Would Jesus Do?” WWJD bracelet during the tournament and began each day by reading a devotional book, the magazine reported.

“There used to be a void in my life,” Stewart told Sports Illustrated, which noted that his mother, Bee, formerly had described her outspoken son as “rude;” his wife had used the word, “arrogant;” and his caddie, “impatient and not very self-confident.”

“The peace I have now is so wonderful,” Stewart told Sports Illustrated. “I don’t understand how I lived so long without it.”

“Payne talks more with God now,” his mother recounted from Springfield, Mo., Stewart’s hometown. “He’s a different man, a better son.”

USA Today, in an Oct. 26 article about Stewart’s death, also noted that Stewart’s father died of cancer in 1984 and, when his good friend and fellow PGA competitor Paul Azinger was stricken with cancer in 1994, Steward reflected, “I started talking to Paul about it and saw that he had this unbelievable faith. That started me going in a more spiritual direction.”

*****************************
MESSAGE TO CONGRESS ABOUT COLUMBINE SHOOTING

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.

You’ve stripped away our heritage
you’ve outlawed simple prayer.

Now gunshots fill our classrooms
and precious children die.

You seek for answers everywhere
and ask the question why?

You regulate restrictive laws
through legislative creed.

And yet you fail to understand,
that God is what we need.

– Darrell Scott –

*****************************
ALL THAT I WANT

Consume me •
In Your mercy •
Purify my soul •
In the fire of Your holiness ••
Pursue me •
Rescue me •
Change this heart of stone •
For a heart of flesh ••
‘Til all that I want •
All I desire is You •
All that I need •
All that I require is You •
Consume me ••
Heal me •
Reveal me •
Open my eyes •
To see Your worthiness ••
I cannot live by bread alone •
But by Your every word •
You are the living water and •
I thirst

–Kim Hill, off her “Arms of Mercy ” Album
*****************************

Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with!

Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!
Mark

*****************************
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