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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 pairs of corrective mirrors (Hubble’s corrective lenses) in a spacewalk 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 lens was corrected and stunning images continue to be received from Hubble. “Pillars of Creation” is one of the most famous.

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While we all have many differences, here are some of the things we have in common. Fill in the blanks:

  • We all need ____________________________ to live.
  • Our bodies contain 50-75% _______________.
  • We all have a day, month and year called our _______________.
  • We all have a unique ___________________.
  • We all have red blood _____________.
  • We all love ______________.
  • We all need ______________ and we desire ______________.

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Some promises are made without much thought like “See you next Tuesday for lunch.” Being polite, we may say, “Sure, I can come to your party.”  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.

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.

It is important to be a man or woman of your word. Every word carries weight.

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John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) is regarded as the first American billionaire. At the time of his death, the oilman’s fortune was 1.5% of the total U.S. economy, which would equal more than $300 billion today. He is considered the richest man in modern history. But when asked once, how much money is enough, he famously replied “just a little bit more.”

Even though he donated a significant amount of his money, Rockefeller’s legacy is directly connected with his money. It seems riches were never enough for this famous man.

When we pass away, each of us leaves behind a legacy, or impression, on the people we know. Of course we hope to leave a positive impression – on our family, our friends, our work and other areas of our lives.

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If you could go back in time....

I want to go back….

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 to 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 (aka surname) is the last name. Most people following this practice also have a middle name.

Bible names, such as Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Rebecca, Sarah or Abigail are popular in America. Family names of the first European immigrants were often based on their occupation, for example “baker” or “smith”.  Another common source of names has been from the home country of immigrants and has richly diversified the mix of names found in America. Some names have 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 into ten rules or commandments.

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 Bible contains many poems and songs in a book called Psalms (pronounced salms ~ the “p” is silent).  One of the most famous and beloved psalms was written by King David who was a shepherd boy chosen by God to be a great King of Israel.
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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? What is Christmas really all about?
Our scripture passages reveal the true origin and meaning of Christmas.

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