Relationships Between Men and Women

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Ah Ha! I suppose you thought I was going to join in on the sexual harassment news of the day: NO

Nativity – images from pixabay.com

I am going to highlight the relationship of Joseph and Mary when she was found to be carrying baby Jesus.

Nativity 2 – images from pixabay.com

In the Jewish culture of the their time a betrothed couple were already in a binding contract almost as secure as marriage itself. What was expected was much: the man must prepare a home secure and sufficient for a family and the woman must make all the necessary preparations for her becoming a wife and a mother.  Both were expected to remain pure: no sexual relations between them and, most definitely not with another person.

Proverbs 18:22 ESV

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.

So when Joseph learned of Mary’s pregnancy he had every right to break the engagement (equal to a divorce) or quietly vacate the betrothal.  He did not.
Marriage Bond is Global – images from pixabay.com

Mark 10:9 ESV 

What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Human Bonds in Marriage – images from pixabay.com

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Wedding – images from pixabay.com

 

Bride and Groom – images from pixabay.com
Human Bonds in Marriage – images from pixabay.com
Wedding 2 – images from pixabay.com
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Can I Live in a Better World?

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A kinder more caring world begins with me

Better Earth – images from pixabay.com

As we enter into the Month of December we may recall the theme of Christmas: “Peace on Earth Good Will to Man (Men and Women of course)”. I understand that I cannot change all the wrongs I hear, see or learn about, yet clearly there is something I can do or, for that matter we all can do: behave better.

The Good Samaritan – images from pixabay.com

It may begin with “The Golden Rule” – ” Treat others as you would want others to treat you.” – but why not go beyond that.  Jesus suggested some radically different responses when encountering others with needs or even, an abuser:

Matthew 5:38-42 ESV 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Be Kind – images from pixabay.com

Today’s blog post is not about exceptions or the threat of annihilation; it is more about the affairs encountered in everyday life.

Crowded Living – images from pixabay.com

I live in an area not far from two major urban areas and a smaller urban area that in some parts of our country might be considered a  “big city”. Yes, within the limits of the East Coast Megalopolis; My wife and I prefer a less densely populated area as a home area, so we live in a part of our region that is not too crowded, however, that is changing and more people move to our area every year.

Breathing Space – images from pixabay.com

Why is this important you may wonder? To me I have noticed some of the behavior of the local population beginning to resemble the “bump and rush” style of the metropolitan area where I spent most of my younger  years. So when I learned of a report about the people in our area acting with civility and manners, it was a surprise. Our State, as probably other densely populated States are, have seen many common courtesies vanish from day to day life. Perhaps that may be from more of our society than we realize.

GOD is Love – images from pixabay.com

Our area has a substantial number of Christians that take their faith seriously; study GOD’s Word, belong to a Church and show concern for our community or nearby communities.  We pray for substance abusers, law breakers, ordinary families and the police equally; treat all with respect and offer assistance to whomever requires it.  No we are not perfect and we need Jesus’s teachings, accountability and vigilance concerning hypocrisy just like anywhere else.  We remind each other of the good we can do and how to be responsible.  We promote seeking opportunities to serve others in whatever way we can and have not closed our doors to those in need – even to those who may disagree with our beliefs.

John 14:15 ESV

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

James 4:17 ESV 

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

 

 

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Think: How Grateful Am I?

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from pixabay.com

Nothing technical here just, poor, less poor, OK and those that have a great deal of material comforts.

So, I will assume the World’s wealth to be $241 trillion as reported in and article by Business Insider Dot Com* and cited as Global Wealth Report, Credit Suisse, October 2013**; see these links:
* http://www.businessinsider.com/the-combined-wealth-of-everyone-in-the-entire-world-2016-9

** https://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/?fileID=BCDB1364-A105-0560-1332EC9100FF5C83

Where is the Wealth of the World?

Global Distribution of Wealth 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Distribution_of_Wealth_v3.jpg

Proverbs 14:31 ESV

Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.

(I am using 7 Billion Population, $241 Trillion and % there of; this is not a scientific verified study or report just a relative view of disparities) 

                   Population in the Millions                  Shared In Millions of Dollars

Group A   6,999,000,000

45,790,000    > 0.01% each

Group B   2,169,000,000

77,120,000   0.36% each

Group C   63,000,000

45,790,000   0.73% each

Group D   7,000,000

72,000,000   10.29% each

 Group A:

Manual Labor – images from pixabay.com
Basic Shelter – images from pixabay.com

 

 

 

 

 

Group B:

Motor Bikes and Animal Carts – images from pixabay.com
Basic Plus – images from pixabay.com

Group C:

Motor Truck – images from pixabay.com
Better House – images from pixabay.com

Acts 2:44-45 ESV 

And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.

Most people believe that the USA with about 6% of the World’s population has more than 40% of the WORLD’S wealth.

http://fortune.com/2015/09/30/america-wealth-inequality/

Big City – images from pixabay.com

1 Timothy 6:10 ESV

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

If it were more evenly shared or distributed it would surely be a very, very HAPPY THANKS GIVING.  Are you thankful for what you have?

Group D:

Limousine Luxury – images from pixabay.com

 

Matthew 25:34b -40 ESV 

 . . . ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

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Speculation and Idle Thoughts

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Waste – images from pixabay.com

If we do not engage our minds with productive thought we are in danger of filling them with trash even robbing us of fulfillment and joy.

Think Success – images from pixabay.com

 

No I am not telling you “brainstorming” or other stimulating creative activity is wrong. GOD gave doctors the same brain we have and they provide a great service to us all by providing health care and needed treatment when we are ill or injured. Thinking beyond what is known or is done often leads to positive breakthroughs in health care and many other fields or endeavors. Nevertheless, there is a path to productive thinking and ways to avoid aimless thinking explained in these simple terms: recognize where you can help others, learn all you can, develop all the necessary skills and practice striving to do the best that you can do.

Accomplished – images from pixabay.com

You will find many rewards for accomplishing these goals now and in eternity. We Christians acquire this wisdom from GOD’s Word; one ideal is stated in this portion of scripture:

Colossians 3:23 ESV

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

Wild imaginings, theories, misleading information spreading deception and lies: Human all consuming hobbies, greedy behavior or evil schemes?

Negative Disposition – images from pixabay.com

Often unrest, envy, or our uncontrolled sin nature masks itself in humor, freedom in the arts or freedom of speech. If a person does not recognize the evil path he or she is on and, allows negative motives to conceal themselves within their speech, humor or art, trouble for others is sure to follow. Ultimately they themselves will suffer great loss of joy and fulfillment in life.

Eternal Pain – images from pixabay.com

The end that we all must face is death and what we experience then is the results from how we lived. The last thoughts a person may have at the end of a blessed life is the joy and anticipation of seeing GOD. The last thoughts a person may have at the end of a selfish life is dread of either the nothingness they believe in as an atheist or, eternal damnation in Hell if they rejected GOD.

JESUS will transform you and lead you to the first ending if you accept His free gift: receive GOD’s Grace and eternal salvation.
Eternal Joy – images from pixabay.com

Romans 10:9 ESV

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

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Difficult Questions

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Should I use Violence to Defend

Use Martial-arts? – images from pixabay.com

One of the most difficult dilemmas you may be faced with is whether to use violence for defense.

Carry A Gun? – images from pixabay.com

Some of you may mumble, “that’s a no brainer; of course I would”. There may be a small minority who would choose death before causing harm to anyone for any reason.  Scanning my morning digests of articles in academic journals I spotted one that read: Modern civilization doesn’t diminish violence

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171027104843.htm

Another article read: Does population size affect rates of violence? The bottom line read:  . . . Ultimately, Falk and Hildebolt found that people living in small-scale societies are not inherently more violent that those living in “civilized” states, and that war deaths scale similarly with population sizes across all levels of human society.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171026164552.htm

Use Weapons? – images from pixabay.com

As a Christian these suggested findings point to the nature of humans truthfully described in the Bible.

Matthew 15:19 ESV

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

Protect a Loved One? – images from pixabay.com

Ignoring GOD’s explanation does not change things; scientific studies can attribute this part of our nature as evolving from our more precarious primitive state. There was, and there may still be, people who believe that given the right opportunity humans will allow their peaceful traits to prevail: where is the evidence for that? In affluent societies where there is ample supplies and opportunities to be successful even the privileged can fail to manifest the “good” we humans supposedly have at our core: The recent perpetrator who was wealthy, seemingly lacking for nothing committed the Las Vegas mass murder. See: Brother says Las Vegas gunman was a wealthy real-estate investor

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/10/03/gunman-who-killed-50-at-las-vegas-concert-was-retired/

The NIV Bible expresses our nature in a more stark way:

Isaiah 64:6-7 New International Version (NIV)

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
No one calls on your name
    or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
    and have given us over to[a] our sins.

Isaiah is describing human attitude toward GOD.

 

 

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Universal Human Rights

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Jesus – images from pixabay.com

GOD desires that all people should be                   saved from eternal damnation.

John 3:16-17 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Jesus fulfilled the penalty of death for all sin and all who, sinned, sin now and will sin; by accepting this work you receive eternal salvation and will dwell with GOD in Heaven.  Humans fall short and even in the name of religion perpetrate evil upon one another. You can still be forgiven; even  begin again as a new creation in the eyes of GOD.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

GOD’s Love for us is the basis for Universal Human Rights.

Human rights for all – images from pixabay.com

If you need clues concerning the value of all humans in the eyes of GOD read these:

Proverbs 31:8-9 ESV

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

and,

Psalm 82:3 ESV

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.

and,

Isaiah 1:17 ESV 

Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

Civility – image from pixabay.com

There have been humans who promote non violence but it was and remains a struggle but, With GOD all things are possible.

Non-violence – images from pixabay.com

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All About Prayer

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Praying does us good

Pray – image from pixabay.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer

“There are no atheists in foxholes.”

  https://quoteinvestigator.com/2016/11/02/foxhole/

Foxholes – images from pixabay.com

So praying (presumably to a higher power) is good for us on several levels and, we may also assume turning to GOD is the main function expressed by prayer . . . but, . . .

Christians have on one hand a framework for prayer and on the other hand flexibility in how we pray.

Holy Spirit- images from pixabay.com

Matthew 6:9-13 ESV 

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

My criteria for prayer adopts the pattern Jesus taught with the freedom to  personalize, include spontaneity and, include worship, praise and thanks as well as, petition GOD for myself or others ( intercessory prayer).

Philippians 4:6 ESV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Romans 8:26 ESV 

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

 

 

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Connections

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Since scientists acknowledge we have a “common ancestor” we can assume all people are connected in some way.

Connections – images from pixabay.com

Not just about the creation story in Genesis but connections to people around the world right now.

DNA – images from pixabay.com

Hebrews 11:3 ESV

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

The formulas for all living things is encoded in the complex molecule known to us as DNA. We share the complex chemistry of life; people around the world not just family and those near. There is another view of how we are connected: a theory known as six degrees of separation espouses we are only six degrees (or persons), or less apart. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation

When the Orlando, Florida mass shooting occurred a coworker of my brother was killed; when the Las Vegas Massacre occurred one of the men in our Bible study told us his friend’s son was there.  my Late uncle fought in The Battle of the Bulge during WWII and he was commended by General George S. Patton personally. Think about it . . . we all are connected.

Human Connection – images from pixabay.com

Yes it is a small world because technology has brought us closer than ever: transportation, commerce and communication.

Acts 17:26 ESV

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,

As followers of Jesus, or Christians, we are known as The Children of GOD: We are connected.

Christians – images from pixabay.com

John 1:12 ESV 

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

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Faith Not Sight

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Three Monkees – The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Monkey’s Sculpture at Nikko: Mizaru Kikazaru Iwazaru (See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil)” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed October 7, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-c695-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Faith would not be faith if we only believed in what we can feel, see, hear or taste; would it?

Hebrews 11:1 ESV

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Science is unveiling the long held view that “seeing is believing” for what it is: suspect. A program illustrated this when a number of people were positioned around a street where unknown to them a staged auto accident was to occur.  After they all witnessed the incident they were immediately separated and asked to fill out a form and provide a narrative based on what they saw. You can research this one or similar experiments to learn what the results were in great detail but, for this blog I will only write: agreement as to what the facts were by no means would convince me that I was getting an accurate explanation of the occurrence.

Landscape – images from pixabay.com

Perception gives particular meaning to what we acquire through our senses to each of us; even when we seem to agree there are differences.

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

But does not this also apply to the Biblical accounts? The Holy Spirit helps with this.

GODS WORD – images from pixabay.com

Any thing humans devise, write. mimic or copy can have mistakes and flaws yes, perhaps in some details; perhaps in cultural and social perceptions; perhaps in conveying things using different languages. BUT, the essence of what the Bible reveals with the help of The Holy Spirit such as: Who GOD is, What GOD is like, What GOD’s Standards are, what our relationship is with GOD and that GOD is ultimately in control is clearly explained within The Holy Bible.

John 14:26 ESV

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Christian Faith – images from pixabay.com

Even Christians can disagree on some things yet we do have a core belief system that must be agreed upon to be a Christian.

Romans 14:1 ESV 

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.

Our faith in all we know about GOD is presented in the “Old Testament” and “The New Testament”. It is my perception that GOD initiated a relationship with us and therefore we do not need to do a myriad of ceremonies, sacrifices, pleadings and other extraordinary things to get the attention of GOD. Neither do we have to invent images, substitute icons for GOD, nor chant repetitive incantations; all we need to do is acknowledge who GOD is, accept we are part of GOD’s creation and talk with GOD.

John 13:34-35 ESV 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

One comprehensive list of essentials of the Christian faith:

https://www.thoughtco.com/basic-christian-beliefs-700357 

 

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Food

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Cornucopia – images from pixabay.com

Food: necessary for life, social consumption is important; Food is: an industry, an asset, abused, hoarded and a temptation for gluttony.

What is gluttony? It seems to me it can be as simple as over eating. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluttony

GOD provides people what they need to survive: water, air and food.  When we are blessed with abundance we often fall to the temptation to overeat; perhaps overeat again, again, again and again.  There may be less privileged people near yet, we may consume much more than we need and not share with widows or orphans and others without proper food supplies. Worse? We may justify our behavior by blaming them for their predicament: “they are lazy”; “they are wasteful”; “they are sinners”.

All – – images from pixabay.com EXCEPT Luxury Liner Illustration: Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “DINNER [held by] HAMBURG-AMERICA
Fine Dining: Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. “Jose Limon with Mary Wigman” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed September 25, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/0c6c63a0-bde3-0131-3767-58d385a7bbd0

If the world was populated by people without sin then the existence of the poor, orphans and widows would not be so precarious. Perhaps wars, famines and plagues would not decimate groups of people. Since it is not so, even if all Christians living right now behaved as the first ones just after Our Lord’s Crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension there would still be great need in the world. We are saved for eternity but still sinners and, still the many unsaved people insure that there will be a need.

Migrant-mother – images from pixabay.com

Do not despair; their need gives we Christians an opportunity to express our gratitude for Jesus redeeming us and an opportunity to demonstrate to the world that GOD cares for us all.

 

GOD Spells Out what we Should Do: express GOD’s Love by caring enough for others by sharing what we have and helping them.

Luke 14:13 ESV 

But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,

Proverbs 23:20 ESV 

Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat,

Leviticus 19:9-10 ESV 

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

Isaiah 1:17 ESV 

Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

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