Coffee Break – 05.29.2017

Your Monday Dose Of Inspiration - Memorial Day Edition

In the United States, today is Memorial Day. This day of remembrance began in 1868, and was initially called Decoration Day. It was established as a day to decorate the graves of those who were killed in the Civil War. After World War I, the observance was expanded to include those who fell in all American wars. Memorial Day was officially declared a national holiday by Congress in 1971, and placed on the last Monday in May.

Coffee Break

We all need to be reminded of the sacrifice that many have given to ensure our freedom. In honor of Memorial Day, here are a couple of statements made by past Presidents of the United States.

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” — John F. Kennedy

“They do not need our praise. They do not need that our admiration should sustain them. There is no immortality that is safer than theirs. We come not for their sakes but for our own, in order that we may drink at the same springs of inspiration from which they themselves drank.” — Woodrow Wilson

“It was the transcendent fortitude and steadfastness of these men who in adversity and in suffering through the darkest hour of our history held faithful to an ideal. Here men endured that a nation might live.” — Herbert Hoover

“I don’t have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is. Every time we hear, watch, or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.” — Ronald Reagan

“Looking across this field, we see the scale of heroism and sacrifice. All who are buried here understood their duty. All stood to protect America. And all carried with them memories of a family that they hoped to keep safe by their sacrifice.” — George W. Bush

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who have lost loved ones defending the American Way.

If you are interested n finding out more about Memorial Day, here are a few resources:

Memorize Scripture: 1 Peter 4:1-2

Hiding God’s Word In Our Hearts

Once again, as 1 Peter 4 begins, Peter encourages his readers to stand strong in the face of persecution, and to continue living for God. In doing so, he makes some extraordinary statements! Take at look at the first part of this chapter in 1 Peter 4:1-2.

1 Peter 4:1-2

Peter realizes that the temptation for believers to fall back into their old lifestyles of sin is strong. As he begins this next section of his letter, he encourages his readers to stay strong, and to avoid that. It was true then, and is still true today, that the pull of our culture is a strong force. We feel the pressure to conform to the “norm,” regardless of what that may be. And when we stand up against it, our culture heaps abuse and torment upon us.

Peter’s encouragement here is to follow Christ in spite of this. Christ suffered “in his body.” This is a very similar phrase to what Peter wrote in 3:18, where he says Christ “was put to death in the body.” Peter’s connection is clear, and his point is that we need to arm ourselves with the same attitude that Christ had, and be willing to face such suffering when it comes. This sounds very similar to Paul’s admonition to take the same attitude as Christ in Philippians 2.

Peter’s next statement is a mind blowing concept, one which I think many present-day Christians forget all too often. He states that when we suffer for doing God’s will, we demonstrate that we are done living in defiance of God’s will, we are done with sin. We show the world that we are ready to live for God, even if it involves suffering and persecution. In other words, sin holds no power over us, because we belong to God. When we take up the same attitude as Christ, we long for his will, and no longer long for sin. We have decided to stop sinning.

Book Review – The Dark Heart by Julie Cave

The Dark HeartJulie Cave may be one of my favorite authors. Her ability to weave a tale of faith intermingled with mystery and suspense is almost beyond comparison. She is a talented author, there is no doubt.

I first discovered her books several years ago, when I reviewed a couple of novels from her Dinah Harris series: The Shadowed Mind and Deadly Disclosures. The Dark Heart is the fourth novel featuring Dinah Harris, and it may very well be the best yet.

Author Julie Cave writes a captivating fictional story, but she deals with the harsh realities of modern culture in doing so. Her character, Dinah Harris, is a recovering alcoholic who must deal with the tragic loss of her family. The depression and despair that come through seem almost real at times. The circumstances that define Harris’ life are detailed in the first novel, but are touched on briefly in this one as well. However, I don’t think you need to read them in sequential order.

In The Dark Heart, dark realities are present as well. Drug abuse and racism, and even the issue of bullying come to light in this novel, and Cave deals with them in a way that pulls no punches. Each of these are horrific in their own ways, and many people struggle with these issues. As Dinah Harris digs into this murder, seeking to solve the crime before another can be committed, Cave deals with each of these issues in a way that exemplifies her own faith in God.

Coffee Break – 05.22.2017

Your Monday Dose Of Inspiration

On this day in history: Today marks the anniversary of a lot of human ingenuity. In 1570, Abraham Ortelius published the first modern atlas in Belgium. In 1841, Henry Kennedy received a patent for the first reclining chair. In 1849, Abraham Lincoln received a patent for the floating dry dock. In 1891, the first public motion picture was given in Thomas Edison’s lab. In 1892, Dr. Washington Sheffield invented the toothpaste tube. And in 1906, the Wright brothers received a patent their flying machine.

Coffee Break

How To Make Coffee Cookies In The Shape Of Coffee Beans – Because you have always wondered this, right? Give it a try. And then drop some off at my office…

Why Do We Put Candles On Birthday Cakes? – This is not just a random tradition it seems. The article is interesting, but the bonus facts at the end are especially intriguing.

The Curta Calculator – I have long been a fan of history, and for various reasons, the period of the 20th century surrounding WWII is my favorite. This article shows the ingenuity of man, even in the face of the most dire of circumstances.

You Can’t See This – Our minds play tricks on us. Very often there are things we can see or can’t see that are different from what is really there. This video explains. Despite the evolutionary assumptions it makes, it’s pretty interesting.

Memorize Scripture: 1 Peter 3:21-22

Hiding God’s Word In Our Hearts

In this final passage of 1 Peter 3, Peter makes a very clear statement about baptism and draws a close connection to salvation. You can see this passage for yourself in 1 Peter 3:21-22.

1 Peter 3:21-22

Peter’s statement here is startlingly clear: “Baptism now saves you.” Peter connects baptism as an essential piece of the salvation process.

He has just spent the previous verses giving a comparison of Noah’s flood; here he connects the two and draws his conclusions. Peter uses a literary device known as a type and antitype. The type is the event that foreshadows the antitype, the reality. In this case, Noah’s flood foreshadows salvation through water, which for people in the New Testament age, is baptism. Peter shows how Noah’s Flood points forward to the reality of baptism.

Just how does Noah and the Flood point to the reality of baptism? This can be a difficult thing to understand, and many reject it out of hand. But what Peter states here is that Noah and his family were brought safely through the waters of the flood, and were saved. And while this, in itself, is very interesting, it is only the comparison. The question of how baptism saves has yet to be answered.

Peter knows this and gives his answer in the next sentence. Ultimately, it’s through the divine power of the resurrection of Jesus that this can effect our salvation. But in a more immediate fashion, Peter gives another comparison, a contrast. Baptism doesn’t save because it removes dirt from the body, but because it is an appeal to God for a good conscience.