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The Hubble Telescope has given us far-reaching views of the universe, but the Hubble itself has its own remarkable story. When the first images from Hubble were received in 1990, NASA scientists realized there was a very small, but significant flaw in the mirror. NASA was able to correct this mistake so Hubble could send amazing images from space; but it was an extraordinary achievement that required astronauts installing five pair of corrective mirrors (Hubble’s corrective lenses) in a space walk in 1993.
Read more about Hubble’s mirror flaw

Important lesson learned: Check, double-check, triple-check.  It could save a tremendous amount of trouble!

hubble Pillars of Creation

Taken on April 1, 1995, “Pillars of Creation” was named one of the top ten photographs from Hubble by space.com.

Stunning images received from Hubble

 

Pillars of Creation” is a photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of elephant trunks of interstellar gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula some 6,500-7,000 lights years from Earth.  NASA scientists named this nebula “Pillars of Creation”, because the gas and dust are in the process of forming new stars.

The phrase “pillars of creation” originated in a sermon given by an English Christian minister to describe the birth of Jesus Christ.  ​

And now wonder, ye angels, the Infinite has become an infant; he, upon whose shoulders the universe hang​s​…he who created all things, and bears up the pillars of creation.”​
Charles Spurgeon​ (1834-1892)

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Rembrandt ~ The Ten Commandments

Rembrandt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Common

The word epic comes to mind when speaking of The Ten Commandments. Everything about them is epic.

  • They were given in an epic way.  The Ten Commandments were given at Mt. Sinai immediately after the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt. Moses was God’s chosen servant/leader to receive The Ten Commandments so Moses is aptly referred to as ‘the law giver’.
  • The very words are epic in their simplicity, yet significance.  The Ten Commandments were given by God can be divided into two parts.  The first four relate to the relationship between man and God, while the last six focus on our relationship to our fellowman.
  • Their ability to convict us is epic.  While we may have never been arrested for committing or crime or we may have never been sentenced by a earthly court of law, we have all fallen short of God’s standard.

Are you familiar with The Ten Commandments?  Read them below and think about how many you have kept and how many you have broken.

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Psalm 100:1-5
1 [[A Psalm of praise.]] Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

I admire people who can sing.  Even though I am not musical, I understand how music speaks to us.  Music can fill in the gaps in a movie to make us frightened or it can bring us great relaxation.

The book of Psalms (pronounced salms ~ the “p” is silent) contains many poems and songs written by King David.  One of the most famous is the 23rd Psalm.
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roller coaster photoThe tallest roller coaster in the world is in Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey. It is 456 feet high with a maximum drop of 418 feet and a maximum speed of 128 mph. There are thrills on roller coaster rides associated with the ups and downs and twists and turns. Your body has dramatic forces exerted on it that is exhilarating for many but not all. What seems like an extreme experience occurs in a relatively safe environment.

Life can seem like a roller coaster ride. We go through dramatic circumstances that are often out of our control. Sometimes the ups and downs are the result of our own actions and decisions. How do we handle the feelings of euphoria when we seem to be on top of the world? Perhaps more importantly, how do we deal with the low points that inevitably invade our existence?

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My First Job by Karen King

Karen in Customer Relations for Hertz

Karen in Customer Relations for Hertz

My first job was as a Reservationist for Hertz Rent-a-Car when they opened their Worldwide Reservations Center in Oklahoma City.

Here are some valuable lessons I learned from my first job:

  1. You are there to learn how to do a job ~ and in the process you can also learn life skills! As an entry level Reservationist, my responsibility was to book car rental reservations by phone. I had a headset and sat in a cubicle with a computer screen in front of me. I answered incoming calls with a warm greeting. First and foremost, I learned how to take control of a telephone conversation.  In real-life, it is usually the caller that should take control of the conversation; because, well, they are the one who called you.  But when you are answering a business phone, you should always be the one in charge ~ the one who quickly discovers what the person calling wants and needs so that you can take care of them and make them happy.
  2. You don’t always have to firehose people with everything you know about a situation. I can’t tell you how many times my supervisor would review my calls and tell me, “Karen, you don’t have to tell them everything…you have to learn how to handle your calls faster!”  Uh…I thought what I was sharing was very useful and helpful information, but you have to balance what’s helpful with what’s necessary which in some cases is to work faster!
  3. Sometimes seniority matters.  Since the reservations center was a 24-hour a day, 7-days a week operation, I had to start out working nights and weekends.  I had to wait to be given a day shift with weekends off.  That’s just the way it is!
  4. Working hard in entry level positions can lead to promotions and being recognized for your hard work. After taking general calls, I was promoted to the Executive Desk where I could handle reservations for business accounts. Following that job I was the secretary to the Operations Manager (photo below ~ I can’t believe I found that!).  Finally I worked in Customer Relations handling customer complaints when Hertz moved the department from New York to Oklahoma City.  All of that in 3 1/2 years.  When I worked as a secretary and in Customer Relations, I was given a real desk of my own ~ that wasn’t shared with anyone else.  When I was a Reservationist, where I sat was always changing ~ sometimes I was working domestic calls and sometimes international ~ and every day you would leave work and take your headset with you because when you returned you would be plugging your headset into another station.  Since my desk was always changing, having my own desk was a real step up!
  5. While working in Customer Relations, I learned how companies view complaints.  Times have probably changed now with everything being electronic, but I did learn that if you really have a complaint you should address your grievance to the President of the Company by name ~ those complaints are handled first and with the most generous gestures of goodwill!
  6. Always be proud of the work you are doing. I look back on my first job and I think “I did it!”  I showed up for work every day and did my best.  I got along with my fellow employees and I actually enjoyed the work and felt what I was doing was important to the people I talked to, because whether they were traveling on business or vacation, I didn’t want to make a mistake that would frustrate them later.
  7. You can live on a tight budget.  My first job did not pay very well; however, I was certainly able to pay my rent, buy a car and buy my own food and clothing.  I am happy to say that my parents never offered to rescue me.  Once I left home, I was on my own!  And you know, if there are struggles in the beginning ~ like my first car didn’t have air conditioning ~ these struggles only make you stronger and they make you appreciate things as you acquire them.  When you have more, it will help you appreciate it because you will be quite aware of what it is like when you had less!!!
  8. Finally, take pictures and keep them!!  Someday when you are sharing with someone about your first job, you can post a picture; because “a picture is worth a thousand words” as they say!

As a Christian, we take to heart the words in the Bible that say:

Colossians 3:23-24 

23 Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ.

 

Karen Smith when I worked at Hertz Rent a Car

Karen Smith before I became Karen King

祝贺

Graduation is exciting! Very often it leads to a new path in life. Very often decisions about the future will be about a new place to live, new people to meet, a new purpose and new work to do.  It’s reassuring to know that God has a plan and purpose for your life.  Read these verses from the Bible and ask God for his guidance.  He is there and aware and infinitely able to give you wisdom.

Praise

Know that the Lord is God.  It is He who made us, and we are His. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever.
Psalm 100:3-4

Bible Promises
The world is driven by self-reliance; however, making decisions in life are opportunities to trust Almighty God to give us peace and joy by recognizing our need for wisdom and discernment.  The Bible speaks to us clearly that God will bless those who trust Him. 

Advice & Counsel

To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are His. Job 12:13

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you, says the Lord.   Psalm 32:8

Make plans by seeking advice. Proverbs 20:18

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know, says the LORD.  Jeremiah 33:3

Ambition

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.  Proverbs 16:9

Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.    Psalm 145:18-19

Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23

Commitment

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.  Proverbs 16:3

Confidence

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.  Jeremiah 17:7

The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army besiege me, I will not fear. Though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.  Psalm 27:1, 3

Decisions

Who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?  But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:16

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  James 1:5

Faith for the future

Faith is an act of trusting in the Lord Jesus as our personal Savior and a daily commitment to seek His will and purpose for our life.

Without faith it is impossible
to please God, because
anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists
and that He rewards those
who earnestly seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6

I need wisdom in these areas….

  • ___________________________________
  • ___________________________________
  • ___________________________________
  • ___________________________________
  • ___________________________________
  • ___________________________________

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in  Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Righteous are you, O Lord.  Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.
Psalms 119:137, 140

Your graduation is a milestone
that opens the door to more opportunities.

As you begin YOUR new journey, we hope you will
take time alone to give  thanks to God & pray for the future.

God bless you!

Trinity Chinese Fellowship

storm clouds photo

Storm clouds ~ Photo by Jo Naylor

Message:  Mark 6:1-6a     Jesus Returns to Nazareth

  1. After the miraculous raising from the dead of Jairus’ daughter, where did Jesus go ~ ?  (verse 1)
  2. Even though the people were amazed at Jesus’ teaching in the synagogue, what was their reaction to him?  (verse 3)
  3. How did Jesus explain this reaction toward him?  (verse 4)
  4. When we judge Jesus, who is really being judged?
  5. What did Jesus find amazing about these people?  (verse 6)

Meaning:  What does Jesus find amazing about you? Your great faith or your lack of faith? In what areas or circumstances of life do you need to express your faith to God? Pray God will show this to you.

Message:   Mark 6:6b-13   Jesus Sends His Disciples on a Mission

  1. In spite of the lack of faith in Jesus’ own hometown, what opportunity did Jesus give his disciples to show their faith? (verse 7)
  2. What did Jesus give them?  (verse 7)
  3. What message did the apostles preach?  What does this word mean?  (verse 12)

Meaning:  Think of the authorities in your life and the authority you have been given over others.  What authority in your life do you recognize as the greatest of all?

Message:  Mark 6:30-44    Jesus Multiplies Food to Feed 5,000

In five separate places Mark records that Jesus took his disciples aside to some quiet place to escape the crush of the crowds:  Mark 3:7-9, 6:31, 6:45, 7:24, 9:30

  1. Read this story in Mark 6:30-44, Matthew 14:13-21, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:1-15.  By combining these accounts, tell it in your own words.
  2. How could this miracle strengthen the way the disciples saw Jesus?  (John 6:14)
  3. What made Jesus slip away from the crowd by himself?  (John 6:15)

Meaning:  How does this miracle strengthen the way you see Jesus?  What in your life can you give to Jesus to bless and multiply? 

Message:  Mark 6:45-52   Jesus Walks on Water

  1. Read this story in Mark 6:45-52, Matthew 14:22-33 and John 6:16-21 and tell it in your own words.
  2. What does this miracle tell us about Jesus’ power and authority?
  3. What were Jesus’ words to the disciples?  (Mark 6:50)
  4. How did the disciples respond to this miracle?  (Mark 6:51, Matthew 14:33)

Meaning:  In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus calmed the storm. Again in Mark 6, Jesus again calmed the storm. In the storms of life, how can Jesus’ words in Mark 6:50 encourage you?

Message:  Mark 6:53-56   Jesus Heals Many People

  1. How did Jesus’ popularity spread?
  2. What do the words “to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe” in verse 56, remind you of?

Meaning:  While the people loved Jesus for his power for physical healing, what greater healing can Jesus provide?  See Matthew 9:1-7

Making Life Decisions

© Marek Uliasz | <a href=”https://www.dreamstime.com”

Certain decisions in life require more thought than others.  Whether to have chocolate cake or chocolate ice cream doesn’t matter a whole lot ~ unless you are like me and you want to get the maximum enjoyment from what you are eating to make sure the calories are totally worth it.  THEN whether to eat chocolate cake or chocolate ice cream can be very important!  Otherwise, those type of decisions are made and we move on to the next one.  Other decisions, like where to live, where to work, whom to marry, when to buy property or others are life-changing and will have a great impact on our future.  We can all agree that those decisions should not be taken lightly.

What is the best way to make a life decision?  

I don’t recommend flipping a coin. That’s rather irresponsible and is kind of close to not making a decision at all.  God has given us not only a brain, but also a heart and a soul to help us make important decisions.

When you think about a situation, some people make a list of PROS and CONS, meaning to consider good points and bad points (for or against) going in a certain direction.  Making this list will help clarify what you like and what you don’t like about the options.  Of course, you also have to weigh not just the number of points; but how relevant each point is.  For example, a pro might be “I will make more money” but the con might be “I will have to move”.  Obviously making more money is nice, but you also have to consider where the move would take you and if that is within your level of acceptance.  You might make a lot of money working in Iceland, but would you really want to move there?  You get my point?  So start with a list of pros and cons.

When making a life decision, think of others who can discuss the situation objectively.  You don’t want to make a decision based purely on emotions.  Think of a person that you respect and then ask them their opinion.  Many times this will help you discover what you really want to do.

Consider the circumstances and analyze how favorable they are.  If you want to be a neurosurgeon, but have never taken any science classes and you hate the sight of blood, then you really need to re-think what you want to do, because the circumstances are not favorable.

All the time while you are listing the PROS and CONS, while you are seeking the counsel of a friend, family member or mentor, while you are analyzing your circumstances, always pray and seek God.  The fact that HE created you makes him infinitely superior to guide your path to the best decision.  Just knowing that God has a plan will give you confidence and will carry you when the future seems uncertain. You can be certain God is in control and that those who trust Him will not be put to shame.

God bless you, because making life decisions will in many ways determine not only who I am, but also who I will become!

Bible readings:

No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame.   Psalm 25:3

I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.  Psalm 119:10

When the disciples of Jesus asked him to teach them to pray, Jesus replied:

5-13 “And then, when you pray, don’t be like the play-actors. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at street-corners so that people may see them at it. Believe me, they have had all the reward they are going to get. But when you pray, go into your own room, shut your door and pray to your Father privately. Your Father who sees all private things will reward you. And when you pray don’t rattle off long prayers like the pagans who think they will be heard because they use so many words. Don’t be like them. After all, God, who is your Father, knows your needs before you ask him. Pray then like this—

‘Our Heavenly Father, may your name be honored;

May your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day the bread we need.

Forgive us what we owe to you (our sins), as we have also forgiven those who owe anything to us (those who have sinned against us).

Keep us clear of temptation, and save us from evil.’        Matthew 6:5-13

Numbers 6:24-26
24 The Lord bless you and keep you:
25 The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you:
26 The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

 

The cross of Christ

The Cross of Christ is beautiful now because of these three words “He Is Risen” ~ dimitrisvetsikas1969 / Pixabay no attribution required

The Bible contains fewer than 800,000 words ~ all of them pointing to a life and a moment in time.  For Christians we have made that life and that moment in time personal. The life is Jesus and the moment in time is when he died on the cross for our sins.

Death by crucifixion was not unique. Others were sentenced to this type of painful death.  In fact on the day that Jesus was crucified, the Bible records that two others were crucified ~ one on his right and one on his left.  However, there were many differences in the crucifixion of Jesus. First, he was not a criminal. He was without sin. Second, Jesus gave his life. At any time, he could have ended the abuse, pain and suffering he was enduring.  But he did not end it which brings us to the reason why the crucifixion is personal.  Jesus was suffering, dying and shedding his blood for me.

Today we call the day Jesus died on the cross Good Friday ~ all because of these three words most important words in the Bible, “He is risen.”

After Jesus died on the cross, his body was placed in an empty tomb.  On the third day, he appeared to his disciples and they heard the good news for the first time, “He is risen.”

As a Christian, I like many others have become convinced of my personal sin.  I have trusted that Jesus died on the cross for me and that he is alive. “He is risen!”

These truths make Good Friday good and Easter a joyful celebration!

Questions  

  1. What comes to your mind when you see a cross today?
  2. During the week before Jesus died, he told his disciples, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:22)
    Put yourself in the disciples’ place. How do you think they felt when they saw him arrested and put to death ~ especially death by crucifixion?
  3. How would the words “He is risen” change everything?
  4. What is the meaning of the word “gospel”?

John 3:16 is a very famous verse in the Bible. Many Christians memorize it and teach it to their children.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Bible reading

The Arrest of Jesus ~ John 18
The Crucifixion, Death & Burial of Jesus ~ John 19
The Resurrection of Jesus ~ John 20

Remember the Cross

 

In order for us to fully appreciate and comprehend Jesus dying on the cross, it is important to know the meaning of Passover. The purpose of Christ’s sacrifice is revealed by understanding a critical time in the life of the nation of Israel when they were slaves in Egypt.

How did the sons of Jacob go from being highly regarded in Egypt because of their brother Joseph to being slaves?  Remember that Jacob ~ whose name was changed by God to Israel ~ and his entire family had left Canaan and moved to Egypt.  This dramatic relocation was due to a widespread famine that is recorded in the life of Joseph through extraordinary circumstances.

While in Egypt for 400 years, the nation of Israel flourished and grew to more than 2 million people. The Bible records that the new rulers of Egypt made them their slaves. But what happened next?

Reading:  Exodus chapters 1, 11-14    skim read Exodus 2-10

Questions

  1. What does the word “exodus” mean?
  2. Each time Pharoah refused to let the people of Israel leave Egypt to return to Canaan, what happened?
  3. What was the final judgment that God brought upon Egypt for their refusal to let the people of Israel go?
  4. Why were the people of Israel instructed to kill a lamb and put the blood on the door posts of their house?
  5. How would you explain the meaning of the word “Passover”?

Focus

Exodus 12:7, 11-13   The first Passover lamb was slain and its blood was put on the sides and top of the door. God gave these instructions with a promise: “The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”

John 1:29    John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Further reading

I couldn’t agree more with these words written in 1855 by a great minister named Charles Spurgeon.  I encourage you to think more and more about the mission of Christ to be our Savior and Lord ~ he died and shed his blood for our sins that we might live an abundant life here and eternally with God.

“For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.”—1 Corinthians 5:7.

THE more you read the Bible, and the more you meditate upon it, the more you will be astonished with it. He who is but a casual reader of the Bible, does not know the height, the depth, the length and breadth of the mighty meanings contained in its pages. There are certain times when I discover a new vein of thought, and I put my hand to my head and say in astonishment, “Oh, it is wonderful I never saw this before in the Scriptures.” You will find the Scriptures enlarge as you enter them; the more you study them the less you will appear to know of them, for they widen out as we approach them.  One of the most interesting points of the Scriptures is their constant tendency to display Christ; and perhaps one of the most beautiful figures under which Jesus Christ is ever exhibited in sacred writ, is the Passover Paschal Lamb.

Israel was in Egypt, in extreme bondage; the severity of their slavery had continually increased till it was so oppressive that their incessant groans went up to heaven. God who avenges his own elect, though they cry day and night unto him, at last, determined that he would direct a fearful blow against Egypt’s king and Egypt’s nation, and deliver his own people. We can picture the anxieties and the anticipations of Israel, but we can scarcely sympathize with them, unless we as Christians have had the same deliverance from spiritual Egypt. Let us, brethren, go back to the day in our experience, when we abode in the land of Egypt, working in the brick-kilns of sin, toiling to make ourselves better, and finding it to be of no avail; let us recall that memorable night, the beginning of months, the commencement of a new life in our spirit, and the beginning of an altogether new era in our soul. The Word of God struck the blow at our sin; he gave us Jesus Christ our sacrifice; and in that night we went out of Egypt.

Prayer

God, the first Passover and many others were observed by the Jews to celebrate their deliverance from Egypt. Then the final Passover Lamb is slain as you ordained it.  Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world ~ my sins.  Thank you, God, that even if I had been the only sinner, Jesus would have died for me.

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