This is going to be a very quick update. I have the busiest week on tap that I’ve had in a memory with something every day, sometimes multiple events, as well as preaching for a service on Saturday evening.
The events include two dinners with my being boss in town, a Field Committee meeting tomorrow morning, a seminary lunch and board meeting in the afternoon. the normal Wednesday fellowship on Wednesday morning, a meeting with the principal ofo UCC and a funeral after that; the monthly pastor’s prayer meeting on Thursday morning, lunch with a friend's family who formerly lived in Hong Kong; an asylum seeker planning meeting on Friday morning; the graduation ceremony of UCC- Kowloon East on Saturday afternoon and preaching for the Saturday service in Yan Yue; then leading the worship songs on Sunday for RiverGrace.
I’m glad there are not too many weeks like this one! But, anyhow, they’re important events/meetings, and we need God’s wisdom and blessings for all of them, so please remember them in your prayers.
Make it a great week! Blessings, Dave
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT "OMG"
I was sitting at a sporting event, when the lovely, Christian lady beside me shouted, "Oh, my God!" as her child made a mistake. I cringed inside. And then I wondered, "does she know?" Does she know that the Bible tells us not to use God's name in vain?
And honestly, this is not unusual. I hear Christians do this all of the time. Many are wonderful people who obviously love the Lord. Is it because we just don't hear this called sin anymore? Are we so hardened to the use of His name due to the company we keep and the entertainment that we fill our minds with, that we just didn't notice when we started doing it, too?
Exodus 20 is where we find the ten commandments. The third commandment is "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain."
We are not to use God's name as a curse word. We are not to use His name lightly. If we study who God is, we understand a bit more why this is such a grave sin. God is holy, sovereign, unchangeable, omnipotent, omniscient, faithful, patient, and merciful. This is just a short list of the adjectives that could be used to describe God, the One who made a way for us to be reconciled to Him through His son, Jesus Christ. If He is so awesome and so wonderful (and He is!), then we can understand why it is so important for us not to use His name when we are angry or surprised.
I am not writing this to point a finger or to make you feel guilty. Quite honestly, I have personally believed for a long time, that I probably shouldn't even say "Oh, my gosh!" It is obviously a sadly disguised copy of the original. And yet, I still struggle with it. You will still hear that come out of my mouth on occasion. Language is a hard thing to change. When we grow angry or are surprised, we tend to forget our speech in the heat of the moment.
My desire in writing, as always, is to make us think. We need to think about the words that come out of our mouths. If we are a redeemed soul saved by grace, then all of life should be lived intentionally to please our heavenly Father. May we recognize that taking God's name in vain in any form is offensive to the Holy God who saved us. And let's start today anew using our tongues to glorify God's name instead of curse it!
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From Bad to Worse (by Alan Smith)
Have you ever have one of those days when, no matter how hard you try, things just seem to go from bad to worse?
The story is told of two cowboys who were working cattle one day. One of them discovered he was in trouble when a wild bull, with his head down and nostrils flaring, came charging toward him. The cowboy saw a deep hole in the ground and quickly jumped in it. As soon as the bull passed over him, he jumped out of the hole.
The bull, madder than ever, came charging back again, and the cowboy jumped back down into the hole. When the bull passed, the cowboy jumped out of the hole again. He did this several times.
Finally, the other cowboy, who was watching it all from a distance yelled out, "Why don't you just stay in the hole?"
The cowboy yelled back, "I would, but there's a bear in the hole!"
Maybe some of you feel like every day is like that! If ever there was someone who must have felt that way, it was the apostle Paul, though. Listen to him describing his life as a Christian:
"From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness..." (2 Cor. 11:24-27)
Sounds like a man who ought to be miserable, doesn't it? I mean, how much can one man take? How much worse can it possibly get? It convicts me to read through that list as I think of the minor problems in my life that I allow to create a dark cloud over my life. If I had to deal with the problems on Paul's list on a daily basis, then I'd really have reason to moan and whine, "Why, me Lord? Why does life have to be so hard?"
The funny thing is, though, that wasn't Paul's reaction at all. He didn't list all those problems to garner sympathy. In fact, he finishes out this section by writing:
"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake....." (2 Cor. 12:10).
Taking pleasure in distresses? When is the last time you took pleasure in locking your keys in your car? When is the last time you took pleasure in running your cell phone through the washing machine (don't laugh! I actually did that this week)? When is the last time you took pleasure is hearing the news that you're getting laid off, the biopsy came back positive, or there was a terrible auto accident?
The "pleasure" in such things is not the ability to laugh and joke. The "pleasure" is found in the last half of 2 Cor 12:10, "...For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Everything that happens to me in life is a reminder that I don't have the power in myself only to fix everything that breaks in life, but I serve the One who does have that power. It is reminder that I sometimes don't know how I'm going to have the strength to cope, but I rest in the arms of the One who has promised to be there with me no matter what. I am His child.
"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12:10)
Whatever trials you are facing this day, may you find your strength in God.
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Signs Your Vet Bill Is Going To Require Financing
- The bill came with payment coupons.
- Your Doberman just ate the receptionist.
- "He has a very rare blood type. It's called '$$ Positive.'"
- He starts talking about extended quality of life, miracles of modern veterinary medicine and joint replacement procedures. You own a goldfish.
- They take away the blood sample on a sterling silver serving tray.
- The sad, pathetic whining in the exam room is coming from the owners.
- You suddenly realize where you've heard that low whistle before: from the plumber and the auto mechanic.
- "Do you have any idea how expensive hamster defibrillators are?"
- and the #1 Sign Your Veterinary Bill is Going to Require Financing: "We can rebuild him. Make him stronger, faster...."
"If you'll make the toast and pour the juice, Sweetheart," said the newlywed bride, "breakfast will be ready."
"Good, what are we having for breakfast?" asked the new husband.
"Toast and juice," she replied.
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One Sunday a pastor told the congregation that the church needed some extra money and asked the people to prayerfully consider giving a little extra in the offering plate. He said that whoever gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns.
After the offering plates were passed, the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had placed a $1,000 bill in offering. He was so excited that he immediately shared his joy with his congregation and said he'd like to personally thank the person who placed the money in the plate.
A very quiet, elderly, saintly lady all the way in the back shyly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front. Slowly she made her way to the pastor. He told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much and in thanksgiving asked her to pick out three hymns.
Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation, pointed to the three most handsome men in the building and said, "I'll take him, and him, and him."
Blessed 2 of 2
- Blessed are the religious nuclear engineers, for they shalt have critical mass.
- Blessed are students in Christian schools, for they shalt have good Principals.
- Blessed are the poor losers, for they shalt continue to diet.
- Blessed are those who are multi-lingual, for they shalt be misunderstood in many languages.
- Blessed are those who are in medical school, for they shall become ill-literate.
- Blessed are the unemployed jesters, for they shalt be nobody's fool.
- Blessed are the drama students, for they shalt be a class act.
- Blessed are the bridesmaids, for they shalt be wedding belles.
- Blessed are the landscapers, for they shalt be bushed.
- Blessed are they who do the ironing, for they shalt not be depressed.
- Blessed are the orchard growers, for their work shall not be fruitless.
- Blessed are they who avoid their in-laws, for they shalt not be relatively annoyed.
- Blessed are the candy-makers, for they shalt make a mint.
- Blessed are they who process lettuce, for they shalt see the tip of the iceberg.
- Blessed are they who own horses, for they shalt have stability.
- Blessed are they who play tennis, for love means nothing to them.
- Blessed are they that wrap leftovers, for they shalt be foiled again.
- Blessed are the fishermen, for they shalt have net income.
- Blessed are the musicians, for they shalt be noteworthy.
- Blessed are those who are tailors, for they shalt be suited for it.
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This photo and screen shot represent a typical workout for my walking / jogging routine. From Sai Sha Road I walk up and over past this communication/fire lookout tower on the center left. It is about 220 meters high from my start near sea level. Because I go down the back a ways and over a couple other hills over the course the elevation gain is over 300 meters. Ma On Sha is on the center right. This photo is taken from Sai Sha Road.
Ma On Shan
Tai Wan Village
Fei Ngo Shan
This particular walk recorded on my Garmin watch is about 6 - 8 minutes slower than before my surgery, so unfortunately the metal valve the put in has not made my bionic heart increase me speed! Anyhow, I'm just happy and grateful to be able to hike again.
This is one of my photos from around 1976. The hill is called Lion Rock as at the top it looks like the outline of a lion lying down. It was taken from the 4th floor of the apartment building in which we lived from 1979-1979. The shacks in the foreground were burned in a fire in 1976, and now in it's place, luxury apartments have been built.