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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Sunspots 769


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

Christianity: Christianity Today discusses polyamory among professing Christians.


Christianity Today also has a good article on why the Old Testament continues to be important.

CT has also posted information on 20 African-American heroes and heroines of faith.

Computing: (and Politics) Gizmodo reports that Twitter has taken action against some pro-Bloomberg accounts, for publishing pro-Bloomberg spam.
  Humor: (and Computing) A Gizmodo writer has found women's pants with pockets large enough to hold a smartphone.


Politics: (And Christianity) Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has been an outspoken critic of President Trump. Authorities in the church are apparently going to study the question of whether Moore's positions have hurt the denomination financially, according to Relevant. In a later post, Relevant reports that the ERLC board has instructed Moore not to comply with such an inquiry, at least not at present.

Joel Edmund Anderson asks us to not be hyper-partisan, in any direction.

Science: The Scientist reports on recent discoveries in human anatomy. You would think that we already knew all there is to know about our structure. Not so. For example, there's a bone that I don't think you have heard of.

The Scientist also reports on the use of artificial intelligence to discover new antibiotics.

NPR reports on the terrible locust plague in Africa.

NPR, and other outlets, report that Katherine Johnson, one of the African-American mathematicians who worked on the manned space program, has died. (The movie, Hidden Figures, was based on the critical work of these women.)

Sports: Sabrina Ionescu, who plays basketball for Oregon, had quite a day on February 24th. She was one of the speakers at the memorial service for Kobe Bryant, and also became the only college basketball player, male or female, to score 2000+ career points, give out 1000+ assists, and collect 1000+ rebounds. She got the qualifying rebound on the 24th, against Stanford.

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

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, 21

This is another excerpt from Murray's discussion of the Lord's Prayer. God willing, there will be more excerpts from this discussion later:

‘Hallowed be Thy name.’ There is something here that strikes us at once. While we ordinarily first bring our own needs to God in prayer, and then think of what belongs to God and His interests, the Master reverses the order. First, Thy name, Thy kingdom, Thy will; then, give us, forgive us, lead us, deliver us. The lesson is of more importance than we think.  In true worship the Father must be first, must be all.  The sooner I learn to forget myself in the desire that HE may be glorified, the richer will the blessing be that prayer will bring to myself.  No one ever loses by what he sacrifices for the Father.

This must influence all our prayer.  There are two sorts of prayer:  personal and intercessory. The latter ordinarily occupies the lesser part of our time and energy.  This may not be.  Christ has opened the school of prayer specially to train intercessors for the great work of bringing down, by their faith and prayer, the blessings of His work and love on the world around.  There can be no deep growth in prayer unless this be made our aim.  The little child may ask of the father only what it needs for itself; and yet it soon learns to say, Give some for sister too.  But the grown-up son, who only lives for the father’s interest and takes charge of the father’s business, asks more largely, and gets all that is asked.  And Jesus would train us to the blessed life of consecration and service, in which our interests are all subordinate to the Name, and the Kingdom, and the Will of the Father.  O let us live for this, and let, on each act of adoration, Our Father! there follow in the same breath Thy Name, Thy Kingdom, Thy Will;—for this we look up and long.


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, February 19, 2020

Sunspots 768


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

Christianity: Christianity Today discusses the matter of celibacy in priests, in an article with links to several related articles, some from quite some time back.

(and Politics) Relevant has an article which attempts to explain white evangelicals' support for President Trump. The author rejects anti-abortion as being too simple an explanation. For one thing, there were several candidates for President in 2016 who were anti-abortion. For another, recent polls show that terrorism, immigration and health care, not abortion, are the current top 3 issues for white evangelicals. There are other reasons given, that indicate that abortion isn't the main issue. The author concludes that "white evangelicals are ready for someone who punches back on their behalf," and that they feel marginalized by society.


Computing: (and more, including medical ethics) BioLogos has a fine, and thoughtful, article on transhumanism, from the viewpoint of a Christian thinker. Transhumanism is, for example, making our eyes more able to focus at long distances than they naturally can.

Environment: Numerous outlets report that Antarctica has recently had its highest temperature ever recorded.
Health: (and Politics) In the Trump budget proposal, funds to help other countries detect new outbreaks of infectious diseases has been drastically cut.

Politics: Relevant, and other outlets, report on past racist and sexist comments, and probably attitudes, of Michael Bloomberg.

Gizmodo/Earther criticizes a plan to plant a trillion trees. There are other, more effective, things we should do, like cutting back on fossil fuel consumption.

Science: National Public Radio reports on findings that suggest that long-ago humans must have mated with a hitherto unknown human-like species, in Africa. There is already good evidence that many of us have some Neanderthal DNA, and people from Oceania may have DNA from Denisovans, another group, also long extinct. More on this story, from The Scientist, which has links to related material.

From Listverse: 10 amazing scientific phenomena caught on video.

The Scientist reports on composting human remains.


Sports: (and Health) Gizmodo reports on a study showing brain impairment (perhaps temporary) in soccer players who hit the ball with their heads.

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

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, 20

We now come to a discussion of the Lord's Prayer. God willing, there will be more excerpts from this discussion later.

The Model Prayer.
‘After this manner therefore pray ye:  Our Father which art in heaven.’—Matt. vi. 9.

EVERY teacher knows the power of example.  He not only tells the child what to do and how to do it, but shows him how it really can be done.  In condescension to our weakness, our heavenly Teacher has given us the very words we are to take with us as we draw near to our Father.  We have in them a form of prayer in which there breathe the freshness and fulness of the Eternal Life.  So simple that the child can lisp it, so divinely rich that it comprehends all that God can give.  A form of prayer that becomes the model and inspiration for all other prayer, and yet always draws us back to itself as the deepest utterance of our souls before our God.


‘Our Father which art in heaven!’  To appreciate this word of adoration aright, I must remember that none of the saints had in Scripture ever ventured to address God as their Father.  The invocation places us at once in the centre of the wonderful revelation the Son came to make of His Father as our Father too.  It comprehends the mystery of redemption—Christ delivering us from the curse that we might become the children of God.  The mystery of regeneration—the Spirit in the new birth giving us the new life.  And the mystery of faith—ere yet the redemption is accomplished or understood, the word is given on the lips of the disciples to prepare them for the blessed experience still to come.  The words are the key to the whole prayer, to all prayer.  It takes time, it takes life to study them; it will take eternity to understand them fully.  The knowledge of God’s Father-love is the first and simplest, but also the last and highest lesson in the school of prayer.  It is in the personal relation to the living God, and the personal conscious fellowship of love with Himself, that prayer begins.  It is in the knowledge of God’s Fatherliness, revealed by the Holy Spirit, that the power of prayer will be found to root and grow.  In the infinite tenderness and pity and patience of the infinite Father, in His loving readiness to hear and to help, the life of prayer has its joy.  O let us take time, until the Spirit has made these words to us spirit and truth, filling heart and life:  ‘Our Father which art in heaven.’  Then we are indeed within the veil, in the secret place of power where prayer always prevails.


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, February 12, 2020

Sunspots 767


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


Environment: Gizmodo/Earther says that the Trump administration is destroying part of Organ Pipe Cactus national monument, in order to build the border wall.


Ethics: Listverse describes some cases where robots have been abused. Really.

Politics: Relevant reports that most attempted immigrants from El Salvador, when returned to that country, were murdered, tortured, or raped.

The Trump administration's foreign aid cuts have seriously damaged Christian non-profits in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. One of the things these groups were working on was helping young people seek alternatives to fleeing to the US, according to Christianity Today.

President Trump used a prayer breakfast (!) -- The theme was "loving your enemies." Trump used his appearance to brag about the Senate vote on his impeachment, and to blast those who voted to remove him, or were part of that effort in the House. However, he said this, according to Yahoo! News (which reported on the entire event):  "I'm sorry. I apologize. I'm trying to learn. It's not easy,” he said. “When they impeach you for nothing and then you're supposed to like them, it's not easy folks. I do my best." 

Science: Gizmodo reports that two populations of crows in western North America must have been separated by a glacier, and were considered to be two species, descended from a single group, but are hybridizing now, and should probably be considered a single species.

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

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

8 C's of history - revising Ken Ham's 7 C's of history

Answers in Genesis has posted a way of looking at history, by Ken Ham and Stacia McKeever. They hang human history on 7 C's, as follows:
Creation
Corruption
Catastrophe
Confusion
Christ
Cross
Consummation

In their discussion, each of these C's has scripture describing that particular event, or stage.

Others have noted -- I can't remember who -- that since Confusion is about the story of the Tower of Babel, which is in Genesis 11, and the next stage is Christ, their scheme leaves out almost the entirety of the Old Testament.

No Abraham, no plagues of Egypt, no Moses, no Exodus, no Mount Sinai, no Ten Commandments, no Tabernacle, no system of celebration and sacrifices, no prophets, no wisdom literature, no Psalms, no David, no Solomon, no Temple, and much more -- you get the idea. More than half the Bible left out!

Bible scholars are by no means unanimous on the dates and geographic extent of events in Genesis, but by the reckoning of Answers in Genesis, the Tower of Babel (Confusion) was in 2242 BC. (Or 2246 BC.) Thus, about 2240 years of the history of life on earth are ignored in the 7 C scheme. Answers in Genesis says that creation took place in 4004 BC. So their scheme leaves out about 37% of what they believe to have been earth's history, and more than half of the times, and most of the events, covered by the Bible. Amazing, for a Bible-based organization.

I propose, for those who want a C scheme, an 8th C -- Covenant, between Confusion and Christ, and that the scripture associated with this be taken from Genesis 12 through Malachi. Captivity would also fit in.

There is, no doubt, some value in the 7 C's scheme, even if one doesn't agree with the dates put forth by Answers in Genesis, or their ideas on the geographic extent of the Flood. But there's a lot of God's revelation left out.

On January 25, 2022, I added this:
Not only does the 7 C's scheme leave out some important scriptures and people, but it includes a minor story, that of the tower of Babel. That story occurs in only one chapter of Genesis, and, so far as I can determine, is not referred to anywhere else in the Bible.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 09, 2020

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, 19

Blessed Saviour!  with my whole heart I do bless Thee for the appointment of the inner chamber, as the school where Thou meetest each of Thy pupils alone, and revealest to him the Father.  O my Lord!  strengthen my faith so in the Father’s tender love and kindness, that as often as I feel sinful or troubled, the first instinctive thought may be to go where I know the Father waits me, and where prayer never can go unblessed.  Let the thought that He knows my need before I ask, bring me, in great restfulness of faith, to trust that He will give what His child requires.  O let the place of secret prayer become to me the most beloved spot of earth.

And, Lord!  hear me as I pray that Thou wouldest everywhere bless the closets of Thy believing people. Let Thy wonderful revelation of a Father’s tenderness free all young Christians from every thought of secret prayer as a duty or a burden, and lead them to regard it as the highest privilege of their life, a joy and a blessing.  Bring back all who are discouraged, because they cannot find ought to bring Thee in prayer.  O give them to understand that they have only to come with their emptiness to Him who has all to give, and delights to do it.  Not, what they have to bring the Father, but what the Father waits to give them, be their one thought.


And bless especially the inner chamber of all Thy servants who are working for Thee,as the place where God’s truth and God’s grace is revealed to them, where they are daily anointed with fresh oil, where their strength is renewed, and the blessings are received in faith, with which they are to bless their fellow-men.  Lord, draw us all in the closet nearer to Thyself and the Father.  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, February 05, 2020

Sunspots 766


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




Christianity: The prayer of Senate chaplain Barry Black, at an invocation during the recent Senate impeachment meetings.

Environment: The Trump administration plans to weaken protections for migratory birds.


Health: The Centers for Disease Control has published statistics on the leading causes of death.

Politics: A Fox News host, who says he's a big fan of Mike Pompeo, criticized the Secretary of State for his behavior, in an interview with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly. "Don't be such a baby" said the Fox host. An NPR reporter has been banned from taking a trip with Pompeo. There's a post from NPR, indicating what that organization felt about this, and how President Trump reacted.

Christianity Today discusses the Trump peace plan for Israel, and gives reactions of Christian Arab leaders.

Relevant reports that Jerry Falwell, and the governor of West Virginia, have urged some Virginia counties to secede from that state, and join West Virginia. Really.

A web page showing what city, in each state, has declined the most on population, recently, with explanations in some cases.

Science: Gizmodo reports that scientists have implanted manmade devices into jellyfish, and thereby sped up their swimming speed.


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

Thanks for looking!


Monday, February 03, 2020

Some occurences of the word, "shade" in the Bible


Some occurrences of the word, “shade,” in the Bible. Shade was important, sometimes even lifesaving, in Israel.

Psalm 121:5 Yahweh is your keeper. Yahweh is your shade on your right hand.

Isaiah 4:6 There will be a pavilion for a shade in the daytime from the heat, and for a refuge and for a shelter from storm and from rain.

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!

Isaiah 25:4 For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat, when the blast of the dreaded ones is like a storm against the wall.

Hosea 14:7 Men will dwell in his shade. They will revive like the grain, and blossom like the vine. Their fragrance will be like the wine of Lebanon. (This is from a prophecy about the restoration of Israel. There are more passages of this sort in the Old Testament.)

Jonah 4:5 Then Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made himself a booth, and sat under it in the shade, until he might see what would become of the city. 6 Yahweh God prepared a vine, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to deliver him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the vine. (As you probably know, God next prepared a worm, which killed the vine. Jonah was angry, but God rebuked him, pointing out that Jonah was more concerned about the vine than about the lives of thousands of Ninevites.)

All quotations from the World English Bible. Although the word is not found in the New Testament,  Revelation 7:16 says, of the Final Kingdom, They will never be hungry or thirsty any more. The sun won’t beat on them, nor any heat;

Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, February 02, 2020

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, 18

And now, all ye who have anew entered the school of Christ to be taught to pray, take these lessons, practise them, and trust Him to perfect you in them. Dwell much in the inner chamber, with the door shut—shut in from men, shut up with God; it is there the Father waits you, it is there Jesus will teach you to pray.  To be alone in secret with THE FATHER: this be your highest joy. To be assured that THE FATHER will openly reward the secret prayer, so that it cannot remain unblessed: this be your strength day by day.  And to know that THE FATHER knows that you need what you ask; this be your liberty to bring every need, in the assurance that your God will supply it according to His riches in Glory in Christ Jesus.
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.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Female coach in the Super Bowl

I have learned that there is a female coach on the sidelines for the 49ers, who are playing for the championship of the National Football League tomorrow. Good for the San Francisco team, and for her.

(Becky Hammon has been an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, of the National Basketball Association, since 2014.)