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I have written an e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which is free to anyone. To download that book, in several formats, go here.
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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Sunspots 758


Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:


The Arts (and Education): NPR reports that Carroll Spinney, who played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch from the beginning of Sesame Street until a year or so ago, has died.

Christianity: (and politics) There is an attempt, in Congress, to pass legislation that would protect the rights of homosexuals, and also the rights of Christian organizations and small businesses.

(and science) BioLogos reports that one of this year's Nobel laureates in Chemistry is a believing Christian.
 
Humor: (or something) Listverse describes the 10 best board games ever created.


Politics: Another way in which the Department of Education is hindering, not helping, students with disabilities, and Congress is not happy, according to NPR.

Science: Listverse has a compilation of arguments used to prove that evolution is false. None of these arguments do that.

NPR reports on a comet that has apparently come from another solar system.

NPR also reports on a fascinating Dubna, Russia-Oak Ridge, TN scientific collaboration that resulted in the production of six short-live atoms of a new element, Tennessine. There is one mistake in the report: "Element 117 fits in a column of the periodic table filled with compounds called halogens - fluorine, chlorine, bromine." It should have been "elements called halogens."

And NPR reports that fresh-water mussels are dying, and on why this matters.

Gizmodo reports on using wood as the basis of optical fibers.

Gizmodo also reports on a newly discovered widow spider, which lays purple eggs.

The Scientist reports that it is now possible to store instructions for replicating the object in the object itself. A related application might be to store information on how a medical device or implant was made in the device or implant, itself. This sort of study may be coming close to creating a new kind of life.

The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, it is free to use like this.
Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Sunspots 757


Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

Christianity: A Christianity Today report indicates that giving by evangelicals has not changed much as a result of the recent tax overhaul.

Education: Grammarphobia tells us why a turkey's leg is called a drumstick.

Environment: A strong argument that climate change is not really the problem.
  Health: NPR has a reflection on sibling relationships.

Humor: (or something) Listverse describes the achievements of 10 successful people with Down Syndrome.

Politics: A FiveThirtyEight writer analyzes what happened to Kamala Harris's campaign for President.

The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, it is free to use like this.
 
Thanks for looking!

Sunday, December 01, 2019

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, 10

‘God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.’  The second thought that comes to us is that the worship in the spirit must come from God Himself.  God is Spirit:  He alone has Spirit to give.  It was for this He sent His Son, to fit us for such spiritual worship, by giving us the Holy Spirit.  It is of His own work that Jesus speaks when He says twice, ‘The hour cometh,’ and then adds, ‘and is now.’  He came to baptize with the Holy Spirit; the Spirit could not stream forth till He was glorified (John i. 33, vii. 37, 38, xvi. 7).  It was when He had made an end of sin, and entering into the Holiest of all with His blood, had there on our behalf received the Holy Spirit (Acts ii. 33), that He could send Him down to us as the Spirit of the Father.  It was when Christ had redeemed us, and we in Him had received the position of children, that the Father sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts to cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The worship in spirit is the worship of the Father in the Spirit of Christ , the Spirit of Sonship.

This is the reason why Jesus here uses the name of Father.  We never find one of the Old Testament saints personally appropriate the name of child or call God his Father.  The worship of the Father is only possible to those to whom the Spirit of the Son has been given. The worship in spirit is only possible to those to whom the Son has revealed the Father, and who have received the spirit of Sonship.  It is only Christ who opens the way and teaches the worship in spirit.


This post continues what is intended to be a series of excerpts from With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this public domain work available. To see their post of the book, go here. The previous post is here. As usual in this blog, long quotations are in this color.

Friday, November 29, 2019

30 days of science-oriented Thanksgiving, 2019


Thanks to God for:
1) Light: I'm thankful for light. It's significance is emphasized, as it was the first thing mentioned as created, in the Genesis story. We depend on it so much, and take it for granted -- at least I do.

2) I'm thankful not only for light, but that light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, meaning that light appears in a range of colors, visible in rainbows and in other ways, and also in mixtures of these colors, such as brown, which doesn't appear in the rainbow. They say that some animals have no color vision. TVs used to be black-and-white only. I'm glad that we can see colors.

3) I’m thankful that light can be reflected. Without reflection, I couldn’t see myself in the bathroom mirror. I couldn’t back my car up safely. I couldn’t see colorful trees reflected in bodies of water. Without reflection, I couldn’t see the moon, which reflects the sun’s light. Telescopes and microscopes use reflection to help us see wonders that we couldn’t’ see without reflection.

4) I’m thankful for a special use of reflected light – reading print. The white part of a printed page (or sign, or food label, or our credit card, or whatever) reflects more light than the dark part – the words. I know that much reading today is not of this sort. I’m reading this as I type because the computer screen emits light, except where the letters are. But we still depend a lot on reading print.

5) I’m thankful for refraction. Refraction means that light is bent as it goes from one medium, like air, into another, like glass or water. Without refraction, I couldn’t see. My eye lenses refract light so that it can be focused on my retina. My glasses refract light, assisting my eye lenses, so that I can see close up. Different colors of light are refracted differently, thus making rainbows possible.

6) I’m thankful for water, the only common substance that can exists in solid, liquid and gaseous form under ordinary conditions. It’s also the only common substance that has a solid that floats on its liquid. Without these properties, the oceans would be solid ice, and we wouldn’t ever get rained on.

7) I’m thankful that water is able to dissolve many other substances. The ancient alchemists were said to be searching for some wondrous things, including the “philosopher’s stone,” that would turn things into gold, and the “universal solvent,” that would dissolve anything. As someone said a long time ago, water is the nearly universal solvent. It can combine with other substances, especially acids, to dissolve even more things. Some geological features are the result of mildly acid water dissolving rocks. Consider, in us: our blood, a solution of many substances in water, carries Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, hormones, enzymes, antibodies, red and white blood cells, food particles, Nitrogen waste, food waste, and other items, in our blood stream and body fluids, which are all mostly water.

8) I’m thankful that light is a form of energy. Much of the sun’s energy, that keeps the earth warm enough to be livable, has come to earth in the form of light. Light energy can be absorbed, and does various things, many of them important, after such absorption. One such thing is illustrated by the brick wall on the west side of our house. After a sunny afternoon, the bricks have absorbed energy, and feel warm. Light energy, turned to heat, melts snow and ice.

9) I’m thankful for Carbon. Carbon atoms can connect with as many as four other atoms. This makes complicated molecules, like protein, DNA, steroids, cellulose, and many more, possible. If, for example, Carbon could connect with only two other atoms, nothing more complicated than a long chain would be possible. We are called Carbon-based life forms for a good reason. Carbon is an abundant element, and its atoms are light, so some Carbon compounds can enter the air, and, for example, make molecules that we can smell. Coffee, anyone?

10) I’m thankful for what is arguably the most important process on earth – photosynthesis. Light energy is captured by green plants and used to turn Carbon Dioxide and water into food molecules. Food is something we eat that gives us energy (which is measured in calories). Most likely, all the food you have consumed in the past year came from photosynthesis in some green plant. Thank God!

11) I’m thankful for carbohydrates. They are made of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen, and their names usually end in “ose,” as in glucose, fructose, cellulose, and more. Starches are complex carbohydrates. Some of us eat too much carbohydrate, and expand, as a consequence. But we need energy to live, and carbohydrates are a good source of food energy. Cellulose is taken in in the form of fiber, and we should eat fiber, too. Some carbohydrates such as sucrose, common table sugar, taste sweet. I like it, more than I should.

12) I’m thankful for my sense organs. Our tongue and nose can detect certain molecules, apparently because of their 3-dimensional shape. Sugar molecules have a distinctive shape. Sugar molecules fit into sweet-detecting sense structures in the tongue which detect that shape, and these structures send a message to the brain: “that was sweet!” Scientists have figured out how to make sugar substitutes, which have a shape that activates the same sensors, and cause the same message to go to the brain. Sugar substitutes are usually indigestible, or don’t turn into as many calories as sugar, hence you may gain less weight from eating or drinking them than from the equivalent food/drink with sugar in it.

The senses of taste detects various chemicals that touch the tongue. The sense of smell detects molecules that come to the nose through the air. I’m thankful for the smell of coffee, even though I don’t drink it, and for lots of other smell-producing materials. When I was in college, my nose was cauterized to stop frequent nosebleeds. As a result, I don’t have much sense of smell. Be thankful for yours!

13) I’m thankful for deoxyribose, a 5-Carbon sugar that is an essential part of DNA – in fact, DNA is named for it: Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid. As surely you know, your heredity is carried from generation to generation by DNA. It’s also carried from cell to cell in your body. The trillions of cells in your body all came from a single fertilized egg. Most of your cells have the same DNA, with some exceptions. Occasionally you may see someone with two different iris colors, or with strange patches of skin or hair. But these are rare. Your left side mostly mirrors your right. Be thankful for your heredity, and that it’s all the same throughout your body, except for occasional mutations.

In addition to deoxyribose, DNA contains Nitrogen bases and Phosphate. I’m thankful for them, too.

14) I’m thankful for cellulose. Cellulose is a complex carbohydrate, made of hundreds, or more, of glucose molecules strung together. Plants use it as structural material in their cell walls. Since it is structural, it has numerous uses. We get fiber in our diet mostly from plant cell walls in our food. Cotton and linen fibers contain cellulose, so most of us are clothed with this, some of the time. Paper, including cardboard, includes cellulose. Cellulose is the most common constituent of wood, which is used in structures and implements of many kinds, as well as being a fuel.

Without cellulose, there would be no trees, with all the joy, majesty, and utility that they bring. No forests, no leaves falling.

15) I’m thankful for Silicon, an element. It’s the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust, behind Oxygen. In the earth’s crust – the rocks, dirt, etc., that we can access fairly easily with a shovel or a drill – Silicon is almost always in combination with some other elements, like Oxygen or Aluminum. Quartz is mostly Silicon Dioxide. Quartz, mica, feldspar, and other materials make up granite, one of the most common types of rock on earth. Mica and feldspar also contain Silicon. Minerals containing Silicon make up about 90% of the earth’s crust.

16) As yesterday, I’m again thankful for Silicon. Here’s the Wikipedia: “The most widely used silicon device is the MOSFET (metal-oxide-silicon field-effect transistor), which has been manufactured in larger numbers than any other device in history.” In other words, the computer I’m typing this on, and all the devices that could read this, use Silicon-based transistors, in order to do their jobs.

17) I’m thankful for sand. Many sands are mostly Silicon Dioxide. SiO2 sand is the main constituent of glass. Can you imagine life without glass? Touchscreens on smartphones and similar devices contain glass. So do many glasses that people wear. Then there are windows, and drinking glasses, and lots of other stuff. (Some sands, for example from corals, are mostly Calcium Carbonate, but most sands are Silicon Dioxide.) The Wikipedia lists a couple of dozen or so uses for sand.

18) You are breathing it right now, even though you can’t smell it or see it. What is it? Nitrogen, which I’m very thankful for. Nitrogen gas makes up about 80% of the earth’s atmosphere. Oxygen is the second most common gas in the atmosphere. Without that Nitrogen, an increase in Oxygen would mean that fires would spread more rapidly and be more devastating and dangerous.

19) I’m thankful for Nitrogen. DNA, the heredity molecule, has a Nitrogen-containing base in each unit, which means that we probably have trillions of Nitrogen bases in our bodies. The Nitrogen bases, ACGT, make up the genetic code. Nitrogen is also part of every amino acid. Amino acids make up protein, and, of course, we need protein for structure, for making up enzymes, and for other things. Life, as we know it, would be impossible without DNA, its close relative, RNA, ATP, and amino acids. Each of these contains Nitrogen.

20) I’m thankful for Nitrogen-fixing bacteria. We need Nitrogen, which is part of many of the most important molecules in living things. But, even though most of what we breathe is Nitrogen gas, we can’t use that to make amino acids or RNA. We have to get Nitrogen in what we eat. Some bacteria in the soil, often in special structures on the roots of members of the pea family, such as peas, beans, peanuts, alfalfa, clover, and many more, can take Nitrogen from the air in the soil. The plants that they are growing with can access this Nitrogen. Members of the pea family are good sources of Nitrogen, in the form of protein. We can get Nitrogen from other kinds of food, especially food high in protein, but, in most cases, such Nitrogen was first captured by bacteria in the nodules on the roots of plants.

21) I’m thankful for Hydrogen. There are more atoms of Hydrogen than of any other element in the universe. Hydrogen is part of water, which is enough to make it very important, but there’s more. Hydrogen is part of almost all of the molecules of living things, such as carbohydrates, steroids, proteins, lipids, DNA, RNA, ATP and more. It also is part of Hydrocarbons, which we use to make plastics, and burn as fuel in our automobiles. It’s easy to ignore Hydrogen. It doesn’t seem to be the central part of any of these important types of molecule. But it’s there, in all of them. Life would not be possible without it.

22) I’m thankful, again, for Hydrogen. Almost all of the energy we use depends on it. Why? Because there are processes in the sun that take Hydrogen, and fuse it together into Helium, releasing energy in the process. (Hydrogen bombs, if ever used, would engage in similar processes.) Energy released by this nuclear fusion escapes into space, some of it in the form of light, and a small part of it hits the earth, warming it, and providing energy for the food manufacturing processes of photosynthesis.

23) I’m thankful for Oxygen. Oxygen reacts easily. We can see the results in flames, and in rust (which is oxidized iron). Because this is true, living things use it to access energy from the food they make, in photosynthesis, or the food they eat. They oxidize this food, which results in the production of Carbon Dioxide and water, and the release of energy. This oxidation is slower, and much less destructive, than ordinary burning. (Most foods can be burned, giving off energy in a different way.) When we exercise, we need Oxygen, so that we can release energy stored in our bodies. That’s why we may gasp and pant after running, for example – we need Oxygen to replenish our accessible energy.

There are some organisms (you won’t find them in zoos) that get their food, and access the energy from it, in different ways.

24) I’m thankful for Oxygen. Besides the fact that we need to breathe it, Oxygen is part of the essentially all of chemicals that living things are made of. Most living things, including us, are mostly water. Water is a combination of Hydrogen and Oxygen. Besides that, DNA, RNA, ATP, starch, sugar, fats, hormones, vitamins, proteins, and more, all have Oxygen as part of their structures.

25) I’m thankful for metabolism. The rest of this post was extracted from the Wikipedia: “Metabolism … is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in organisms. The three main purposes of metabolism are: the conversion of food to energy to run cellular processes; the conversion of food/fuel to building blocks for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and some carbohydrates; and the elimination of nitrogenous wastes. These enzyme-catalyzed reactions allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. (The word metabolism can also refer to the sum of all chemical reactions that occur in living organisms, including digestion and the transport of substances into and between different cells, in which case the above described set of reactions within the cells is called intermediary metabolism or intermediate metabolism).”

26) I’m thankful for enzymes. Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions, such as the ones in metabolism (see yesterday’s post). In effect, they make these chemical reactions possible. Without enzymes, they wouldn’t take place at all, or they would be so slow that they wouldn’t do us any good. Enzymes help convert food to useful energy, help convert food molecules to the more complex molecules necessary for life, such as proteins, hormones, DNA and RNA. They help eliminate nitrogenous wastes. They are necessary in the formation of new cells, as when an embryo grows, or an older person replaces dead cells, such as skin cells.

27) I’m thankful for the parts of my body that produce digestive enzymes. The salivary glands produce enzymes that digest starch, breaking it down to sugar. (Chew on a cracker for a few minutes. It will probably begin to taste sweet.) There are enzymes in the stomach that help break down food molecules. These enzymes require an acid environment, in order to work. The pancreas and the liver produce enzymes that help digest food molecules. If food wasn’t digested, it wouldn’t do us any good. We would get just as much good from eating sand as from eating turkey.

28) I’m thankful for Sulfur. It’s one of the more prevalent elements in my body, after Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Calcium, and maybe Potassium. Amino acids make up proteins. Proteins can be enzymes, or part of our structure (hair is mostly protein) or perform other functions, such as fighting infection. Two of the amino acids that make up proteins, cysteine and methionine, contain Sulfur. Cysteines bonded together help to give hair, and other body parts, their structure. If hair is burnt, there’s a bad smell, which is mostly due to Sulfur.
Sulfur is a necessary part of sulfuric acid, which is used in making fertilizer, and used in some kinds of batteries. Sulfur is used as a fungicide and pesticide. Some of the most important antibiotics contain Sulfur. Sulfur is necessary for life on this planet.

29) I’m thankful for Sodium. Sodium is part of common table salt, Sodium Chloride. We need Sodium in order to live. However, too much Sodium can lead to high blood pressure, and, if it’s really too much, even to death. Salt is used as a preservative. Sodium is used to manufacture chlorophyll, which is used in photosynthesis, the basic food-making process that we all depend on. Sodium is necessary for the functioning of the nervous system. As you read this, Sodium is migrating across the membranes of your nerve cells, making perception of what you are reading, and thought about it, possible. Yellow colors in fireworks are due to Sodium.

30) I’m thankful for Phosphorus. Phosphorus is an essential part of DNA and RNA, the molecules that carry our genetic code, and help to express it. It’s also part of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) which is used in the processes that release energy from food. Our cell membranes contain Phosphorus. It’s no wonder that almost all fertilizers contain Phosphorus.

Many matches contain Phosphorus.

I could have been thankful for Potassium, Calcium, Chlorine, Iron, and other elements of the periodic table, but will stop here. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Sunspots 756

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

The Arts: The Scientist has posted photos of art made by placing microorganisms on a culture dish

Christianity: (and politics) Christianity Today reports on the favorite verses of the Democratic candidates for President.

Christianity Today also reviews a book on Christianity being compatible with socialism.

Relevant reports on an interview with Pete Buttigieg, about the Bible.

Relevant also has a tribute to Fred Rogers, of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.
Computing: (And politics) Rolling Stone has an article about how Russians really operate in the social media universe. (It's probably not the way you think.)

Politics: Five Thirty Eight analyzes the reaction to the November 20th debate between Democratic candidates for President.

(or something) A Utah woman has been charged with a crime because she took her shirt off in her own home, according to NPR.

Science: Gizmodo tells us how bees escape when they fall into water.

Mosquitoes are being infected with bacteria, then released, as a way to combat some mosquito-borne virus diseases, according to NPR.

Gizmodo reports on research on brain function in persons who have had half of their brains removed. Function was remarkably good.


The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, it is free to use like this.
 
Thanks for looking!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, 9

‘God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and truth.’ The first thought suggested here by the Master is that there must be harmony between God and His worshippers; such as God is, must His worship be.  This is according to a principle which prevails throughout the universe:  we look for correspondence between an object and the organ to which it reveals or yields itself.  The eye has an inner fitness for the light, the ear for sound.  The man who would truly worship God, would find and know and possess and enjoy God, must be in harmony with Him, must have the capacity for receiving Him. 

Because God is Spirit, we must worship in spirit.  As God is, so His worshipper. And what does this mean?  The woman had asked our Lord whether Samaria or Jerusalem was the true place of worship.  He answers that henceforth worship is no longer to be limited to a certain place: ‘Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father.’  As God is Spirit, not bound by space or time, but in His infinite perfection always and everywhere the same, so His worship would henceforth no longer be confined by place or form, but spiritual as God Himself is spiritual.  A lesson of deep importance.  How much our Christianity suffers from this, that it is confined to certain times and places.  A man, who seeks to pray earnestly in the church
or in the closet, spends the greater part of the week or the day in a spirit entirely at variance with that in which he prayed.  His worship was the work of a fixed place or hour, not of his whole being.  God is a Spirit:  He is the Everlasting and Unchangeable One; what He is, He is always and in truth.  Our worship must even so be in spirit and truth:  His worship must be the spirit of our life; our life must be worship in spirit as God is Spirit.


This post continues what is intended to be a series of excerpts from With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this public domain work available. To see their post of the book, go here. The previous post is here. As usual in this blog, long quotations are in this color.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Sunspots 755

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:
Computing: ListVerse tells us about 10 popular web sites/apps that started out as something considerably different. (Amazon used to sell books, nothing else, for example.)
National Public Radio reports on some sophisticated on-line scamming techniques.

Gizmo's Freeware describes a free program that easily downloads YouTube videos.

 
Education: Grammarphobia: Should it be Moses's staff, or Moses' staff?

The Panda's Thumb says that the Ohio lower house has passed a bill with some disturbing implications. To quote from the blog post:  House Bill 164, labeled the “Student Religious Liberties Act,” would amend the state’s Education Code to forbid schools from “prohibit[ing] a student from engaging in religious expression in the completion of housework, artwork, or other written or oral assignments.” The blog post points out that this would seem to prevent a teacher from marking an answer like this as wrong: "God told me that the capital of Ohio is Tallahassee."
 
Politics: Relevant says that Stephen Miller, influential White House advisor, has to go. He seems to be the driving force behind President Trump's immigration policies, which, among other things, have drastically cut the number of refugees entering the US, and tried to prevent all Muslims from entering the country.

Relevant also reports that the US detains more of its children in various facilities, than any other country.

Science: The Scientist reports on a study that indicates that very few children are the result of an extra-marital affair.


The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, it is free to use like this.
 
Thanks for looking!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, 8

SECOND LESSON.
‘In spirit and truth.’
Or, The True Worshippers.


‘The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth:  for such doth the Father seek to be His worshippers.  God is a Spirit:  and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.’—John iv. 23, 24.

THESE words of Jesus to the woman of Samaria are His first recorded teaching on the subject of prayer.  They give us some wonderful first glimpses into the world of prayer.  The Father seeks worshippers: our worship satisfies His loving heart and is a joy to Him. He seeks true worshippers, but finds many not such as He would have them. True worship is that which is in spirit and truth. The Son has come to open the way for this worship in spirit and in truth, and teach it us.  And so one of our first lessons in the school of prayer must be to understand what it is to pray in spirit and in truth, and to know how we can attain to it.


To the woman of Samaria our Lord spoke of a threefold worship.  There is first, the ignorant worship of the Samaritans:  ‘Ye worship that which ye know not.’  The second, the intelligent worship of the Jew, having the true knowledge of God: ‘We worship that which we know; for salvation is of the Jews.’  And then the new, the spiritual worship which He Himself has come to introduce:  ‘The hour is coming, and is now, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth.’  From the connection it is evident that the words ‘in spirit and truth’ do not mean, as is often thought, earnestly, from the heart, in sincerity.  The Samaritans had the five books of Moses and some knowledge of God; there was doubtless more than one among them who honestly and earnestly sought God in prayer.  The Jews had the true full revelation of God in His word, as thus far given; there were among them godly men, who called upon God with their whole heart.  And yet not ‘in spirit and truth,’ in the full meaning of the words.  Jesus says, ‘The hour is coming, and now is;’ it is only in and through Him that the worship of God will be in spirit and truth.


Among Christians one still finds the three classes of worshippers.  Some who in their ignorance hardly know what they ask:  they pray earnestly, and yet receive but little.  Others there are, who have more correct knowledge, who try to pray with all their mind and heart, and often pray most earnestly, and yet do not attain to the full blessedness of worship in spirit and truth.  It is into this third class we must ask our Lord Jesus to take us; we must be taught of Him how to worship in spirit and truth.  This alone is spiritual worship; this makes us worshippers such as the Father seeks.  In prayer everything will depend on our understanding well and practising the worship in spirit and truth.


This post continues what is intended to be a series of excerpts from With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this public domain work available. To see their post of the book, go here. The previous post is here. As usual in this blog, long quotations are in this color.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Sunspots 754


Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to
someone else:

Christianity: Relevant has an article about how the Bible says to treat refugees, with Bible quotes. They missed at least one. To quote my own blog: The Bible also says, in reference to a specific refugee crisis:
Isaiah 16:3 Give counsel! Execute justice! Make your shade like the night in the middle of the noonday! Hide the outcasts! Don’t betray the fugitive! 4a Let my outcasts dwell with you! As for Moab, be a hiding place for him from the face of the destroyer. (This was in spite of the fact that the Moabites hadn’t always been good to Israel. See Joshua 24:9, Judges 3:12-30, 1 Samuel 12:9.)


(And politics) Christianity Today has an article decrying our current immigration policies. The article also points to a suggestion, endorsed by several evangelical leaders, that a path to citizenship, for illegals, be created, including restitution -- not amnesty.

 
Politics: Relevant reports that there were NO refugees settled in the US in October.

NPR on how the Chinese government is trying to control Tibetan Buddhists, for example in the recognition of the next Dalai Lama.
FiveThirtyEight discusses the electability of Pete Buttigieg, including a discussion of how his homosexuality might influence voters.

Science: The Scientist report on the use of CRISPR genetic engineering to alter cancer patients' cells, and the introduction of such altered cells back into the patients. The alterations were designed to attack cancer cells. It's not yet clear whether the treatment has successfully fought the cancer.
Gizmodo, and other outlets, report that a trap for catching mammoths has been discovered. It's a large trap.

NPR discusses the uses of Helium, the only chemical element that easily escapes the earth.



The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, it is free to use like this.
 
Thanks for looking!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, 7

Blessed Lord! who ever livest to pray, Thou canst teach me too to pray, me too to live ever to pray.  In this Thou lovest to make me share Thy glory in heaven, that I should pray without ceasing, and ever stand as a priest in the presence of my God.

Lord Jesus!  I ask Thee this day to enrol my name among those who confess that they know not how to pray as they ought, and specially ask Thee for a course of teaching in prayer.  Lord! teach me to tarry with Thee in the school, and give Thee time to train me. May a deep sense of my ignorance, of the wonderful privilege and power of prayer, of the need of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of prayer, lead me to cast away my thoughts of what I think I know, and make me kneel before Thee in true teachableness and poverty of spirit.


And fill me, Lord, with the confidence that with such a teacher as Thou art I shall learn to pray.  In the assurance that I have as my teacher, Jesus who is ever praying to the Father, and by His prayer rules the destinies of His Church and the world, I will not be afraid.  As much as I need to know of the mysteries of the prayer-world, Thou wilt unfold for me.  And when I may not know, Thou wilt teach me to be strong in faith, giving glory to God. Blessed Lord! Thou wilt not put to shame Thy scholar who trusts Thee, nor, by Thy grace, would he Thee either.  Amen.

This post continues what is intended to be a series of excerpts from With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this public domain work available. To see their post of the book, go here. The previous post is here. As usual in this blog, long quotations are in this color.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Sunspots 753


Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

Christianity: Christianity Today names 10 places where Christians are being persecuted.

(or something) A successful Hollywood type thanked a policeman for arresting him, years earlier.

He Lives explains the parable, or perhaps story, of the barren fig tree.

Education: (and politics) NPR reports on Cactus, a small town in Texas, that has mostly welcomed immigrants from Central America, in spite of the strain that enrollment growth has put on their school.

Food: NPR reports on a soup that's been simmering for 45 years.

Health: (And politics) According to the Washington Examiner, the Trump administration has dealt a huge setback to veterans seeking medical help.

NPR reports on the effect of loud noises on our ears.

Humor: Relevant reports on how long Halloween candy remains good to eat.
 
Politics: NPR chronicles President Donald Trump's relationship with the US intelligence organizations.

Science: The Scientist on some of the things that mitochondrial DNA does.

The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, it is free to use like this.
 
Thanks for looking!

Sunday, November 03, 2019

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, 6

‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ None can teach like Jesus, none but Jesus; therefore we call on Him, ‘LORD, teach us to pray.’  A pupil needs a teacher, who knows his work, who has the gift of teaching, who in patience and love will descend to the pupil’s needs.  Blessed be God!
Jesus is all this and much more.  He knows what prayer is.  It is Jesus, praying Himself, who teaches to pray.  He knows what prayer is.  He learned it amid the trials and tears of His earthly life.  In heaven it is still His beloved work:  His life there is prayer.  Nothing delights Him more than to find those whom He can take with Him into the Father’s presence, whom He can clothe with power to pray down God’s blessing on those around them, whom He can train to be His fellow-workers in the intercession by which the kingdom is to be revealed on earth.  He knows how to teach.  Now by the urgency of felt need, then by the confidence with which joy inspires.  Here by the teaching of the Word, there by the testimony of another believer who knows what it is to have prayer heard.  By His Holy Spirit, He has access to our heart, and teaches us to pray by showing us the sin that hinders the prayer, or giving us the assurance that we please God.  He teaches, by giving not only thoughts of what to ask or how to ask, but by breathing within us the very spirit of prayer, by living within us as the Great Intercessor.  We may indeed and most joyfully say, ‘Who teacheth like Him?’  Jesus never taught His disciples how to preach, only how to pray.  He did not speak much of what was needed to preach well, but much of praying well.  To know how to speak to God is more than knowing how to speak to man.  Not power with men, but power with God is the first thing.  Jesus loves to teach us how to pray.
What think you, my beloved fellow-disciples! would it not be just what we need, to ask the Master for a month to give us a course of special lessons on the art of prayer?  As we meditate on the words He spake on earth, let us yield ourselves to His teaching in the fullest confidence that, with such a teacher, we shall make progress.  Let us take time not only to meditate, but to pray, to tarry at the foot of the throne, and be trained to the work of intercession.  Let us do so in the assurance that amidst our stammerings and fears He is carrying on His work most beautifully.  He will breathe His own life, which is all prayer, into us.  As He makes us partakers of His righteousness and His life, He will of His intercession too.
As the members of His body, as a holy priesthood, we shall take part in His priestly work of pleading and prevailing with God for men.  Yes, let us most joyfully say, ignorant and feeble though we be, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’


This post continues what is intended to be a series of excerpts from With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this public domain work available. To see their post of the book, go here. The previous post is here. As usual in this blog, long quotations are in this color.