Google is shutting down Inbox in favor of Gmail.

Nope.

In 1 Kings 4, verses 29 and 33, the Bible says “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls.” Now I understand Solomon talking about the cedar trees – tall, majestic, awe-inspiring. But a plant that grows where nobody plants it? That’s a weed. Why would the wisest man in the world talk about weeds?

I’m guessing it’s because he heard his daddy talking about it. King David said in Psalms 51:7 “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”  Solomon wasn’t perfect, but he was a good learner.

But where did David hear about hyssop? From Moses. Exodus 12:21-23 “Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.”

That shedding of blood, saving the Israelites from their oppressors, was a foreshadowing of what Jesus would do on the cross, when He paid the penalty for our sins and saved us from Hell and eternal death. Let’s pray.

Father God, I am sorry that I sinned and caused the need for Jesus to die on the cross.  And because He gave His body and blood, which we celebrate now with the wafer and the juice, all of us can be welcomed in Your arms, and call You our daddy. None of us here on earth are perfect – Jesus was and is, but we are not. Thank You for offering to pay our way back into Your family through the sacrifice of Jesus.  In His name I pray, amen.

Here at Connections, we measure everything we do against the Bible. From how our leadership is organized to the way we allocate our money, from the songs that we sing to our VBS celebrations, everything is checked against the Bible. That doesn’t mean that we are restricted to only what is in there. Romans doesn’t mention inflatable bouncy houses, and James doesn’t include snow cones. But those things are tied to evangelism, and a snow cone isn’t too far from a cup of cold water.

The songs we sing are biblical, too, whether they include scripture or only include scriptural ideas. The hymn I’m going to read to you, “When I survey the wondrous cross”, was one of the first ones to have a biblical outlook without using only Bible verses. It doesn’t directly use Bible verses, but it is undeniably biblical. And it is true.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Let’s pray. Father God, we are remembering the sacrifice of Your only begotten Son Jesus. We are commemorating His death on the cross, paying the penalty for our sins. His perfect and sinless blood – as the song says, “Sorrow and love flow mingled down” – does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. As we take the wafer and the juice, representing Jesus’ body and blood, help us to remember, constantly and continually. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

 

Offering meditation

That song has another verse, one that is still biblical without using Bible verses. And it is appropriate for the time when we collect the offering. The thing is, though, that it isn’t just about dropping money into a plate. It’s about a mindset, about how you live and how you see the world. The offering plate is a part of it, but it goes so much farther.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Again, there isn’t a Bible verse in there, but that is so biblical in its ideas and implications that there is support for it throughout the whole Bible.

Let’s pray. Lord God, we don’t own the world. You have made us stewards, caretakers, of some little part of it. And no matter how fat our wallet is, how many entries in our bank account, it isn’t our money that You want – it’s us, wholly and completely. And when we have given ourselves to You, what we put in the plate is a reflection of that amazing love Jesus has for us. Bless this offering, I pray, the envelopes, the givers, and the donation of lives to You.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

From my news feed:

So “Let’s go racin’, boys!”.

Looking at the lights on the corner of the front porch (from inside). Cold, windy, and chill-inducing. Even just seeing the picture.

I was reading about a criminal in England who was thought to be “on the autism spectrum”.

I’m no rocket surgeon, but doesn’t the idea of “spectrum” run from roughly zero to 100%?  Measure it in colors, measure it in furlongs per fortnight, I don’t really care – there has to be some min and max for the population, even if those get changed occasionally (like the hottest and coldest places on earth).

I found this comic book which explains that it isn’t a single dimension, but rather a color wheel of different parameters. Fine.  My argument remains the same – the center is zero and the outside is 100%, no matter where you are measuring.

If the argument arises that even if someone measures 0% on all areas, that they are merely high-functioning autistic, my counter-argument is that the scope isn’t big enough.  Make it go up to 11, or 200%, or down into negative numbers, or whatever.

Just doesn’t make sense to say that some people simply aren’t on the autism spectrum.  There has to be some justification for including people on the list.  I say put everybody on the list, and then draw a line (somewhere, somehow) to say “this is autism”.  Otherwise, if everybody on the autism spectrum, say “they are autistic, and here is how”.

This picture, from the DSM, shows my thought.  There are different areas of concern – intense focus, repetition, etc. – and the impairment increases from the center of the circle.  There are examples of different individuals. Person A has impairments in all areas.  Person B has no impairments in the area of “intense focus”.  Person C has no impairments in the area of “sensitivities”.

I would like to propose Person D, who has no impairments in any of the five areas – they would be a black circle with the letter D in it – and they would still be on the spectrum!  The DSM has shown that individuals with measurements of zero are still in the spectrum.  That would seem to indicate that someone with zero in all measurements is still on the spectrum.

Another perspective: I don’t have diabetes – I’m on the diabetes spectrum. I’m not overweight – I’m on the fat spectrum.  I’m not employed – I’m on the job spectrum.  I wasn’t speeding – I’m on the velocity spectrum.

I dunno – maybe I’m obsessing.

Seen as I was clearing out my Hotmail spam.

doctor doctor

A couple of funnies. Not mine, but no attributions.

Human: What do we want!?
Computer: Natural language processing!
Human: When do we want it!?
Computer: When do we want what?

This won’t last long, but a local TV station is forecasting a very hot night.

2018-12-31 17_23_37-Clipboard

Glad it’s cooling down for New Year’s Day.

From https://www.wcpo.com/weather/your-latest-forecast