Category Archives: God

Sunday Devotional: Is Christ divided?

1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 22-24, 30

I urge you, brothers and sisters,
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that all of you agree in what you say,
and that there be no divisions among you,
but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.
For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters,
by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you.
I mean that each of you is saying,
“I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,”
or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”
Is Christ divided?
Was Paul crucified for you?
Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.

For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus.

“For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters…that there are rivalries among you. I mean that each of you is saying, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,’ or ‘I belong to Cephas’….”

In our time, the above passage from 1 Corinthians 1:11-12, would be:

“For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters…that there are rivalries among you. I mean that each of you is saying, ‘I belong to Roman Catholicism,’ or ‘I belong to Protestantism (Anglican, Baptist, Evangelical, Lutheran, Methodist…),’ or ‘I belong to Eastern Orthodoxy’….”

Christians number 2.42 billion in the world today, divided into countless Christian denominations, of which there are five main groups, each group divided into subdivisions and sub-sub-divisions:

  1. Catholicism (1.313 billion).
  2. Protestantism (900 million).
  3. Eastern Orthodoxy (270 million).
  4. Nontrinitarian Restorationism (35 million).
  5. Miscellaneous branches (2 million), including Messianic Judaism.

Why must the denominations vilify and bicker with each other?

Cui bono (who benefits)?

To quote FOTM‘s Grif in his recent comment:

“Christians, true Christians, those who truly believe in and love the LORD, have set themselves against other true believers. Christians are fighting Christians over things of the flesh, and are forgetting in the process, things of the spirit. These machinations echo throughout Christendom.

Satan laughs.”

Are we not brothers and sisters in Christ?

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Sing a new song to our Lord

Psalms 40:2-18

Surely, I wait for the LORD;
who bends down to me and hears my cry,
Draws me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the muddy clay,
Sets my feet upon rock,
steadies my steps,
And puts a new song in my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
Many shall look on in fear
and they shall trust in the LORD.

Blessed the man who sets
his security in the LORD,
who turns not to the arrogant
or to those who stray after falsehood.
You, yes you, O LORD, my God,
have done many wondrous deeds!
And in your plans for us
there is none to equal you.
Should I wish to declare or tell them,
too many are they to recount.

Sacrifice and offering you do not want;
you opened my ears.
Holocaust and sin-offering you do not request;
so I said, “See; I come
with an inscribed scroll written upon me.
I delight to do your will, my God;
your law is in my inner being!”

When I sing of your righteousness
in a great assembly,
See, I do not restrain my lips;
as you, LORD, know.
I do not conceal your righteousness
within my heart;
I speak of your loyalty and your salvation.
I do not hide your mercy or faithfulness from a great assembly.

LORD, may you not withhold
your compassion from me;
May your mercy and your faithfulness
continually protect me.
But evils surround me
until they cannot be counted.
My sins overtake me,
so that I can no longer see.
They are more numerous than the hairs of my head;
my courage fails me.
LORD, graciously rescue me!
Come quickly to help me, LORD!

May those who seek to destroy my life
be shamed and confounded.
Turn back in disgrace
those who desire my ruin.
Let those who say to me “Aha!”
Be made desolate on account of their shame.
While those who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you.
May those who long for your salvation
always say, “The LORD is great.”

Though I am afflicted and poor,
my Lord keeps me in mind.
You are my help and deliverer;
my God, do not delay!

Sing along! Here’s the lyrics:

Sing unto the Lord a new song
Sing unto the Lord all the earth (x2)

For God is great and greatly to be praised (x2)

He put a new song in my mouth
A hymn of praise unto our God
Many will see and fear – And put their trust in the Lord (x2)

As we worship the Lord in spirit and in truth
Let the voice of the Lord be heard in all the earth

And may the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you!

~Eowyn

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Thursday Funny! Cat burglar steals men’s socks and underwear

Most cats, if allowed to roam outdoors, bring home trophies like dead rats for their humans. One special cat even brings flowers for a kind woman in the neighborhood.

But Brigit, a cat in New Zealand, however, has a fondness for men’s underwear shorts and socks.

Selina Sykes reports for Express, March 21, 2016, that 6-year-old Brigit in Hamilton East, New Zealand, had stolen 11 pairs of men’s shorts and 50 socks, much to the embarrassment of her owner Sarah Nathan, who posted leaflets in the neighborhood apologizing for her cat’s theft.

Brigit became an internet sensation after red-faced Nathan posted a picture of Brigit’s haul on Facebook with a caption reading: “Now it’s getting silly. This is Brigit’s haul from the last two months. Every morning we wake up to more.” The post received received thousands of likes and hundreds of shares on Facebook.

Nathan asked anyone who thinks they’ve had their underwear stolen to come forward and reclaim them:

“It’s all men’s. It’s really, really weird. She’s [Brigit] got really specific taste. In our last house she’d bring home a bit of everything – she’d bring home men’s undies, women’s undies, togs, she even brought home a hockey shin pad and a jumper. She was much less discerning – now she’s decided menswear is the thing – and it’s a very specific kind of underpants that she likes. It’s an absolute obsession. A night does not go by without her bringing things home. I got up this morning and there were another four socks in the house.”

Luckily, Nathan believed the underwear to be all clean:

“They feel as if they’ve come off the washing line – they’ve got that crispy feeling. I’ve put notes in every letterbox in the street. Someone must be missing this stuff. Please share if you know someone who lives in the George St. area.”

~Eowyn

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Sunday Funny! Cat says ‘Well, hi!’ in a southern accent

An orange tabby cat named Gambino has taken the Internet by storm.

Gambino’s human(s) created an Instagram account for him: gambino_911.

On December 1, 2019, a video of Gambino saying “Well, hi!” in a Southern accent was posted to gambino_911, with 1,173,316 views as of this morning. 

The video was also posted to TikTok, where it has 1.8 million “likes”.

As you saw and heard for yourself, the video shows Bambino running into the kitchen. The cat’s owner followed and rounded a corner, taking Bambino by surprise.

In a decidedly non-cat voice, Bambino said: “Well, hi!”.

H/t PawMyGosh

See also “Astonishing: bulldog says ‘Mom, I love you!’”.

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: The Importance of the Baptism of Our Lord

Matthew 3:13-17

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan
to be baptized by him.
John tried to prevent him, saying,
“I need to be baptized by you,
and yet you are coming to me?”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us
to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he allowed him.
After Jesus was baptized,
he came up from the water and behold,
the heavens were opened for him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove
and coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

The account of Jesus’ baptism is significant for at least two reasons:

(1) The Baptism of our Lord by St. John the Baptist is one of several instances in the Old and New Testaments  — see also Genesis 1:26, John 5:7, and Matthew 28 — when the nature of the Triune Godhead is revealed as the vexing mystery of three Persons in one God.

Our greatest theologians had sought in vain to plumb the mystery of the Triune Godhead — of three Persons in one God.

St. Thomas Aquinas concluded in Summa Theologica:

We cannot come to the knowledge of the Trinity by reason alone, that is, by the natural and unaided efforts of the human mind. By our natural reason, we can know that God exists; that he is the First Cause of all; that he is one, infinite, simple, immutable, etc. But that the one God subsists in three really distinct Persons is a truth that can be known only by supernatural means. That is a truth beyond the reach of human reason to know, to prove, or to disprove. We know this truth by divine revelation, and accept it by supernatural faith; we take it upon the authority of God himself.… By aid of the light of glory the soul in heaven sees God himself clearly and truly.

And so we accept our human limitation and believe, putting our trust in the words of St. Paul that we shall understand fully when we see God face to face:

1 Corinthians 13:11-12

When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child;
when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall understand fully,
even as I have been fully understood.

(2) Matthew 3’s account also speaks to the importance that Jesus holds for Baptism. Though a sacrament meant for sinful humanity, the sinless Son of God chose to be baptized before He began His public ministry.

These are the words on Baptism of His apostle St. Paul:

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” -Romans 6:3-4

But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” -1 Corinthians 6:11

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” -Galatians 3:27

Baptism purifies and sanctifies (makes holy) the person, making him/her a dwelling of the Holy Spirit. That means that without Baptism, a person is without the Holy Spirit and rendered defenseless against the Evil One.

I don’t know what other Christian denominations believe about baptism, but in the Catholic Church — notwithstanding its many flaws, including the terrible sins committed by its clergy — the sacrament of Baptism is an act of exorcism:

Since Baptism signifies liberation from sin and from its instigator the devil, one or more exorcisms are pronounced over the candidate. The celebrant then anoints him with the oil of catechumens, or lays his hands on him, and he explicitly renounces Satan. (#1237 of Catechism of the Catholic Church)

In this manner, through the exorcizing sacrament of Baptism, “all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.”

Moreover, through Baptism we receive the gift of grace from the Holy Trinity — to believe in God, to love Him, and to grow in goodness. “Thus the whole organism of the Christian’s supernatural life has its roots in Baptism.”

So if you are a Christian, don’t make the mistake of postponing the baptism of your child(ren) like a friend of mine (see “Without Baptism, we are abandoned to the wolves“). Baptism — clothing your child “with Christ” — is the most important thing you can and will ever do for your child.

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

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God’s Creation: 17 y.o. NASA intern discovers circumbinary planet 1,300 light-years from Earth

A 17-year-old student, Wolf Cukier from Scarsdale High School in New York, was just three days into a summer internship at NASA’s Goddard’s Space Flight Center in Goddard, Md., when he made a remarkable discovery that should make us lift our heads from our human disposition of navel-gazing, look up in wonderment, and realize how puny we and Earth are in the unimaginably vast Universe.

Wolf Cukier

According to NASA, Cukier’s “job was to examine variations in star brightness captured by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and uploaded to the Planet Hunters TESS citizen science project.”

TESS monitors millions of stars with four cameras, which each take a full-frame image of a patch of the sky every 30 minutes for 27 days. Scientists use the observations to generate graphs of how the brightness of stars change over time. When a planet crosses in front of its star from our perspective, an event called a transit, its passage causes a distinct dip in the star’s brightness.

As recounted by Cukier:

I was looking through the data for everything the volunteers had flagged as an eclipsing binary, a system where two stars circle around each other and from our view eclipse each other every orbit. About three days into my internship, I saw a signal from a system called TOI 1338. At first I thought it was a stellar eclipse, but the timing was wrong. It turned out to be a planet.

TOI 1338 b, as it is now called, is TESS’s first circumbinary planet, a world orbiting two stars. NASA’s Kepler and K2 missions previously discovered 12 circumbinary planets in 10 solar systems, all similar to TOI 1338 b.

Circumbinary planets orbiting two stars are more difficult to detect than those orbiting one star. In the case of TOI 1338 b, it is even more difficult to detect because the planet’s transits are irregular, between every 93 and 95 days, and vary in depth and duration because of the orbital motion of the two stars it orbits. TESS only sees the transits crossing the larger star; the transits of the smaller star are too faint to detect. This explains why Cukier had to visually examine each potential transit.

The planet, TOI 1338 b, is the first circumbinary planet that has been spotted using TESS data. After eagle-eye Cukier notified NASA of what he saw, scientists used a software package called eleanor, named after Eleanor Arroway, the central character in Carl Sagan’s novel “Contact,” to confirm the transits were real and not a result of instrumental artifacts.

Around 6.9 times larger than Earth, or between the sizes of Neptune and Saturn, TOI 1338 b is the only known planet in its system, which lies 1,300 light-years away in the constellation Pictor.

A light-year, which measures distance in space, equals 6 trillion miles, which means TOI 1338 b is 7,800 trillion miles from our Earth.

The planet TOI 1338 b orbits in almost exactly the same plane as the stars, so it experiences regular stellar eclipses. The two stars orbit each other every 15 days. One is about 10% more massive than our Sun, while the other is cooler, dimmer and only one-third the Sun’s mass.

Cukier’s discovery was featured in a panel discussion on Monday, Jan. 6, at the 235th American Astronomical Society meeting in Honolulu. A paper Cukier co-authored with scientists from Goddard, San Diego State University, the University of Chicago and other institutions, has been submitted to a scientific journal.

However, Cukier will not get the opportunity to name his discovery. As he explains to the New York Post: “New planets discovered by TESS get a TOI number if they don’t have another significant name already.”

H/t Fox News

~Eowyn

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Street dog repeatedly kicked by passers-by whom he followed, hoping to be adopted

This is heart-breaking, but there is a happy ending!

Scribble was a tiny, forlorn little street dog — one of countless homeless dogs in Manenberg, South Africa.

Scribble would wander the streets of Manenberg, following passers-by to catch their attention, hoping that some kind human would adopt him. But no one would.

One day, Sidewalk Specials — a Capetown non-profit that rescues dogs from abusive situations and off euthanasia lists, but does not have a shelter —  found Scribble limping in the streets, and took him for a checkup at a veterinary clinic, Vet Point.

The vet discovered that little Scribble’s limp was from being repeatedly kicked.

Sidewalk Specials convinced Hill’s Nutrition and TV station SABC 3 to feature Scribble on the Expresso Morning Show.

Happily, a family in Johannesburg saw Scribble and fell in love with him.

So Scribble boarded a plane to Johannesburg and met his forever family.

H/t PawMyGosh

Sidewalk Specials depends entirely on public donations. Please donate here, no matter how small the amount. (I don’t ask you to donate unless I have donated.)

~Eowyn

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The Epiphany: The Magi and the Christmas Star

Matthew 2:1-2, 9-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”

And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

The Oxford Dictionaries defines “ephiphany” (with a small “e”) as “a moment of sudden revelation or insight” and “a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being”. The word “Epiphany” (with a capital “E”) refers to “the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi”.

Today is the great feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the Magi — an event that had been foretold in Isaiah 60:1-6 some 800 years before the birth of Christ.

Isaiah 60:1-6

Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you….
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you….
Then…the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.

The Magi were wise men — non-Hebrew pagans from the East. Bearing gifts fit for a king — those of gold, frankincense, and myrrh — their coming to Jerusalem to pay homage to “the king of the Jews” shows that they seek in the messianic light of the Christmas star, the one who will be king of all nations.

It is noteworthy that the first creatures to see the newborn Jesus were his human parents, Mary and Joseph; angels on high; humble farm animals; lowly shepherds; and Gentiles — the Magi.

The Epiphany, therefore, signifies the manifestation of Jesus as Son of God and Savior of the world — not just the Old Testament‘s oft-prophesied messiah of the Jews. God is not a tribal deity, exclusive to only the so-called “chosen people”. Jesus the Christ came for Jews and Gentiles. He came for all of us, no matter our race, gender, language, country, or creed.

As St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians 3:6:

[T]he Gentiles are coheirs,
members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise
in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Noteworthy also is the fact that the Magi, as the first Gentiles to find Jesus, were also the first Gentiles to receive His salvific grace. As recounted in Matthew 2:12:

And having been warned in a dream
not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country
by another way.

By the way, astronomers, using software programs reproducing the night sky exactly as it was thousands of years ago, have determined there really was a Christmas Star or Star of Bethlehem. David Reneke, news editor of Australia’s Sky and Space Magazine, said: “We found out something startling. It looks like the ‘Christmas star’ really did exist.”

It’s generally accepted by most researchers that Christ was born between 3 BC and 1 AD. On 12 August, 3 BC, Jupiter and Venus appeared very close together just before sunrise, appearing as bright morning stars. It would have been visible in the eastern dawn sky of the Middle East from about 3:45 to 5:20 a.m.

But it didn’t stop there. The crowning touch came ten months later, on 17 June 2 BC, Venus and Jupiter joined up again in the constellation Leo. This time the two planets were so close that, without the use of our modern optical aids, they would have looked like one single, brilliant star.

Venus is known as the planet of love; Jupiter as the planet of kings; and Leo denotes royalty and power.

See these other cases of science confirming Biblical accounts:

May the joy of the Epiphany and the peace and love of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, be with you!

~Eowyn

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Saturday funnies!

DCG

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Elephant visits her injured dog-buddy every day

St. Bonaventure called animals “creatures without sin”.

Time and time again, animals of different species would befriend each other.

One such pair, Tara the elephant and Bella the dog, lived in the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee.

Tara and Bella were best friends.

But Bella injured her back and was confined indoors while she healed.

So Tara visited the dog every day for three weeks.

Sadly, Bella passed in 2011.

H/t PawMyGosh

~Eowyn

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