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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.

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! Happily, the flaw in Hubble’s lense was corrected and stunning images continue to be received from Hubble. “Pillars of Creation” is one of the most famous.

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Some promises are made without much thought. “See you next Tuesday for lunch.” We intend to follow through but something more important might interfere with our plans or we may even forget! Sometimes we make very significant promises, like in our marriage vows, that we fully intend to keep but for a variety of reasons we do not always honor. In order to gain the trust and respect of those we associate with ~ family, friends, coworkers, etc., we should strive to treat everything we say as a promise to be kept. When we are unable to keep a promise, even a simple one, we should let the person affected know ahead of time to prevent disappointment and to maintain trust. Trust is hard to establish with another person, but can be easily damaged.

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If you could go back in time....

I want to go back….

In English, there is a saying that “hindsight is 20:20.”

Sometimes we get so frustrated or disillusioned or hurt or grief-stricken or angry that we think that God obviously didn’t know what He was doing when He allowed certain things to happen in our life.  Pretend that you could change your past.  Pretend you could do things differently, but the rules are that whatever you change means it changes everything.  If someone has hurt you so badly that you wish you had never met that person, ask yourself these questions:   How would my life have been different?  Where would I have lived?  What would I have done?  What in my life now would I not have if I had never met that person?

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It seems every culture has a unique way of giving names to their children. Traditionally in the United States women legally change their maiden name and use the family name of their husband. Children also take the family name of their father. The given name is considered the first name and the family name is the last name. Most people following this practice also have a middle name. Family names of European immigrants were often based on the occupation of the “father” of the family. Being a largely Christian nation, Americans have often used Bible names (which are actually Jewish names for the most part). Another common source of names has been from the home country of immigrants and has richly diversified the mix of names found in America. Most names have some historical meaning attached to them but are not often thought about in Western culture.

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Rembrandt ~ The Ten Commandments

Rembrandt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Common


Are you familiar with The Ten Commandments?  It’s remarkable that right actions toward God and man can be summed up in these ten rules or commandments.

*EPIC is used to describe poems that are lengthy; however, it also means something that is of grand scope. Any task of great magnitude may be called “epic.” Something that is large or impressive.
Example:  The Grand Canyon is a natural sculpture of grandeur and epic proportions.

The word epic* comes to mind when speaking of The Ten Commandments. Everything about them is epic.
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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/139 meters high with a maximum drop of 418 feet/127 meters and a maximum speed of 128 mph or 206 km/h. 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 life?

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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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One of the most famous Christmas stories in the English language is “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. It tells of a man, Ebenezer Scrooge, who was very stingy with his money, and who hated Christmas. But in the story he is visited by three “spirits” in a dream: the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, who reveal to him how mean and stingy he has been toward other people. Following the dreams he promises to live differently. The book closes by saying that afterwards “it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well.”

How do you celebrate Christmas? Have you celebrated it at all? What is Christmas really all about?
Our scripture passages for today reveal the true origin and meaning of Christmas, and show us the way that we should respond to it.

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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.

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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.

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