The Season to ‘Reason’ [v142]

DECEMBER 2010

The Season to ‘Reason’

Being in the ‘ad biz’, I’m always interested on how companies promote their products and services.

Just last week I saw a new ‘series’ of ads from the car company, Acura—it’s about their holiday sales event that they are calling, “The Season of Reason.” (Pretty neat ‘turn of a phrase’).

The half-dozen ads show people going a bit overboard in their ‘PREPARATION’ for the holiday season (A personal Santa; Real reindeer for the yard; a 19-foot sub-Aspen fir Christmas tree; and a Double-vented, quad-chambered chesnut roaster!).

The commercials end with the narrator saying: “In a season marked by over-indulging and over-spending, Acura introduces the concept of over-saving. Test drive a new Acura during ‘The Season of Reason’ sales event.”

[ If you would like to see them, they’re on Acura’s YouTube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/acura#p/c/73DDEF14A7408F38/4/uoDy18D3WHA ].

Well, for the past few months in this ‘newsletter’ you might term what I’ve been discussing, especially now in December, as the ‘REASON FOR THE SEASON’—seeking the ‘truth’ about the God of the Bible, Jesus’ Resurrection, and taking a ‘step of faith’ in believing in Jesus for your eternal salvation—all based on good ‘reason’.

I recently read a widely-known saying that relates to what I’ve been saying: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” (which doesn’t make any sense to me).

University of Michigan health policy researcher Brendan Nyhan and University of Georgia political scientist Jason Reifler have published a paper documenting that, when people are presented with verifiable facts that contradict their firmly held opinions, the facts often fail to convince them [“When Corrections Fail” (Political Behavior)]. Even more surprisingly, the researchers found that when people were given facts that should change their opinions, many people actually held more firmly to their incorrect views.

Most people do not seek information that challenges their beliefs. As Nyhan explains, “Studies have shown that people tend to seek out information that is consistent with their views; think of liberal fans of MSNBC and conservative devotees of Fox News. Liberals and conservatives also tend to process the information that they receive with a bias toward their pre-existing opinions, accepting claims that are consistent with their point of view and rejecting those that are not. As a result, information that contradicts their prior attitudes or beliefs is often disregarded, especially if those beliefs are strongly held” [“Myths About Health Care Reform Remain,” New York Times, March 25, 2010].

However, not only do people tend to disregard information that conflicts with their prior attitudes; they often become more convinced of a falsehood after hearing the truth. As Nyhan explained in a National Public Radio interview, “People were so successful at bringing to mind reasons that the correction was wrong that they actually ended up being more convinced in the misperception than the people who didn’t receive the correction. So the correction, in other words, was making things worse” [On the Media, July 3, 2009].

Nyhan reached his conclusion using the tools of modern social science. In doing so, he confirmed what students of Scripture have understood for millennia. Jesus Christ saw this phenomenon firsthand when He corrected the Pharisees. “Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?” [John 8:46]. No source of facts could be more credible than the Logos—the ‘Word’ made flesh (referring to Jesus). Yet the Pharisees would not accept the truth from Jesus Christ. Their carnal human nature kept them in a state of self-deception. As the prophet Jeremiah warned, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” [Jeremiah 17:9].

In the ultimate analysis, as both modern science and ancient Scripture confirm, most people believe what they want to believe. Even when people hear God’s Truth, they receive it according to their own inclinations, as Christ explained in the Parable of the Sower [Matthew 13:3-9]. The Apostle Paul explained that spiritual truths are spiritually discerned [1 Corinthians 2:14]—so, we can understand that unless God opens people’s minds, they will remain blinded by Satan, whom Scripture calls “the god of this age” [2 Corinthians 4:4].

So, what does this mean for you?

If you have read my previous ‘newsletters’, and are beginning to understand some of the ‘truths’ I’ve presented, it probably means that God is working ‘on’ you to help you correct your old misunderstandings—and He may even be ‘PREPARING’ you to take, what I’ve termed a ‘step of faith’, in believing in God’s Son, Jesus, for your eternal salvation.

It just so happens that, on the church ‘calendar’, last Sunday was the beginning of “Advent”—a time of “preparation” for THE ‘REASON’ for this ‘season’—the celebration of the “incarnation” of God—Jesus Christ—onto this earth as the FREE ‘GIFT’ of salvation for anyone who wants to ‘CHOOSE’ it.

This just might be YOUR ‘season’ to reason for yourself where you want to spend ‘eternity’—and with Whom!

[Excerpts from: William Bowmer]

If you are interested, here’s a daily “devotional” for the Advent season that you may want to consider using to ‘prepare’ yourself to ‘hear’ God’s voice—and it you ‘sense’ something ‘special’, let me encourage you not to take it ‘lightly’:
http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/advent/

To read more about what does it really means to “believe,” then visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q10_d1_1of10.html

RESOURCE:
“Reasoning from the Scriptures”:
http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/answerquestions.html

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v142) for DECEMBER 2010

(Note: If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net)

I am glad to organize and distribute more ‘stuff’ if y’all send it to me… Thank you’s to:

Beth McMillan

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A SEASON OF ‘PREPARATION’
Begin with Advent, the four weeks before Christmas. It is a time of preparation, waiting and hope. The Advent liturgy resounds with the longing cries of the Hebrew prophets, the voice of Jesus, and John the Baptist’s preaching that the Lord is near. Hear their message still ringing through today’s dark winters. The brief meditations on the Gospels for the Sundays of Advent found in this section may help you listen to their voices.

Among the customs of Advent, the Advent wreath is probably the most important. Lighting the Advent candles each day with a prayer can prepare your household for Christmas. For children, an Advent calendar marking off the days before Christmas can be an aid for living the season.

And since Santa Claus suddenly appears everywhere at this time, why not remember the saint who is likely his original—St. Nicholas—whose feast day is December 6th? His example of quiet, generous giving is worth recalling, especially for children.

[Father Victor Hoagland, C.P.]

[ More on his site: http://www.cptryon.org/prayer/adx/adprep.html ]

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REAL FAITH
Legend has it that a man was lost in the desert, just dying for a drink of water. He stumbled upon an old shack—a ramshackled, windowless, roofless, weather-beaten old shack. He looked about this place and found a little shade from the heat of the desert sun. As he glanced around he saw a pump about 15 feet away—an old, rusty water pump. He stumbled over to it, grabbed the handled, and began to pump up and down, up and down. Nothing came out.

Disappointed, he staggered back. He noticed off to the side an old jug. He looked at it, wiped away the dirt and dust, and read a message that said, “You have to prime the pump with all the water in this jug, my friend. P.S. Be sure you fill the jug again before you leave.”

He popped the cork out of the jug and sure enough, it was almost full of water! Suddenly, he was faced with a decision. If he drank the water, he could live. Ah, but if he poured all the water in the old rusty pump, maybe it would yield fresh, cool water from down deep in the well, all the water he wanted.

He studied the possibility of both options. What should he do, pour it into the old pump and take a chance on fresh, cool water or drink what was in the old jug and ignore its message? Should he waste all the water on the hopes of those flimsy instructions written, no telling how long ago?

Reluctantly he poured all the water into the pump. Then he grabbed the handle and began to pump, squeak, squeak, squeak. Still nothing came out! Squeak, squeak, squeak. A little bit began to dribble out then a small stream, and finally it gushed out! To his relief, fresh, cool water poured out of the rusty pump. Eagerly, he filled the jug and drank from it. He filled it another time and once again drank its refreshing contents.

Then he filled the jug for the next traveler. He filled it to the top, popped the cork back on, and added this little note: “Believe me, it really works. You have to give it all away before you can get anything back.”

[Charles R. Swindoll]

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REAL COMMITMENT—NO TURNING BACK!
I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made—I’m a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go ’til He comes, give ’til I drop, preach ’til all know, and work ’til He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me… my banner will be clear.”

[Young pastor in Zimbabwe]

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IT’S IN THE BIBLE
There was this Christian lady that had to do a lot of traveling for her business, so she did a lot of flying. But flying made her nervous so she always took her Bible along with her to read and it helped her to relax.

One time she was sitting next to a man. When he saw her pull out her Bible he gave a little chuckle and went back to what he was doing.

After awhile he turned to her and asked, “You don’t really believe all that stuff in there do you?”

The lady replied, “Of course I do. It is the Bible.”

He said “Well, what about that guy that was swallowed by that whale?”

She replied, “Oh, Jonah. Yes, I believe that; it is in the Bible.”

He asked, “Well, how do you suppose he survived all that time inside the whale?”

The lady said, “Well I don’t really know. I guess when I get to heaven I will ask him.”

“What if he isn’t in heaven?” the man asked sarcastically.

“Then you can ask him.” replied the lady.

[Received from Beth McMillan]

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PASCAL’S WAGER
A French scientist and mathematician, Blaise Pascal postulated a couple centuries ago, that if you choose to believe that there is a God and it turns out, in the end, that you are wrong, you have probably gained something because you had a sense of purpose, direction, and meaning in my life—and have lost nothing. Be if it turns out that you are right, you have not only gained in this life, but have gained in a major way ending up with God in heaven for eternity—nothing to lose and an enormous amount to gain. To sum it up, if you believe in God, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. If you reject God, you have nothing to gain and everything to lose!

[The Search for Meaning – Search Ministries]

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PRICE INCREASE FOR “12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS” LIST
Ever wonder what it would cost to buy all the items listed in “The 12 Days of Christmas”? According to the annual PNC Christmas Price Index, true loves will have to shell out just under $100,000 to get all 364 items.

From the 12 drummers drumming to the partridge in a pear tree, if one were to purchase these items in 2010, it would cost $96,824. This figure represents an increase of approximately 10% compared to the price one would have paid for all of the items on the list last year.

According to the PNC CPI, the very first item listed in the song, a partridge in a pear tree, costs $161, a 1.3% increase from last year.

Moving along the list, two turtle doves cost $100, up 78.6% from 2009, and three French hens now cost $150, up 233% from last year. Bird prices seem to be on the rise across the board, as the seven swans-a-swimming cost $5,600, an increase of 6.7% from last year.

As for performers on the list, the 11 pipers piping cost $2,356, and those 12 drummers drumming are doing so at a cost of $2,552. Both prices represent a modest increase of 3.1 percent.

There are four gifts on the list that remained the same price as last year: the pear tree by itself, four calling birds, six geese a-laying, and the eight maids-a-milking.

[Copyright 2010 – ABC News Radio]

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DEEP THOUGHT:
All truths are not equally valid—if two things contradict each other, they cannot both be right—but they can both be wrong. What is irrational and illogical is to say that they’re both right. One doesn’t have to be an ‘expert’ or a philosopher to know truth—just remember that an “amateur” built the Ark, and “professionals” built the Titanic!

[Mark Besh]

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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!

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” [Isaiah 1:18].

“Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground” [Joshua 3:15-17].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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