Monthly Archives: April 2017

Mom Nature

Screenshot 2017-04-18 11.19.59.png

Dena Dietrich

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened (Romans 1:20-21).”

“It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!”

That iconic Chiffon Margarine commercial made a big impact on consumers in the 70’s. If you’re too young to remember, it showed Mother Nature tasting what she thought was butter, and then when the narrator tells her she’s wrong, she angrily flashes her thunder and lightning threat with this catchy phrase.

Pretty effective advertising as her saying is still used today, especially when the weather acts up. So why mention this commercial? Frankly, I’m fed up with Mother Nature and cringe every time a weatherman uses it in their forecast.

It’s subtle, I know, but it undermines God’s place as our Creator. As Paul said in Romans, everyone knows He’s real because of the marvel of nature. Before you judge me as a nitpicker imagine this scenario.

You’re watching the weather tonight and there’s crazy stuff going on, from tornadoes to floods, to hail and ice, and the weatherman says, “God has really let lose on the Midwest with His power as this severe storm barrels down on Michigan.” It’d never happen, and if it did happen that person would be fired. Doesn’t that strike you as odd?

I’ve never heard a meteorologist attribute the power of acute weather to God, but always to Mother Nature (and she doesn’t even exist!) She’s no more real than the Tooth Fairy, Santa, or the Easter Bunny (and those last two minimize His rightful place too). The point is this.

Unlike Mother Nature, God is very real and even atheists are “without excuse.” Just look around as spring bursts forth today. His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made.” And since we are the pinnacle of His creation, it also means that we are accountable to Him as our Maker (Hebrews 9:27).

As our Creator, He has every right to expect something from us. One day, as our Judge, He will look upon us for His holiness, which apart from Jesus’ blood to cover our sins and make us holy, just doesn’t exist. As James said, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”

We are all guilty, and despite our very best efforts, unlike Mother Nature’s faulty taste buds, we can’t fool God by our good deeds when our sin remains (Isaiah 64:6). He knows real butter from margarine. Thankfully, He has withheld His thunder and lightning judgment that we deserved, and Jesus joyfully took it for us to make us as holy as God Himself (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Now that’s truly iconic!

 

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Twain’s Quip Twip

Screenshot 2017-04-07 12.00.17.pngSam Clemens

In 1867, Mark Twain was not very well known yet, but fame was waiting for him just around the corner, and his trip to Israel launched that famous writing career with his travel book, The Innocents Abroad. What he saw in Israel over 150 years ago is not what you would recognize today, with lush fields filled with crops. The national transformation of Israel is quite stunning today.

He had much to say about the Holy Land, then ruled by the Ottoman Empire, and Americans ate it up. The Innocents Abroad became a bestseller with vivid descriptions like these:

 The noted Sea of Galilee, where Roman fleets once rode at anchor and the disciples of the Saviour sailed in their ships, was long ago deserted by the devotees of war and commerce, and its borders are a silent wilderness; Capernaum is a shapeless ruin; Magdala is the home of beggared Arabs; Bethsaida and Chorazin have vanished from the earth, and the ‘desert places’ round about them where thousands of men once listened to the Saviour’s voice and ate the miraculous bread, sleep in the hush of a solitude that is inhabited only by birds of prey and skulking foxes.

IMG_2112.JPGThe Sea of Galilee

A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds-a silent mournful expanse. A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action. We never saw a human being on the whole route. There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country. 

 And Jerusalem was not the amazing city we see today either:

IMG_2897.JPGNear David’s Tomb in Jerusalem

Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village; the riches of Solomon are no longer there to compel the admiration of visiting Oriental queens; the wonderful temple which was the pride and the glory of Israel, is gone, and the Ottoman crescent is lifted above the spot where, on that most memorable day in the annals of the world, they reared the Holy Cross.

 It seems to me that all the races and colors and tongues of the earth must be represented among the fourteen thousand souls that dwell in Jerusalem. Rags, wretchedness, poverty and dirt, those signs and symbols that indicate the presence of Moslem rule more surely than the crescent-flag itself, abound.

IMG_3206.JPGDavid’s Tower in Jerusalem

 He was struck by the size of the city of Jerusalem too:

 A fast walker could go outside the walls of Jerusalem and walk entirely around the city in an hour. I do not know how else to make one understand how small it is.

IMG_2874.JPGBelow the Temple Mount (Wailing Wall)

 He had this to say about the Temple Mount:

 The mighty Mosque of Omar, and the paved court around it, occupy a fourth part of Jerusalem. They are upon Mount Moriah, where King Solomon’s Temple stood. This Mosque is the holiest place the Mohammedan knows, outside of Mecca. Up to within a year or two past, no christian could gain admission to it or its court for love or money. But the prohibition has been removed, and we entered freely for bucksheesh (bribe money).

 IMG_2696.jpgThe sealed up Golden Gate

He had this impression of the Golden Gate:

 Close by is the Golden Gate, in the Temple wall–a gate that was an elegant piece of sculpture in the time of the Temple, and is even so yet. From it, in ancient times, the Jewish High Priest turned loose the scapegoat and let him flee to the wilderness and bear away his twelve-month load of the sins of the people. If they were to turn one loose now, he would not get as far as the Garden of Gethsemane, till these miserable vagabonds here would gobble him up, sins and all. They wouldn’t care. Mutton-chops and sin is good enough living for them. The Moslems watch the Golden Gate with a jealous eye, and an anxious one, for they have an honored tradition that when it falls, Islamism will fall and with it the Ottoman Empire. It did not grieve me any to notice that the old gate was getting a little shaky.

IMG_2142.JPGThe mighty Jordan

And after seeing the Jordan River:

“When I was a boy I somehow got the impression that the river Jordan was four thousand miles long and thirty-five miles wide.  It is only ninety miles long, and so crooked that a man does not know which side of it he is on half the time.  In going ninety miles it does not get over more than fifty miles of ground.  It is not any wider than Broadway in New York.”

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The best part about his trip had nothing to do with Israel, per se. That distinction would go to a man in his group of travelers, Charles Langdon, who would become his friend and introduce Twain to his sister Olivia “Livy” Langdon…and she would become his wife in 1870, Mrs. Olivia Langdon Clemens.

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Some Pics…Worth 1000 Words

Sometimes words aren’t necessary.

Screenshot 2017-04-03 17.15.31.pngSurvivors of the Titanic

Screenshot 2017-03-28 16.13.44.pngJimmy Stewart with his bomber crew in England

Screenshot 2017-04-03 17.27.09.pngGoldsmith family (1907), before Titanic voyage (1915)

IMG_4082A 1953 Corvette

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