System – I saw a small clip on the news about a pumpkin that had grown into a chain-link fence. I was thinking about people who are Christians and still reach for the things on the other side of the fence and the people who aren’t Christians and still reach for the things on the other side of the fence. When that pumpkin is harvested, what can they do with it? Traditionally, though some may break from it, The insides are used to bake pumpkin pie or toasted pumpkin seeds, and the outside would be a jack’o’lantern, but I don’t think it would be able to stand alone. It didn’t look like a pumpkin should, and it still had several weeks to grow. If I had grown this pumpkin, I probably would cut it from the fence and add it to the fetilizer heap. I’m not sure which is worse, having the truth and turning your back on it, or knowing about the truth and not believing it.

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Symphony – Some people say that they find it difficult to believe that an all-loving God created Hell. Somebody may not have told them why Hell was created. Angels were created into the presence of God. One angel had a bit of trouble accepting his place and he convinced many to rebel against God so that he could set himself up higher. He failed, and he and all the other angels that rejected God were sent to Hell. Angels were born into God’s holy presence and were holy themselves. By rejecting God, he rejected Heaven and had to be sent somewhere else. It was not made for us, but it accomodates us because we were tricked into sinning. We had no atonement other than the sacrifical system for many years. Then, Jesus became the last sacrifice, a permanant sacrifice so that anybody who believed that he died for them would have their sins removed and would not be destined for Hell. Some people forget that holiness and righteousness are two other attributes of God. He didn’t break his own rules even for his son, he won’t break them for us. Everybody may not accept them, but everybody must play by them.

Sylfaen – Jeff Foxworthy jokes that the lottery is the rednecks’ retirement plan. Getting a big check by chance is only half of the story. Some time ago on the news, they reported that many lottery winners suffer divorce, friends and family mysteriously die, and worse. Who would want that kind of retirement plan? I know that I couldn’t be a rich person, I’d probably give it away to people in need of the money more than me. It’s funny that we remember the greater philanthropists because they had so much to give away. They were billionaires. Have you ever seen a millionaire match the donation of the billionaire or give more? Is it to be said that the millionaire was the greater giver? It becomes a numbers game and a name in a record book. Still, it won’t matter if the intentions behind the giving are for the tax break or the world record. Only one car can be used by one person at one time. Why then, would you own ten and leave nine unused most of the time? Why not sell five of them and give away the proceeds? Learn this lesson, in the first century church, one man sold his field and donated all the money to the church to support the missionaries. A couple in that church decided to do the same thing, but they witheld some money for themselves. They were confronted and paid the price. Give what you claim you will give, give without any selfish intentions, and give of what you have, not from the surplus.

StymieTLig – For some reason, the history books attempt to exclude mention of religion whenever and wherever possible. I find this idea misguided. If you were to ask who somebody was, they would tell you their job, their hair color, height, etc., their hobbies, and maybe even their religion. If you wanted to know about our founding fathers, you would probably learn how religion defined them. It is common knowledge that the pilgrims were among the earliest religious settlers to come to America. It seems that every other British leader would put pressure on his or her people to convert to his or her religion. Henry the VIIIth created the Church of England just so he could grant himself a divorce. Queen Mary 1, often known as Bloody Mary, relentlessly persecuted Protestants. The pilgrims weren’t the only religious group to seek refuge in The New World, but their Quaker counterparts settled in a different area. We have fewer and fewer chapters dedicated to the groups that founded America and more on the Evolution which is said to have brought the world about. The groups that emigrated into America brought with them their beliefs. Among them were the Irish who revived the church with their faith. Because of this fact, few people know that Col. George Washington believed that God had protected him when his two horses had been shot from under him, four bullet holes ripped through his coat, and there was death on every side of him and he was untouched. President FDR gave his troops the New Testament Bibles before Pearl Harbor. Sir Ernest Shackelton attributed the success of the thirty-six hour trek across the ice to send for help to rescue the crew of the troubled ship Endurance to the mysterious fourth member of the group that joined them and sustained them through the most dangerous portion of the journey, in fact, he said in his autobiography: “When I look back at those days I have no doubt that Providence guided us, not only across those snowfields, but across the storm–white sea that separated Elephant Island from our landing–place on South Georgia. I know that during that long, and racking march of thirty–six hours over the unnamed mountains and glaciers of South Georgia it seemed to me often that we were four, not three. I said nothing to my companions on the point, but afterwards Worsley said to me, “Boss, I had a curious feeling on the march that there was another person with us.” Crean confessed to the same idea. One feels “the dearth of human words, the roughness of mortal speech” in trying to describe things intangible, but a record of our journeys would be incomplete without a reference to a subject very near to our hearts.”

StymieT – In a material world, it is very hard to acquire spiritual qualities. It’s kind of like love, you have to choose it each and every day. You’ll have to acknowledge that you might have messed up and accept the consequences. It’s not an on and off thing going on here and now or there and later. I’m really talking about failure. We’re not doing anybody a favor by saying, “No, an F doesn’t mean you’ve failed, you’ve done a fantastic job!” I am motivated by the desire to correct my failures. If nobody had ever told me that something wasn’t done right, I wouldn’t have known that it needed to be corrected. If a kite isn’t built correctly, it won’t fly. If a cast isn’t set correctly, a bone won’t heal correctly. If a generator isn’t repaired correctly, people may die when it is needed most. You can’t develop the fruit of the spirit without accepting and growing beyond your failures. “I’ll try…” can mean I’ll attempt it, but I’m not sure I’ll succeed. “I give up!” can mean I’ve had it with failing over and over again, it’s just not worth it. “I can’t” can mean I won’t, I just don’t seem able to understand this. How can anybody ever learn to do something correctly if all they are ever told that getting it wrong is good enough. When kids learn to walk, they fall countless times. When kids learn to tie their shoes, they create unique knots. When kids learn to talk, the don’t have complete sentences and correct grammar. When you aspire to persevere over the many things you once failed, you have succeeded in achieving one of many fruits of the spirit.

StymieSCTReg – It’s amazing what you can see with the aid of a blacklight that you would not be able to see normally. We had once figured that the people we bought this house from, if they used it at all, weren’t into keeping the house in any sembalance of order. Some of the stains that I can now see beg the question of how such a mess can be created, then again, I don’t want to know. We won’t always be able to see the stains of our sin, but God can. My laser tag place in Fort Wayne, Laser-X, uses blacklights in the game area. Rookies sometimes make the mistake of wearing white. They are a clear mark from almost anywhere. Because our sins have been forgiven, we’ve to be vigillant so that we are a difficult mark. In the end, it’s not whether you win or lose, but it’s your team that matters.

SouvenirGotAntDDem – We had purchased a few Halloween sound effects discs for a seperate project. I had just began to listen through one such disc. It had one fourty minute track of sounds that seemed to repeat itself 85% of the time, including an annoying high pitched scream. At one point, the background music changed. It sounded as if they hauled in a children’s choir to sing it. It was an odd move considering that most of the disc was engineered. I did like that they had the sound effects seperated into a few categories, Mad Scientists Lab, Graveyard, Haunted Woods, Prisoner Cells, and the like. You could close your eyes and imagine that you were walking down a very long hallway and looking through the windows as you heard various standard sound effects, the screams, bubbling liquids, digging, sawing, howling, laughing. Halloween is fun and games for us nowadays, but people used to take it seriously. In Ireland, the country has many religious buildings and a very interesting religious history. At one point, pagan festivals to worship gods of/in nature were all wiped out. It should have stayed that way too, but some people decided to bring them back. Do we know if people are attempting to bring back the old Halloween? Do we know how they celebrate it? If its true, could we simply quit the holiday?