74 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 8-30-17

  1. Good morning, First Jo! It’s still dark here.

    Art has an early eye appointment with a new doctor. I will go with him to help select new frames and to drive since his eyes will be displayed. He has a cardio appointment/checkup tomorrow. I am still checking prices on refrigerators and may try to see some today. My brother’s store will put out their Labor Day sale prices late today for comparison. I don’t think they will do a match on Sears Outlet prices.

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  2. Good morning. We survived Hurricane Harvey — we never lost power and our house didnt flood. We actually saw the sun late yesterday. Thanks so much for your prayers and concern for us.
    We still have Becca’s BFF here–she’s been with us since Friday. Her parents live in Cypress (another ‘burb about ten miles from Spring). They cannot get across Spring Creek to reach our house. It’s actually been a blessing, because Becca would be so bored without her. She’s a darling girl who is absolutely no trouble and the girls get along seamlessly. My cousin, Pike, is okay, too, and my brother and his family (who live in Pearland) also didn’t flood. I am so grateful to God for protecting us (we don’t have flood insurance and times are lean in the oil & gas industry).

    I’m also very proud of our city’s response to this crisis. Volunteers are being turned away at many shelters because they have more than enough already. Same for clothing/bedding/toiletries donations. In addition to Houstonians response, many

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  3. Oops! Wasn’t finished!

    …..many first responders from near and far ha e traveled to Houston to help with rescue efforts. It has been heartwarming to see.

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  4. So thankful that you all fared well during the hurricane and worst rains ever, Ann. So many are suffering in multiple ways. Thankful your daughter had company to pass the time with.

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  5. Cottage cheese and peaches are good together. So are pineapple and cottage cheese. In fact, cottage cheese is only good if it has one of those fruits in it.

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  6. Janice, I was once one of three Cheryls at church, unusual for me since I just don’t meet many by my name. But there was no confusing us; I’m a brunette and one was a very blonde blonde (I wondered if she was an albino because she was so colorless) and the other was black.

    I see my oriole made it up today. This was from the mulberry tree when it was fruiting. I kept seeing this guy, bright against the green tree, but he wouldn’t stay anywhere long, and I’d zoom in and take two or three quick shots and he’d be gone–and I’d look at the photos later and in two the bird would be out of focus and the third would be in focus but his head was behind leaves. So he looks like a skinny thing in this shot, but I did at least get the male oriole. If he wanted a better shot, he could have given me better chances.

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  7. DJ, your story about finding a light you like, but you want tell real-estate pal if it’s more than $40 made me laugh.

    Don’t tell my mother-in-law this story, OK? Well, we were recently over at her house, telling her we were going to be replacing lights at our front and back doors. She asked us if we had opened them yet, and finding we hadn’t, told us to check out some lights that had been donated to their church and the church hadn’t used. My husband told her the lights were cheap, only $4 for the back one and less than $20 for the front one. I don’t think the ones donated to the church included porch lights anyway, but on the way home my husband told me he didn’t want to take anything from their church. (Complicated story, but the pastor made some decisions surrounding my father-in-law’s death that hurt the whole family, although we aren’t telling my mother-in-law.)

    Anyway, my husband went to put up the lights, and they were smaller than he expected, and basically the “pad” in back wasn’t large enough to cover the “footprint” left by taking off the old lights. Back to the store we went, this time choosing larger lights–which together cost more than $100, about five times as much as the first choices. Anything cheaper wouldn’t work.

    My husband told me that we won’t be discussing the new price. So now we’re laughing that she will come to the house and be astonished at what a great light we got for only four dollars (the new one for the back door cost $50). . . .

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  8. I am in the eye exam room with Art. I brought a book, but the light keeps switching off and on so I can’t read my book until we get back to the waiting room while his eyes dilate. He is doing the guessing game of which is clearer, this or that, over and over.

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  9. You have to enjoy the small things Chas. She is still in there. I have a friend who kept her grandmother at home with her until she couldn’t any longer due to the disease taking over and my friend being diagnosed with MS–but the Adventures of Golden Girl kept us all in stitches.

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  10. We had an interesting time of a fallen power line across our driveway and deer fences and everything. It was a big thing to us, but nobody else would be too concerned. Well, the neighbors with no power were.

    And flooding in Texas which is hard for a lot of people. And a topic of conversations for Americans and even some others.

    Are we talking about the flooding in India? With twelve hundred dead already? Sixteen million affected? Tens of thousands displaced?

    Not trying to say anything negative about the interest in the Texas floods, I have a cousin there whose house was under four feet of water before the Brazos flooded more. Her house is close to it. We should be interested and we should care. But sometimes we forget that there are more people out there. It does not seem to have hit our news so much, maybe I just missed it, caught up in my own little life.

    Son and I have been praying for the people. He wondered why the people there did not move their homes to higher ground. I commented that the people in Texas, some have lost their homes, their cars, their televisions, their computers, their smartphones, their power cords, their five pair of shoes, their twenty new handbags. The people in India only lost a piece of roofing material and a couple of poles. But then, of course, they don’t have “homes” and cars and tv’s and computers, and shoes etc.

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  11. Ann, good to hear from you. What a horrendous ordeal your state is going through.

    Cheryl, it’s funny because I thought your hair was (a dark) blond. And I’ve even met you in person.

    On lights, yes, sometimes you sort of do get what you pay for. Since these fixtures are going on the outside of my house, it’s important to me that they look nice (on top of functioning well). For the back, my neighbor has tried to talk me into solar motion lights — but I’m putting new fixtures on spots where old broken ones are so the wiring already is in place and I really want something that has some power and dependency to them so my yard really light up (all the better to scare and see those sneaky coyotes).

    Solar lighting has improved but is still weather-dependent and are not as dependable due to that, in my mind. They’re good for decorative, landscape lighting, maybe not so much for outdoor security lighting.

    My porch light will have to have a wide base to cover the existing hole taking out the old one will leave in the porch ceiling.

    So the Navy is in town, ships began arriving yesterday for LA Fleet Week. We’re getting 6 ships this year, including one from Canada and a U.S. Navy submarine. The largest ship is an amphibious warship that came in late yesterday, delayed by several hours due to coastal fog, so they missed being part of the mayor’s press conference onboard the iowa.

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  12. Anyway, our little fallen power lines was interesting to us. We often see a large flock of blackbirds sitting on the lines, causing them to bounce and sway. But apparently, last night’s thunderstorms and high winds took a branch down on the only tree out there and it took down the neighbor’s power line which was right next to theirs on the power pole. It laid it across our horse pasture and property and wire deer fence and through a neighbor’s hay field and took out the top of the power pole next to the neighbor’s house. Did my two sixteen year olds tell me we had a power line across our driveway? Why no! Sixteen year old daughter walked the dogs under them, twice. Had to duck to get under. Sixteen year old boy rode walked his bike under them. Husband came driving up and thought, what did wife do this time? He grabbed hold of what looked like a cable crossing the road and realized it was the power lines. Clearly, they were no longer working. I have always heard that downed lines were not to be messed with and have heard of them starting fires. I am confused.

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  13. Interesting, mumsee, though I suspect disasters happening closer to us (impacting many we may know personally) will always naturally get more attention. Thankful more haven’t perished in the Houston disaster.

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  14. Downed lines are very dangerous, I thought. We’re always told never to go near them but to call the city immediately. Who do you call where you are for something like that?

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  15. “I really want something that has some power and dependency to them so my yard really light up.”

    Did I really write that? 🙂 And even after having had a cup of coffee. My, my.

    My brain is really stuck in a rather primitive state in the mornings.

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  16. Oriole is pretty. Our gold finches are so beautiful this time of year. Their bright yellow is a small feast for the eye.

    IMO, cottage cheese is never good. Nor is the Golden Girls Show. And my opinion counts. 😉

    Glad to hear Elvera cares about her clothes to some extent. My mom doesn’t dress nearly as well as she once did. It is difficult to sometimes get something more appropriate on her. She can still do needlework and read, though. Dementia is so strange in how it effects people.

    I just read of a couple of workers in a nursing home caught abusing a women with dementia. They were recorded by someone. The nursing home claims they were not to blame and that may well be true. What disgusted me was when they stated that their handbook says it is wrong to abuse patients, so the aids should have known that. Really? We are at a point where one must read it in a handbook to know it is wrong? Now that is a real disaster.

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  17. Of course we will be interested in things we understand more than the distant stuff, but I thought the flooding, though it happens nearly every year, should have been newsworthy. Maybe an added part of the Harvey news. And, again, I am not trying to down play Texas at all, what they are going through is way more than I would ever want to see. But I suspect we have limited capacity for this kind of thing and what is close to us is of more value to us because we are more likely to be able to do something about it, or to know somebody involved. Painful to see all of creation groaning over our sin.

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  18. Yikes! Glad no one was hurt by the power line. We had one ready to fall after a pole (about 25 ft. from our bedroom) was hit by lightening. We had to call the company twice. The second time we were more insistent that they send someone out.

    My husband’s uncle was zapped while working as a lineman. It was not pretty, though he lived. No one should take those lightly. My husband was zapped, too, but at work and with a panel not a wire. Powerful stuff and to be respected.

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  19. We called our local power company and they sent the call to dispatch. Some guys showed up about eleven thirty. I heard them exclaim, like this is not normal for a downed line. They walked around and looked at things with flashlights and really bright truck lights. We heard a chainsaw around three thirty in the morning. When I got up at five thirty, the lines were up and fine and the birds were back on them. But they were much higher up than they had been.

    When husband called, he was told that three thousand people down in the valley were out of power but ours was not connected to that. And on his way home before finding the downed line, he did see fire in the distance. Don’t know if it was lightning caused or downed power lines to which he is apparently invincible. Must have been the crocs he was wearing.

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  20. Mumsee, agreed. But so many personally know folks who live there, family members, etc., so in that sense it really is in all of our backyards and has personal impacts (whereas a flood halfway across the globe won’t personally touch nearly so many people here). It’s understandable that would be of more immediate concern for people here in the U.S.

    But you’re also right, we need to always have our blinders off as Christians and know that God’s world doesn’t revolve around the U.S. or (gasp) even California.

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  21. I am still grateful that our power did not go out. I don’t know how the limb took down so much and not ours. I said it was right next to theirs but I meant ours. Our power went off for a few seconds and I went and filled a water container. Did not think to check the driveway for the only power lines around.

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  22. Good, I was hoping somebody would understand that I was not trying to take anything away from the Texas deal. I know how it is here. When we have a fire, we expect others to look. But when Colorado has one, do we care? How about in Australia? People are still hurting. Those of us who pray ought to be somewhat informed though we serve the Living God who knows the sparrows.

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  23. Donna, yes, my hair was the palest it’s ever been when you saw me. It almost looked red in photos taken about that time.

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  24. Sometimes it seems people circle the wagons around their area because opportunists will take advantage of disasters. I usually give to major disaster relief through church or Samaritan’s Purse. I feel those funds will be appropriately used as I would desire and the gospel message is delivered along with tangible help.

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  25. I think every woman on this blog liked my 9:11. I don’t have an eye for matching things. I’m glad she can do it. She still has most of her facilities. She just needs someone to direct her. e.g. I tell her to get dressed. I don’t have to dress her. That’s a big help.

    As for disasters and our response. You have to deal with whatever happens with the resources you have. e.g. Mumsee has a power line down. People in Houston Have water in their homes. What does Mumsee do? Makes perfect sense.

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  26. Mumsee, my take on that is the only reason we even know about India (I didn’t, BTW, until reading your post) is that modern technology has made the world small. Two hundred years ago we wouldn’t have known about Texas, either, at least not until weeks later we might have received a letter from someone down there, or our neighbors would have told us about a letter they received.

    But you know, I really don’t think we were created to know–and worry about–disasters everywhere in the world. We don’t know when they have 50-year anniversaries of their marriages, or new healthy children; why should we be saddened by the tragedies of strangers when we cannot help them?

    Certainly we should be concerned about disasters that affect people we know. Let’s say our church has missionaries in that region of India–we should take up an offering (if the missionary believes that to be helpful) and pray for him and for them. But just random “feeling bad” about disasters in faraway places does nothing for them and it tends to wear out our sympathy muscles without that sympathy providing help for people.

    I’m inclined to think that long-distance news that is really just “entertainment” is worse than useless. I don’t do much to keep up on the news at all, actually, though I do tend to hear about things like the flooding in Houston. But I’m inclined to think “the closer it is to me, the more it matters”–not as a selfish response, but meaning that I was created to care about my spouse and children, my parents and my siblings, my aunts and uncles, my nieces and nephews and cousins, the neighbors on my street, my fellow church members, my friends, and my co-workers . . . but only somewhere below those relationships, someone in another state, and below that still, someone in another country. If I have $100 to give away, it makes more sense to give it to the struggling single mother in my church than a stranger in India, all else being equal. If I have money to give, and no more local cause needing it, then India can be a good choice (especially if I know someone I can trust to administer the money wisely).

    And certainly some are called to evangelize or help in other ways in another land–I’m not talking about that, but about keeping up with knowledge of all the disasters of the entire world, which can leave us depressed and overwhelmed but without us being able to do a single useful thing about it.

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  27. Re power lines, after my brother-in-law died, we were in my sister’s house and heard some odd noises from outside. We looked out, and a standing power pole was sparking and eventually there was a fire. I don’t remember all the details now, but the pole might have been in her backyard (she has five acres). It was at any rate visible from her back porch, among tall trees, and we worried that it would catch the trees on fire and possibly endanger the house. It was pretty spooky, actually, to watch flames leaping from the top of an electric pole.

    I think we or someone had called about a power outage, and we knew the men looking for the problem were down the street, so my husband jumped in the car to go catch up with them and tell them what we saw, and bring them back.

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  28. Oh, and re matching clothing: My husband is an artist and if I’m not sure about an outfit I ask him. Only once have I seen him in something that didn’t match well, and I second-guessed myself and didn’t say anything, and then sat beside him in church thinking, “I should have said something.” On the way home he commented it really didn’t work, and I told him about having second-guessed myself about saying anything because he is good at that.

    And he’s constantly talking about some sports announcer or other media guy, how that tie looks just awful with that shirt, or how the tie and the shirt are OK, or the shirt and the jacket, but all three together are too much. He doesn’t make such comments about the way women dress, so I don’t know if he notices their missteps too, or if they’re just less likely to make them on TV.

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  29. Mumsee (10:58) and I was looking at it from the standpoint of news judgement since the point was what are typically told about disasters near and far. The more local something is, the more urgent the news is from that standpoint, wherever you happen to be. More people/readers/viewers actually are affected.

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  30. A bit of advice for the wise.
    No matter how small it is, always cover a bowl of soup, or anything else before putting it into the microwave. It can save lots of trouble.
    My dad used to say, “A fool has to learn everything the hard way.”
    So? I have spent my life trying to learn from the mistakes other make.
    But sometimes I make my own.
    😦

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  31. Re: Donna’s 12:37
    I see on the internet that 1000 people died in a mudslide in Sierra Leone. A small country in Africa.
    I haven’t seen it in the news. The news is that a policeman died in Houston.

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  32. Well, I see numerous news stories about it when I google it (those liniks are all to news sources, magazines, newspapers, wire services). But, yes, again, Houston is very close to “home” for many of us so it takes precedence in what readers are more immediately interested in reading about.

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  33. The Internet — and the access it provides to news sources all over the world — have really made many of these stories so much more accessible. As Cheryl said, maybe it becomes a bit overwhelming for us at times.

    Meanwhile, here’s a piece that perhaps touches on (in the opening graphs) a discussion from the daily thread here a couple days (?) ago (though I’d perhaps place a bit more stress on the entire Bible being about Jesus, in fact):

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/northamptonseminar/2017/08/30/whatever-happened-god-father/#rXEvzx9wFJIA4Wb5.99

    Whatever Happened to God the Father?
    AUGUST 30, 2017 BY GERALD MCDERMOTT

    ___________________________________________________

    Recently an Anglican theologian asked me, “Have you noticed how few theological books have been published in the last decades on God the Father? Can you name even one?”

    He was right. The Father has been lost from view—of both theology and the Church.
    In the evangelical world since World War II, Jesus has been the focus of most thinking and worship. There were good reasons for this. Liberal theology in the 20th century had reduced the gospel to the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, and social ethics. Salvation, liberals implied, was the reward for being a nice person.

    Evangelicals were right to say, No, the gospel is about Jesus and the cross. They were partly right.

    Then in the 1970s there was a new focus on the Holy Spirit. This was in response to the dryness and intellectualism of much of evangelicalism.

    We needed more of the spontaneity and power of the Holy Spirit. So now, we heard from pulpits and books, we need to focus on Jesus and the Spirit. Full gospel ministry was about Word and Spirit.

    They were partly right. At least two of the three Persons of the Trinity were being taught and preached and prayed. …
    ________________________________________

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  34. My husband has navy, black, light-khaki, and dark-khaki Dockers for work. I hang his shirts on corresponding colored hangers so he knows which to wear with which pants.

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  35. News, I agree we get way too much news and not enough thought. And we probably ought not to spend overmuch time (what does that mean? ten minutes? two hours?) on world news or country news or even state news. We have very little impact on that but we do have impact in our families, neighborhoods, and communities to some extent. But, as believers, I think it is good for us to be aware of some things. The believers being persecuted in North Korea for example. God values our prayers and perhaps, if we are a bit more aware, we are a bit more prayerful. The need for Christ is Sierra Leone, supporting in prayer the believers in Mumbai. No, we can’t know it all, but we need to not be shut up in our own little bubble either (note the pot calling the kettle…) How to do that? Reading the Scriptures we see mention of lots of nations. We know from Revelation that God will have His people from all nations.

    Husband has been reading about George Washington and his impact. He was just a man and he did not have the internet or television or a lot of things. But he did talk with people and I suspect they spoke about real things. That is how they hammered out the Constitution and all. It took a lot of understanding of people and politics and other dynamics. And he was perhaps the best known man in the known world. And he had not met any kings or world leaders at the time. Just doing his part in his little neck of the woods.

    Of course we all know he will be leaving soon as he and Martha had slaves.

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  36. Mumsee, I’m not completely opposed to knowing what is going on around the world, and indeed knowing such things as which countries persecute Christians and which religions are primary in which countries can be important information, and each of us is sometimes in a position to help people in trouble. We also may know someone in a given location. I just don’t think hours of following the world’s news each day is the best use of time, and we needn’t feel guilty if we choose to use our time in other ways. Especially today when the chance of “missing” a major story is fairly slim.

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  37. Son’s ship comes in around December. They are planning to get married in December. She expects to go to boot camp in December.

    News: sometimes I think reading the newspaper is plenty with a bit of local, national and world. Sometimes I think no news is better. Sometimes I think I am too much of an isolationist. But it was always interesting to me to talk with folks outside of the country and hear so much of my home country news and talk to people, say, from this town, and they have lived here most of their lives and no very little about anything outside the prairie. Just interesting. No idea if one is better than the other. Relationships matter.

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  38. I see my monarch is up. (And I see that this post that I wrote a couple of hours ago didn’t go up.) That was one of a small handful of my top favorites this year.

    A house or two two-thirds of a mile or so down the street let their front yards be wildflowers. They tend them some, but seem to mostly let grow what grows. One portion of a yard is heavily milkweed. (I actually talked to the owner about that, and he said they intended to put something else there, but the milkweed came up on its own and they left it.) Since milkweed is the host plant for monarch caterpillars, I have gone down there a few times to get some shots, but I’ve gotten better shots elsewhere of monarchs on milkweed, so oh well. But this lady monarch decided to land in a different part of the wildflowers.

    Her proboscis is coiled, so she isn’t feeding. She stayed on the same flower for several minutes, which isn’t all that common among butterflies, but it made it easy to experiment with shots and zooms, to move around for a better angle, and so forth. And when I got home and looked at this one, with the butterfly and the flower she is on in perfect focus, but a field of unfocused flowers behind her and in front of her, and saw how healthy and pretty she looks, I went “Ahh!” (Sometimes it’s only later that I see a butterfly I photographed is faded or torn, but this one is nice and bright still.)

    This was one of the photos I was thinking of when I asked if someone gets a nice photo in your yard, would you consider it thoughtful or weird if the sent you a copy? This one, the muskrat that was posted a few weeks ago, and a cedar waxwing that hasn’t been posted yet all seem like nearly perfect shots, and all were taken standing at the edge of the street and photographing a creature that is more or less in someone’s front yard. (In this case, I’m not sure “front yard” really works, simply because they have several acres of wild stuff and a house or two set well off the road. And the muskrat was on what I think is private property, but it’s the drainage ditch for the area, and behind it is a row of mature evergreens, as though deliberately screening the ditch from their house.

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  39. Oh, Michelle will like this one.Talking refrigerators. Another reason to hang onto your old appliances.

    Google Will Now Talk Through Speakers, Fridges and Vacuums

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-30/google-will-now-talk-through-speakers-fridges-and-even-vacuums

    ____________________________________
    Google’s push to place its digital assistant, the search giant’s new product centerpiece, inside every consumer appliance imaginable is edging forward.

    The Alphabet Inc. unit announced on Wednesday that its voice-based chat service is now compatible with a wave of home devices, including speakers and everyday household appliances like refrigerators. After arriving on Google’s smartphone and speaker in 2016, the company hopes its chat-bot can field regular search queries and become a vehicle for online commerce.

    On that front, Google faces stiff competition from Amazon.com Inc., which is also trying to spread its digital assistant Alexa. For example, on Wednesday Amazon and Microsoft Corp. announced a deal to make their digital assistants talk to each other. Later this year, people using Alexa will be able to ask Microsoft’s Cortana do a range of tasks, including reading work emails. Cortana users will be able to ask Alexa to buy stuff from Amazon. …
    _________________________________________

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  40. I remember the beginning of internet, yet, as a young child I listened to the news from places in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East, from correspondents broadcasting on the radio from war zones and disaster areas. News travels across borders even without modern technology – how else would Isaac have known to send his sons to Egypt for corn? As Acts shows, those in the Roman world were aware of what was happening in other places. We only need to look at the New Testament to see that Christians were from the first sending international aid:

    During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. (Acts 11:27-29)

    This idea of concern for those living in other countries continued as the Church continued to spread:

    Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. (I Corinthians 16:1-3)

    The call of Christ to go into all the world with the Gospel, and the vision of the apostle John of a Church from every tribe, tongue, and nation means that the kingdom of God and its citizens are not bound by earthly borders. We cannot hope to help or alleviate all the crises in the world, but we do know the One who can. We know our prayers are effective, and it does not take long to pray for those in India or Sierra Leone. There are fellow believers in both countries, and as Paul said, if one member suffers, we all suffer. The lessons of my father and mother, in having us listen to international news and discussing it, were to regard human beings around the world with the same interest as our neighbours – for, according to Christ’s lesson on the Good Samaritan, they too are our neighbours.

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  41. For those with prodigals

    Finding God’s Grace While Waiting for a Prodigal

    https://cccdiscover.com/finding-gods-grace-while-waiting-for-a-prodigal/
    ___________________________________

    … As Martin continued on for years in the throes of addiction, Susan cycled through different phases of grief and emotion. At times she would distance herself from him. She’d back off and try not to think about it or find out what was happening with him. She would bury her pain. For years she wrestled with God, asking him why he had allowed this to happen to her son. One day when she was praying, she finally understood the answer to her question. Martin’s life of addiction was no surprise to God, and he had sovereignly chosen Susan to be his mother.

    This realization reoriented Susan’s thinking. It allowed her to see Martin not as a problem to be solved but as someone God had entrusted to her to love no matter what. …

    … When Satan goes after our family, he also goes after us. He loves to kill two birds with one stone. When your child or your spouse is caught up in sin or unbelief, it is highly tempting to make that person the center of your faith. Your spiritual walk can become not about your salvation through faith in Christ, but a desperate campaign to save the prodigal you love. As time goes on, if you don’t see an answer to your prayers for your prodigal, you may be tempted to doubt.

    Conversely, you may be tempted to harden your heart as did the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal. Even as you pray for your prodigal to repent, you may find yourself comparing your own life path and feeling pretty pleased with yourself. You may find yourself thinking, “I would never do what he has done,” even though you might not say it out loud.

    Beware self-righteousness. It is just as destructive to the soul as promiscuity, and far more deceptive. …

    … Nothing better illustrates God’s grace than his love for prodigals. They don’t work their way back into his favor. He doesn’t wait for them to clean up before he lets them into his presence; he washes their feet and gives them clean clothes to wear.

    If you love a prodigal, you are a living embodiment of God’s love for the lost. The prodigal may have done everything possible to destroy your trust and good will, but you love him anyway. You don’t love him because he deserves it, but because he is yours. And that is how God loves you.
    ___________________________________________

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  42. Whew so glad someone finally posted on 57…I came here at 56 and did not want to take the coveted number😳
    That is a beautiful butterfly up there!
    So blessed to hear Ann and crew are safe…continued prayers for our southern friends ❤️

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  43. Cheryl, when I was about six, listening to a correspondent from Jerusalem talking about the scud missiles coming from Iraq during the First Gulf War, I wasn’t thinking about what I could do to help. Neither was it entertainment – reading books and playing games were my entertainment. It was simply sharing in the concerns of those on the other side of the world who were also human, with the children, who like myself as I listened to the broadcast, would be playing while their parents listened for the warning sirens of another incoming missile. It is about being aware that there are other living, breathing, thinking, feeling beings made in the image of God on this vast planet, who I may never see, but whom the same Creator watches over. News of a disaster or war bring a pang, knowing that such precious lives have been lost or that such precious blood will be spilt. I was just talking to my mother the other day about how God in Genesis 9 declared that even animals who kill humans will be held accountable. God notices the sparrow that falls, how much more the humans who die in disaster or war. As a child of God and a member of the body of Christ, it only seems fitting to care about the things our Lord cares about.

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  44. So I was assigned another email account a year or so ago. I ignored it and did not remember my password. Today I went and saw the IT guys about my a key and remembered that other account, which they had no problem hooking me up to. One, official, person has sent me a number of emails on that account. Whoops
    Humble pie for dessert.

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  45. Roscuro, I agree that we should care about people, and it sounds like that is what you were doing when you were listening at six. But it’s kinda like those people who say that “Everyone has to be involved with ———.” I care about sex slavery and young women having abortions they don’t really want and abused wives and homeless mentally ill people and many, many other things. But I’m only one person. I cannot do something about all of them. So, when I’ve sponsored a child (my child of many years just graduated, so currently I’m not doing so) I’ve chosen to sponsor a child in Africa, and I buy Bibles monthly for Nigeria–because my parents met and married in Nigeria and Africa is “on my heart” more than some other regions. My ears perk up when I hear about North Korea because of a first-hand account I heard years ago.

    But there are constant tragedies somewhere in the world. Somewhere young children are losing their second parent to cancer, others are being abused, fires are leaving people homeless, and so on. I was not created to care about all of them–I wasn’t created even to know about all of them. Constant “news” updates are a historical anomaly. I do think that if I am going to seek out news, then I need to be prepared (at least sometimes) to “do something.” And often that does mean praying for people. But I’m not a big fan of generic prayers (“bless the missionaries in Africa, help the people in India”), and so I’m more inclined to pay attention to what is going on somewhere if I know people there.

    Have you read Amusing Ourselves to Death, by the way? Postman kind of informs my thinking on this subject, but largely he did it by taking away my guilt on the subject. I always had a sense that it was exhausting to be expected to keep up with all that was happening all around the world, but after reading him I realized my instincts had some validity and it was OK not to try. (That doesn’t mean it’s wrong to “keep up” with the news, but it definitely isn’t my own calling.)

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  46. Generic prayers are written in scripture. Jesus even prayed them: “I pray not for these alone, but for them which shall believe on me through their word.” (John 14). Christians have through the centuries found it comforting that Christ prayed for all of us in a generic way. We pray to a God who sees and knows all things. When we pray for aid for those who have lost everything, we know that He can look down and see not only their needs, but also who can provide them; when we pray for those whose lives are threatened to be brought to safety, we know that God can see their peril and bring them rescue. We are limited, but He is not.

    I listened to an interview with Postman, about whom I’d heard recommendation from people I respect. I was disappointed. He struck me as a man who was so committed to his own particular soapbox that he had become incapable of seeing any problem from any other angle. I disagree completely with the idea that we can exhaust our sympathy, especially as Christians. I picked up as a child, through what I saw in my own parents and what I read, the truth that our capability to love was unlimited, that a mother or father did not have to spread a limited supply of parental love through their growing family, rather the love itself grew. The love for each child might differ, just as the love for their children differed from the love for each other, but it was still love. It is that way with sympathy, which is, when one thinks about it, a form of love. In some ways, our capacity to feel caring emotions towards any number of other people (and even animals and objects) is a reflection of our being created in the image of God. We are limited in our ability to express those widespread feelings, but we are capable of having them.

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  47. I’ve never heard Postman speak. He wasn’t a believer, and I disagree with a lot of what he says in later books. I haven’t read that particular book in close to 30 years and might disagree with a lot in it, too, but it was still helpful in getting me to think through media issues (like why television preaching and television “education” aren’t all that helpful).

    By the way, when Jesus prayed for those who would believe in Him, it was praying for a select group, like people of such and such a church. I have no problem with praying that “limited generic” way. I might pray for PCA churches (my denomination) in Houston, for instance. BUT “I pray for the Christians in Texas” (pray that they do what?) is generic, lazy praying, and that’s what I avoid.

    Roscuro, that isn’t what I mean by exhausting our sympathy, that we can care too much like fear that we can love too much. I mean that I cannot research and understand five dozen human problems, so while I may care (for instance) about homelessness of the mentally ill and sex slavery, I’d be “spreading myself too thin” to try to focus on everything. So my own volunteer time, studying to understand at more than a surface level, and financial aid have been more specific (mostly). I have not worked with homeless people (though I have given to Habitat for Humanity and a brother has volunteered for them); I doubt that will ever be my specific ministry. But I have worked with inner-city children and crisis pregnancy centers in (so far) two different cities, and I have volunteered with the elderly. If I were to try to volunteer or give money to all the potential needs, each one would get a tiny little bit of me. So as one person, I focus more specifically, even while I applaud those who work with helping prostitutes choose something different (I’ve personally known two women doing that), prison ministry (I count three chaplains among my friends and acquaintances and have actually read several books on the subject), and so on. I know people who say everyone should be doing something about sex slavery. That isn’t my calling. But perhaps supporting foster and adoptive parents (and being one myself), sponsoring a poor child in another land, and tutoring poor children in our own country is doing something about sex slavery from a very different direction–keeping children away from it.

    That’s a long way around of saying the body is not all an ear, and anyone who demands we should all focus on listening is ignoring that the fingers have their place, too. If anything, my temptation is to be too much a generalist–as an editor it is helpful if I know at least alittle something about sex slavery, and homelessness, etc. But I’ve had to choose not to spread myself so thin that I’m “useless,” and so I’ve focused deliberately on areas God seems to have put more specifically in my own path, and that would be inner-city ministry (especially with children), communicating in writing in a few specific ways, and working with the elderly. Other people will do nursing ministries, prison ministries, and more, and if I have the funds I may be able to help occasionally–but they aren’t my own calling.

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  48. News has always traveled, it just took longer before modern travel and communication devices. After all, the marathon originated because of a runner taking news to or from a general. And in scripture there were runners telling of the battles won or lost.

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  49. I have an ancestor’s letter, written to a relative in Canada, giving her the news that Lincoln had been shot. It was assumed that the relative had not heard the news.

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  50. Peter, even in the days of the pony express, there was a natural limit to how far and how fast news would travel. Also a limit on what would be considered “newsworthy” when everything you wrote was handwritten (and needed to be worthy of a stamp). Locals would pull together and grieve together, and people in the next town might take up a collection. But those across the world would not hear about it.

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  51. Ah, a cold shower — it’s still 87 in my house at almost 10 pm – this, along with massive fan action, should help me sleep 😴- I hope

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