Good Stewardship

Photo Credit: microdrips.com

I am not sure if there is anything harder than being faithful in the little things. We live in a world that tells us bigger is better . . . a bigger car, a bigger house, a bigger office, a bigger title, a bigger paycheck, a bigger bank account. The list is endless.

First, let me say that bigger is not always better. Bigger often brings with it a much bigger headache and heartache. But, if God does indeed have something bigger in his plans for your life, you can be assured of one thing – you will not get it until you have been faithful in the little things you have already been given. In other words, God is calling each one of us to grow where we are planted. Why? Because this is the place we currently are, and until we are faithful with what we have, God will not give to us what we desire.
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 25:23).
In reading the entire parable, it is important that we do not narrow the focus to the world of finance. The point of the parable is rooted in the truth that we have all been given gifts, talents and abilities from God, and we are expected to use what we have been given to expand the cause of His Kingdom.

Entrusted with talents
Another point in this parable is found in the fact that each servant was entrusted with a different level of talents. God has not created us equal regarding our gifts, talents and abilities.
One of the great challenges in the church today comes under the heading of comparing. We compare what we have been given with what someone else has been given. When we come up short, we feel cheated or at least not as valuable or usable by God. This keeps many stuck in the pews, which is exactly what the devil wants. Remember, the two servants in the story who did put their talents to good use are praised identically. They did the best they would with what God had given to them. Jesus makes it perfectly clear that we have all been called to serve him. Regardless of what we have been given, little or much, the Bible knows nothing of the idle saint. Yet, just a cursory glance around and we can see how some do much with little, and some do little with much. So, what are you doing in service to your Lord with what he has given to you in which to serve him?

A willing heart
Perhaps there is no greater story in the Bible about faithfulness in little things than the boy with five loaves and two small fish. Faithfulness in little things was indeed a very BIG thing in the feeding of the five thousand. When Jesus told his disciples to tell the people to sit down so they could be fed, they could not imagine how this would be possible. The only one who had anything was a little boy and what he had was not much. But he was faithful in the little things and gave what he had – five loaves and two fish – to Jesus who multiplied it to feed the multitudes and they even had leftovers.
Jesus is contrasting the disciples with the little boy in this story. They saw what they believed could not happen with so little, while the little boy saw what he believed could happen. The disciples saw the challenge before them. The little boy saw the Christ before him. The disciples focused on what they did not have. The little boy focused on what he did have. Faithfulness in little things a BIG thing.

So, where in your life right now is Jesus calling you to be faithful in the little things? Is it in giving your time to serve the Lord? In your finances? In your evangelism? In your personal devotion with God? God has given you everything you need to do everything He is calling you to do, right where this finds you. Like the little boy with the meager meal, give what little you have in the service of your Lord, and watch him return to you multiple blessings.
God is in the business of making much out of little because then there can be no doubt that the glory belongs to God alone.

Timing

Photo: Danube River at dusk.

Many times we heard that “timing is important” – and rightly so. When we ask our Boss for a new computer, a new car, a salary increase, additional allowance, or a better work schedule, we always wait patiently for the right time and the right opportunity and then we strike! A missed timing ends in a missed opportunity. A bad timing may not yield a good result.
The ancient Greeks had two words for time:

“Chronos” – the chronological time; or the linear time

“Kairos” – the perfect time (right place/right time/right person/right opportunity); or God’s time

God’s plan for our lives is best understood and realized in its perfect time or in God’s kairos. Over the years, God’s kairos in my life has been pretty amazing. Fresh from high school, I meet a Christian who shared his faith to me back in 1988. I did not plan it – God did. I was exactly at the right place at the right time in the right circumstances and then God sent the right person. I chose to become a Christian not because I fully understood everything at that time but because I believe the message of salvation.

In John 4:23, the Bible says, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks”.

God seeks men who want to worship Him. This is what God desires, what He craves more than anything else. The Greek equivalent for “seek” is “zeteo” which is translated as ‘to seek in order to find; to crave; to desire”. If God is seeking us, the next logical question is this:

Are We seeking God?
In Acts 17:10-11, we can find that the Bereans are painstakingly studying the word of God to see if what Paul said to them is true, and with great eagerness they received the message about Jesus. We must read and study the Bible daily to build deep convictions about God. The more we seek God, the more He draws us near to Him.

In God’s kairos, all things are possible for those who love God. “God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect”. (Hebrews 11:40)

The Fall of Jericho

A very informative article from Associates of Biblical Research website, written by Bryant Wood.

The name “Jericho” brings to mind Israelites marching, trumpets sounding and walls falling down. It is a wonderful story of faith and victory, but did it really happen? The skeptic would say no, it is merely a folk tale to explain the ruins at Jericho. The main reason for this negative outlook is the excavations at the site carried out in the 1950s under the direction of British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon. She concluded,
“It is a sad fact that of the town walls of the Late Bronze Age, within which period the attack by the Israelites must fall by any dating, not a trace remains . . .. The excavation of Jericho, therefore, has thrown no light on the walls of Jericho of which the destruction is so vividly described in the Book of Joshua.”1

Thomas A. Holland, who was editor and co-author of Kenyon’s excavation reports, summarized the apparent results as follows:
“Kenyon concluded, with reference to the military conquest theory and the LB [Late Bronze Age] walls, that there was no archaeological data to support the thesis that the town had been surrounded by a wall at the end of LB I [ca. 1400 B.C.].”2
However, a careful examination of the archaeological evidence collected throughout this century leads to quite another conclusion.

Fortifications of Jericho
Before the Israelites entered the promised land, Moses told them that they were now about to cross the Jordan river, to dispossess nations which were greater and stronger than themselves, with large cities having walls that reached, as it were, to the sky (Deuteronomy 9:1). The meticulous work of Kenyon showed that Jericho was indeed heavily fortified and that it had been burned by fire. Unfortunately, she misdated her finds, resulting in what seemed to be a discrepancy between the discoveries of archaeology and the Bible. She concluded that the Bronze Age city of Jericho was destroyed about 1550 B.C. by the Egyptians. An in-depth analysis of the evidence, however, reveals that the destruction took place around 1400 B.C. (end of the Late Bronze I period), exactly when the Bible says the conquest occurred.3

The mound, or “tell” of Jericho was surrounded by a great earthen rampart, or embankment, with a stone retaining wall at its base. The retaining wall was some four to five meters (12–15 feet) high. On top of that was a mudbrick wall two meters (six feet) thick and about six to eight meters (20–26 feet) high.4 At the crest of the embankment was a similar mudbrick wall whose base was roughly 14 meters (46 feet) above the ground level outside the retaining wall (see diagram). This is what loomed high above the Israelites as they marched around the city each day for seven days. Humanly speaking, it was impossible for the Israelites to penetrate the impregnable bastion of Jericho.
Within the upper wall was an area of approximately six acres, while the total area of the upper city and fortification system was 50% larger, or about nine acres. Based on the archaeologist’s rule of thumb of 200 persons per acre, the population of the upper city would have been about 1,200. However, from excavations carried out by a German team in the first decade of this century, we know that people were also living on the embankment between the upper and lower city walls. In addition, those Canaanites living in surrounding villages would have fled to Jericho for safety. Thus, we can assume that there were several thousand people inside the walls when the Israelites came against the city.

The fallen walls
The citizens of Jericho were well prepared for a siege. A copious spring which provided water for ancient, as well as modern, Jericho lay inside the city walls. At the time of the attack, the harvest had just been taken in (Joshua 3:15), so the citizens had an abundant supply of food. This has been borne out by many large jars full of grain found in the Canaanite homes by John Garstang in his excavation in the 1930s and also by Kenyon. With a plentiful food supply and ample water, the inhabitants of Jericho could have held out for perhaps several years.

After the seventh trip around the city on the seventh day, Scripture tells us that the wall “fell down flat” (Joshua 6:20). The Hebrew here carries the suggestion that it “fell beneath itself.”5 Is there evidence for such an event at Jericho? It turns out that there is ample evidence that the mudbrick city wall collapsed and was deposited at the base of the stone retaining wall at the time the city met its end.
Kenyon’s work was the most detailed. On the west side of the tell, at the base of the retaining, or revetment, wall, she found,
“fallen red bricks piling nearly to the top of the revetment. These probably came from the wall on the summit of the bank [and/or] . . . the brickwork above the revetment.”6
In other words, she found a heap of bricks from the fallen city walls! An Italian team excavating at the southern end of the mound in 1997 found exactly the same thing.

According to the Bible, Rahab’s house was incorporated into the fortification system (Joshua 2:15). If the walls fell, how was her house spared? As you recall, the spies had instructed Rahab to bring her family into her house and they would be rescued. When the Israelites stormed the city, Rahab and her family were saved as promised (Joshua 2:12–21, 6:17, 22–23). At the north end of the tell of Jericho, archaeologists made some astounding discoveries that seem to relate to Rahab.

The German excavation of 1907–1909 found that on the north a short stretch of the lower city wall did not fall as everywhere else. A portion of that mudbrick wall was still standing to a height of over two meters (eight feet).4 What is more, there were houses built against the wall! It is quite possible that this is where Rahab’s house was.7 Since the city wall formed the back wall of the houses, the spies could have readily escaped. From this location on the north side of the city it was only a short distance to the hills of the Judean wilderness where the spies hid for three days (Joshua 2:16, 22). Real estate values must have been low here, since the houses were positioned on the embankment between the upper and lower city walls. Not the best place to live in time of war! This area was no doubt the overflow from the upper city and the poor part of town, perhaps even a slum district.

After the city walls fell, how did the Israelites surmount the four to five meter (12–15 foot) high retaining wall at the base of the tell? Excavations have shown that the bricks from the collapsed walls formed a ramp against the retaining wall so that the Israelites could merely climb up over the top. The Bible is very precise in its description of how the Israelites entered the city: “the people went up into the city, every man straight before him [i.e., straight up and over],” (Joshua 6:20). The Israelites had to go up, and that is what archaeology has revealed. They had to go from ground level at the base of the tell to the top of the rampart in order to enter the city.

Destruction by fire
The Israelites burned the city and everything in it (Joshua 6:24). Once again, the discoveries of archaeology have verified the truth of this record. A portion of the city destroyed by the Israelites was excavated on the east side of the tell. Wherever the archaeologists reached this level they found a layer of burned ash and debris about one meter (three feet) thick. Kenyon described the massive devastation as follows.
“The destruction was complete. Walls and floors were blackened or reddened by fire, and every room was filled with fallen bricks, timbers, and household utensils; in most rooms the fallen debris was heavily burnt, but the collapse of the walls of the eastern rooms seems to have taken place before they were affected by the fire.”8
Both Garstang and Kenyon found many storage jars full of grain that had been caught in the fiery destruction. This is a unique find in the annals of archaeology. Grain was valuable, not only as a source of food, but also as a commodity which could be bartered. Under normal circumstances, valuables such as grain would have been plundered by the conquerors. Why was the grain left at Jericho? The Bible provides the answer. Joshua commanded the Israelites that the city and all that is in it were to be dedicated to the Lord (Joshua 6:17, lit. Heb.).

The grain left at Jericho and found by archaeologists in modern times gives graphic testimony to the obedience of the Israelites nearly three-and-a-half millennia ago. Only Achan disobeyed, leading to the debacle at Ai described in Joshua 7.
Such a large quantity of grain left untouched gives silent testimony to the truth of yet another aspect of the biblical account. A heavily fortified city with an abundant supply of food and water would normally take many months, even years, to subdue. The Bible says that Jericho fell after only seven days. The jars found in the ruins of Jericho were full, showing that the siege was short since the people inside the walls consumed very little of the grain.

Lessons of Jericho
Jericho was once thought to be a “Bible problem” because of the seeming disagreement between archaeology and the Bible. When the archaeology is correctly interpreted, however, just the opposite is the case. The archaeological evidence supports the historical accuracy of the biblical account in every detail. Every aspect of the story that could possibly be verified by the findings of archaeology is, in fact, verified.

There are many ideas as to how the walls of Jericho came down. Both Garstang and Kenyon found evidence of earthquake activity at the time the city met its end. If God did use an earthquake to accomplish His purposes that day, it was still a miracle since it happened at precisely the right moment, and was manifested in such a way as to protect Rahab’s house. No matter what agency God used, it was ultimately He who, through the faith of the Israelites, brought the walls down. After the people had marched around them for seven days, it was “by faith the walls of Jericho fell down” (Hebrews 11:30).
As well as showing us how vital it is not to discount the Bible because of some apparent conflict with secular scholarship, Jericho is a wonderful spiritual lesson for God’s people yet today. There are times when we find ourselves facing enormous “walls” that are impossible to break down by human strength. If we put our faith in God and follow His commandments, He will perform “great and mighty things” (Jeremiah 33:3) and give us the victory.

Bryant Wood is an internationally recognized authority on the archaeology of Jericho. He is director of the Associates for Biblical Research, and also director of the Kh. el-Maqatir Excavation in Israel.
For more information on archaeology and the Bible, or to go on a dig in Israel with Dr Wood, contact the Associates for Biblical Research, PO Box 356, Landisville, PA 17538 (or call 800.430.0008).

Footnotes

  1. Kathleen M. Kenyon, Digging Up Jericho, London, Ernest Benn, pp. 261–62, 1957.
  2. Thomas A. Holland, Jericho, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, Vol.3, pp. 220–24, ed. Eric. M. Myers, New York, Oxford University Press, p. 223, 1997.
  3. Bryant G. Wood, Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho?, Biblical Archaeology Review 16(2):44–58, March–April 1990.
  4. Ernst Sellin and Carl Watzinger, Jericho die Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen, Osnabrück, Otto Zeller Verlag, p. 58, 1973 (reprint of the 1913 edition).
  5. The root of the word tahteyha in Joshua 6:5, 20 is tahath, meaning “underneath,” “below” with a reflexive 3rd feminine singular pronominal suffix ha referring back to hômah, “wall.”
  6. Kathleen M. Kenyon, Excavations at Jericho, 3:110, London, British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, 1981.
  7. The Hebrew phrase in Joshua 2:15 is beqîr hahômah. Usually qîr means a small wall, but can also indicate the vertical surface of a wall. Brown, Driver and Briggs” lexicon suggests this for Joshua 2:15 (p. 885), and in this case the preposition be would mean “against’(p. 89). Thus, literally, “her house [was built] against [the] vertical surface of the [city] wall.”
  8. Kenyon, Excavations at Jericho, 3:370.

Inaccuracies in Radio-carbon dating

A great article from: https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-science-space/inaccuracies-radiocarbon-calibrations-historical-021930

Comparison-of-Radiocarbon-Dates

Comparison of Radiocarbon Dates to Calendar Dates. Radiocarbon dates underestimate the actual age of the objects being dated, because the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 has not been constant over time. (Source: Howard Morland/ CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Radiocarbon dating is a key tool archaeologists use to determine the age of plants and objects made with organic material. But new research shows that commonly accepted radiocarbon dating standards can miss the mark — calling into question historical timelines.

Archaeologist Sturt Manning and colleagues have revealed variations in the radiocarbon cycle at certain periods of time, affecting frequently cited standards used in archaeological and historical research relevant to the southern Levant region, which includes Israel, southern Jordan and Egypt. These variations, or offsets, of up to 20 years in the calibration of precise radiocarbon dating could be related to climatic conditions.

“We went looking to test the assumption behind the whole field of radiocarbon dating,” Manning said. “We know from atmospheric measurements over the last 50 years that radiocarbon levels vary through the year, and we also know that plants typically grow at different times in different parts of the Northern Hemisphere. So we wondered whether the radiocarbon levels relevant to dating organic material might also vary for different areas and whether this might affect archaeological dating.”

Juniperus-phoenicea

Juniperus phoenicea sample from Taybet Zaman, Jordan. Credit: Sturt Manning/Cornell University

The authors measured a series of carbon-14 ages in southern Jordan tree rings, with established calendar dates between 1610 and 1940 AD. They found that contemporary plant material growing in the southern Levant shows an average offset in radiocarbon age of about 19 years compared the current Northern Hemisphere standard calibration curve.

Manning noted that “scholars working on the early Iron Age and Biblical chronology in Jordan and Israel are doing sophisticated projects with radiocarbon age analysis, which argue for very precise findings. This then becomes the timeline of history. But our work indicates that it’s arguable their fundamental basis is faulty — they are using a calibration curve that is not accurate for this region.”

Applying their results to previously published chronologies, the researchers show how even the relatively small offsets they observe can shift calendar dates by enough to alter ongoing archaeological, historical and paleoclimate debates.

“There has been much debate for several decades among scholars arguing for different chronologies sometimes only decades to a century apart — each with major historical implications. And yet these studies … may all be inaccurate since they are using the wrong radiocarbon information,” Manning said.

“Our work,” he added, “should prompt a round of revisions and rethinking for the timeline of the archaeology and early history of the southern Levant through the early Biblical period.”

 

References:

The article, originally titled ‘ Inaccuracies in radiocarbon dating ’ was originally published on Science Daily.

Source: Cornell University. “Inaccuracies in radiocarbon dating.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2018. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180605112057.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did God created dinosaurs on creation week?

Photo Credit: YouTube.com

Article taken from: https://www.allaboutgod.com/faq/dinosaurs.htm

Many people don’t realize that paleontology (the study of past geological ages based primarily on the study of fossils) is a relatively new science. In fact, the concept of “dinosaurs” only surfaced in its present form less than 180 years ago. Prior to that, anyone who found a large fossilized bone assumed it came from an elephant, dragon or giant. It wasn’t until 1841 that English scientist Richard Owens suggested that the group of “newly discovered” animals be called “dinosaurs” (meaning, “terrible lizards”). Therefore, we shouldn’t expect to see dinosaurs in the Bible, but we should expect to see descriptions of “dragons” and other large creatures. In fact, we do!

A search for the word “dragon” in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible produces 34 separate matches across 10 different books written between approximately 2000 BC and 90 AD. The word “dragon” ( Hebrew: tannin) is used throughout the Old Testament, and most directly translates as “sea or land monsters.” Interestingly, Genesis 1:21 describes God’s creation of sea dragons (tannin) on the 5th day. Today’s Bible translations use the following terms instead: “great whales” (KJV), “the great creatures of the sea” (NIV), “the great sea monsters” (NASB), and “great sea creatures” (NLT, NKJV). However, the original Hebrew is more descriptive of the sea-going dinosaurs we now see in numerous museums throughout the world. Even more dramatic is the Book of Job, where the author describes the great land creature, Behemoth (Job 40), and the great water creature, Leviathan (Job 41). Although the latest Bible translations use the words elephant, hippo or crocodile instead of Behemoth and Leviathan, the original Hebrew and the context of the descriptions do not allow for these interpretations.

Descriptions of dinosaur-like creatures are nearly universal throughout the world’s ancient cultures. Where did this global concept originate? How did societies throughout the world describe, record, draw, etch, sew and carve such creatures in such uniformity, if they did not witness these creatures during their lifetimes? Of course, these accounts are by no means limited to the Bible. Dragon accounts from China, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America share similar accounts of dinosaur-like beasts. Records of Marco Polo in China show that the royal house kept dragons for ceremonies, and records of the Greek historian Herodotus and the Jewish historian Josephus describe flying reptiles in ancient Egypt and Arabia. In many cultures it was a great honor to kill these creatures. There are numerous records of warriors killing great beasts in order to establish credibility in a village. Gilgamesh, Fafnir, Beowulf and other famous legends, including the mythology of Egypt, Greece and Rome, provide specific descriptions of dragons and other dinosaur-like creatures.

Dinosaurs are depicted on numerous objects of ancient art throughout the world. Dinosaur-like creatures are featured on Babylonian landmarks, Roman mosaics, Asian pottery and royal robes, Egyptian burial shrouds and government seals, Peruvian burial stones and tapestries, Mayan sculptures, Aboriginal and Native American petroglyphs (carved rock drawings), and many other pieces of ceremonial art throughout ancient cultures. If dinosaurs supposedly went extinct at least 50 million years ago, how did ancient man of the last few thousand years precisely and uniformly depict them? The Bible is clear — sea creatures were created by God on Day 5 and land creatures were created by God on Day 6. These creatures included dinosaurs, which co-existed with man until they died off for various reasons, including most dramatically, the worldwide flood of Noah .

 

 

 

Which came first: the chicken or the egg?

hen-2379722_1280

An interesting read from Genesis and Genetics website (genesisandgenetics.org)

This has been a topic of debate for more than 2000 years, but with the latest finding in genetics, it appears those who say the “chicken” are on the winning side. The present writer says the “chicken” based solely on the Biblical narrative, but I am pleased to pass on the recent scientific findings that support the Biblical stance.

We can start by summarizing what we know about chickens, eggs, and genetics:

Chickens and their eggs have the same DNA. A chicken’s DNA is set at conception and remains the same no matter the form: egg, chick, pullet, capon, hen or rooster.

Chickens are domestic animals whose purpose is laying eggs. Some lay up to 300 eggs per year.

Chickens have a gene which allows them to produce an egg with a shell in less than 24 hours. This gene is unique to chickens. No other egg-laying creature has it.

Chickens are a unique species: Gallus gallus. There are many colors, shapes, and sizes, but only one species.

Previously, those who accepted evolutionary biology said that the egg came first. This was based on the notion that a near chicken mated with another near chicken and produced a chicken egg. This chicken egg hatched and found another chicken that was conceived by two near chickens. The two chickens mated and Gallus gallus made its debut as a viable species. Case closed! Well, not quite! say some of their peers. Recent genetic studies found that chickens have a unique gene called ovocledidin-17 (Oc17) 1. Without the proteins produced by this gene, a chicken cannot lay an egg. This causes trouble with the “egg first” thinking since near chickens could not lay a chicken egg because they didn’t have the Oc17 gene. So, if the egg couldn’t come first, it had to be the chicken. It would be impossible for an egg from two near chickens to develop a complex gene which produces a protein with 142 amino acids. You would need two eggs that could accomplish this feat and coexist at the same time and place. This defies any imagination of probability and is a severe problem for those putting their money on the egg. The ancient philosopher, whoever he or she was, couldn’t have picked a worse example for the evolutionists. He or she could have picked any other egg-laying creature and would have avoided this inconvenient truth. On the other hand, for we creationists, the Bible is once again shown to be Rock solid.

It must be said that the evolutionary stance is still not dead. The chicken is said to be the closest living relative to the T-rex (Tyrannosaurus rex). Since we do know whether T-Rex had the Oc17 gene, the case is not closed.

Now, let’s look at the Biblical narrative. The Bible says that all things were created in six days, this includes the wild and domestic birds. The Bible also states that all things were created after their kind and that they reproduce after their kinds. Therefore, the Bible, which does not change with the ages or “latest” hypotheses is and has always been clear:

Gallus gallus was created during the first six days of the creation. It was a chicken and it mated with other chickens that were also created during the creation week.

Gallus gallus reproduces after its kind and produces more chickens.

The chicken was created for man. It has the ovocledidin-17 protein which separates them from other species and allows us to raise chickens and have plenty of fresh eggs.

Also, the Gallus gallus species has sufficient genetic diversity to produce egg laying chickens and meat chickens. Some chickens lay beautifully colored eggs and some chickens have silky feathers. They were divinely created for us. They are like dogs, they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors to be useful and pleasing to mankind.

Dear friends and children, the Bible gets it right every time. It is Rock solid and can be trusted, eternally.

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gene/100313508

 

A Memo from Heaven

Taken from “A Memo from God” @christiansunite.com

A Memo from God. Photo Credit: slideshare.net/vparakhiya
A Memo from God. Photo Credit: slideshare.net/vparakhiya

I am God. Today I will be handling all of your problems. Please remember that I do not need your help. If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. It will be addressed in My time, not yours. Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it.

If you find yourself stuck in traffic, don’t despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.

Should you have a bad day at work, think of the man who has been out of work for years.

Should you despair over a relationship gone bad, think of the person who has never known what it’s like to love and be loved in return.

Should you grieve the passing of another weekend, think of the man in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week to feed his children.

Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance, think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.

Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror, think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.

Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking what is my purpose? Be thankful. There are those who didn’t live long enough to get the opportunity.

Should you find yourself the victim of other people’s bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities, remember, things could be worse: You could be them!!!!

 

Taken from:

http://jokes.christiansunite.com/God/Memo_From_God.shtml

 

Is there a language of angels?

Adam naming the animals. Photo credit: creationmusuem.org
Adam naming the animals. Photo credit: creationmusuem.org

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  1Corinthians 13:1

In the above text, the subtle distinction between “of men” and “of angels” may suggest that there is a difference between the two and was known to the early church in Corinth.

While the phrase “tongues of men” is probably a reference to the various human languages in use at that time, the phrase “of angels” could possibly refer to an ancient, angelic language which is distinct from the language of men.

From the Genesis accounts, Adam was created by God on the sixth day of creation. Angels, on the other hand, were also created beings. They were created by God himself, in a span of time between Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 1:2 – if indeed such a timeframe could be chronologically expressed.

One of the oldest books in the Old Testament, the book of Job, describes how the angels ‘shouted for joy” when the earth was first created (Job 38:7). We may take note that there were no human beings at this time in Genesis chapter 1. As we said earlier, Adam and Eve were created much later in day six.

This leaves us with an interesting question: how could the angels shout for joy if they don’t have an intelligible, cognitive speech, or, some form of language, that can be understood? How the author would know that it was the angels who shouted, or, if indeed it was a shout, and that it was of joy?

Adam and Eve enjoyed a perfect fellowship with in the first few days of their creation. An interesting account in Genesis chapter two (2) can be found where Adam gave names to every animal that can be found in the garden of Eden. To do such a feat, he needed to articulate some form of verbal speech. What kind of language did Adam used during the naming ceremony? There is no clear answer. But what is clear is that he did use some kind of language to accomplish that.

It must be something hard-wired into his DNA or native to his constitution as a being created into the image and likeness of God. Remember that he was created a grown-up man, not as baby so when he speaks it must be something that God enabled him to do so. But how do we call that language?

When Adam woke up or rather had his first consciousness after God gave him the breath of life, we can assume that he is fully conversant and that he knows this ancient language by heart and can immediately speak of it naturally.

During the Fall of Man in the book of Genesis, we find the Biblical account how the serpent tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. Remember that the tempter is a fallen angel – he was formerly a cherub, one of the guardians of God’s holy throne and His glory. How could the tempter communicate with Eve in a manner that she can fully comprehend? As the only human beings at that time, Adam and Eve may have spoken of this ancient angelic language that the angels knew of to be able to communicate. This is clearly alluded to in the Biblical account.

From Genesis chapter one (1) to nine (9), it would seem to imply that there was only one language – even during the time when man began to increase in number and began to populate large areas of the earth.

In Genesis chapter ten (10), the different nations that have evolved from the sons of Noah seemed to have developed their own kind of language. But in Genesis chapter eleven (11), at the Tower of Babel, a divine intervention confounded the language of men; they soon find it difficult to understand one another.

So, is there an ancient language that only the angels and the men of old knew about? If so, does this mean that when all the believers would one day join the Creator in heaven, would they be able to speak such language as the LORD would enable?

Harder questions to answer. But maybe worth contemplating.

Why we haven’t found aliens yet?

Why we haven’t found aliens yet?

Matt Williams, Universe Today

Twin Stars. Photo Credit: iflscience.com
Twin Stars. Photo Credit: iflscience.com

Below is an article taken from Universe Today written by Matt WIlliams.

 

One astronomer has an unsettling reason for why we haven’t found aliens yet

If there are billions of star systems in our galaxy, and the conditions needed for life are not so rare, then where are all the aliens?

In 1950, physicist Enrico Fermi raised a very important question about the Universe and the existence of extra-terrestrial life.

Given the size and age of the Universe, he stated, and the statistical probability of life emerging in other solar systems, why is it that humanity has not seen any indications of intelligent life in the cosmos?

This query, known as the Fermi Paradox, continues to haunt us to this day.

If, indeed, there are billions of star systems in our galaxy, and the conditions needed for life are not so rare, then where are all the aliens?

According to a recent paper by researchers at Australian National University’s Research School of Earth Sciences, the answer may be simple: They’re all dead. In what the research teams calls the “Gaian Bottleneck,” the solution to this paradox may be that life is so fragile that most of it simply doesn’t make it.

To put this in perspective, let’s first consider some of the numbers. As of the penning of this article, scientists have discovered a total of 2,049 planets in 1,297 planetary systems, including 507 multiple planetary systems. In addition, a report issued in 2013 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA indicated that, based on Kepler mission data, there could be as many as 40 billion Earth-sized planets orbiting in the habitable zones of Sun-like stars and red dwarfs within the Milky Way, and that 11 billion of these may be orbiting Sun-like stars.

So really, there should be no shortage of alien civilizations out there. And given that some scientists estimate that our galaxy is over 13 billion years old, there’s been no shortage of time for some of that life to evolve and crate all the necessary technology to reach out and find us. But according to Dr. Aditya Chopra, the lead author on the ANU paper, one needs take into account that the evolutionary process is filled with its share of hurdles.

“Early life is fragile, so we believe it rarely evolves quickly enough to survive,” he says. “Most early planetary environments are unstable. To produce a habitable planet, life forms need to regulate greenhouse gases such as water and carbon dioxide to keep surface temperatures stable.”

Consider our Solar System. We all know that planet Earth has all the right elements to give rise to life as we know it. It sits within the Sun’s so-called Goldilocks Zone (aka habitable zone), it has liquid water on its surface, an atmosphere, and a magnetosphere to protect this atmosphere and ensure that life on the surface isn’t exposed to too much radiation. As such, Earth is the only place in our Solar System where life is known to thrive.

But what about Venus and Mars? Both of these planets sit within the Sun’s Goldilocks Zone and might have had microbial life on them at one time. But roughly 3 billion years ago, when life on Earth was beginning to convert the Earth’s primordial atmosphere by producing oxygen, Venus and Mars both underwent cataclysmic change.

Whereas Venus experienced a runaway Greenhouse Effect and became the hot, hostile world it is today, Mars lost its atmosphere and surface water and became the cold, desiccated place it is today. So whereas Earth’s microbial life played a key role in stabilizing our environment, any lifeforms on Venus and Mars would have been wiped out by the sudden temperature extremes.

NASA Goddard Spaceflight CenterVenus transiting the sun as seen from Earth.

In other words, when considering the likelihood of life in the cosmos, we need to look beyond the mere statistics and consider whether or not it may come down to an “emergence bottleneck.” Essentially, those planets where lifeforms fail to emerge quickly enough, thus stabilizing the planet and paving the way for more life, will be doomed to remain uninhabited.

In their report, “The Case for a Gaian Bottleneck: The Biology of Habitability” — which appears in the first issue of Astrobiology for 2016 — Dr. Chopra and his associates summarize their argument as follows:

If life emerges on a planet, it only rarely evolves quickly enough to regulate greenhouse gases and albedo, thereby maintaining surface temperatures compatible with liquid water and habitability. Such a Gaian bottleneck suggests that (i) extinction is the cosmic default for most life that has ever emerged on the surfaces of wet rocky planets in the Universe and (ii) rocky planets need to be inhabited to remain habitable.

While potentially depressing, this theory does offer a resolution to the Fermi Paradox. Given the sheer number of warm, wet terrestrial planets in the Milky Way Galaxy, there ought to be at least a few thousand civilizations kicking around. And of those, surely there are a few who have climbed their way up the Kardashev Scale and built something like a Dyson Sphere, or at least some flying saucers!

And yet, not only have we not detected any signs of life in other solar systems, but the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) hasn’t detecting any radio waves from other star systems since its inception. The only possible explanations for this are that either life is far more rare than we think, or that we aren’t looking in the right places. In the former case, an emergence bottleneck may be the reason why life has been so hard to find.

But if the latter possibility should be the case, it means our methodology needs to change. So far, all of our searches have been for the “low-hanging fruit” of alien life — looking for signs of it on warm, watery planets like our own. Perhaps life does exist out there, but in more complex and exotic forms that we have yet to consider. Or, as is often suggested, it is possible that extra-terrestrial life is taking great pains to avoid us.

Regardless, Fermi’s Paradox has endured for over 50 years, and will continue to endure until such time that we make contact with an extra-terrestrial civilization. In the meantime, all we can do is speculate. To quote Arthur C. Clarke, “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”

Read the original article on Universe Today. Copyright 2016. Follow Universe Today on Twitter.

Search for Intelligent Aliens

Search For Intelligent Aliens Near Bizarre Dimming Star Has Begun

by Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer   |   October 19, 2015 07:30am ET

SETI Alien Telescope. Photo Credit: Space.com
SETI Allen Telescope. Photo Credit: Space.com

Here’s an article from Space.com that will help clarify all the buzz recently caused by the discovery of dramatic dimming of NASA’s Kepler Space telescope in a star 1,500 light years away from planet earth.

The search for signs of life in a mysterious star system hypothesized to potentially harbor an “alien mega-structure” is now underway. Astronomers have begun using the Allen Telescope Array (ATA), a system of radio dishes about 300 miles (483 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco, to hunt for signals coming from the vicinity of KIC 8462852, a star that lies 1,500 light-years from Earth.

NASA’s Kepler space telescope found that KIC 8462852 dimmed oddly and dramatically several times over the past few years. The dimming events were far too substantial to be caused by a planet crossing the star’s face, researchers say, and other possible explanations, such as an enormous dust cloud, don’t add up, either.

The leading hypothesis at the moment involves a swarm of comets that may have been sent careening toward KIC 8462852, possibly after a gravitational jostle by a passing star. But it’s also possible, astronomers say, that the signal Kepler saw was caused by huge structures built by an alien civilization — say, a giant assortment of orbiting solar panels.

That latter possibility, remote though it may be, has put KIC 8462852 in the crosshairs of scientists who hunt for signals that may have been generated by intelligent aliens. “We are looking at it with the Allen Telescope Array,” said Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, California.

Do you believe alien life exists elsewhere in the universe?

“No problem with that; I think we ought to, for sure,” Shostak told Space.com. But, he added, people “should perhaps moderate their enthusiasm with the lessons of history.”

Shostak cited the example of pulsars, fast-spinning, superdense stellar corpses that emit beams of high-energy radiation. These beams are picked up by instruments on and around Earth as regular pulses, because they can only be detected when they’re fired straight at the planet (an event that occurs at predictable intervals because of pulsars’ rotation).

Astronomers know all this now. But in the 1960s, when the first pulsar signals were discovered, some scientists interpreted them as possible alien transmissions. “So history suggests we’re going to find an explanation for this that doesn’t involve Klingons, if you will,” Shostak said of the KIC 8462852 mystery. But until such an explanation is found, the intelligent-aliens hypothesis will still be on the table, even if the ATA and other instruments like it come up empty. The lack of a detectable signal, after all, does not establish that KIC 8462852 is a lifeless system.

The star may support lifeforms that do not emit signals we can pick up, for example. Or it may once have hosted a civilization that has since gone extinct, leaving the strange megastructure as a sort of monument.  Kepler’s main planet-hunting work suggests that the Milky Way galaxy teems with billions of rocky, potentially habitable planets. So KIC 8462852 is far from the only lead that Shostak and his colleagues will be chasing down in the coming years.

“It almost doesn’t matter where you point your telescope, because there are planets everywhere,” Shostak said. “If there’s somebody out there, there are going to be so many of them out there that I do think there’s a chance.”