Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Our Hands On President

President Barack Obama and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu walk through the Blue Room of the White House following an announcement of energy standards, June 29, 2009.  (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

With Secretary Chu

President Barack Obama greets President Michelle Bachelet of Chile in the Oval Office, June 23, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

With the President of Chile

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With the Vice President

President Barack Obama walks with Speaker of the House  Nancy Pelosi backstage at a Democratic fundraiser in Washington, D.C., June 18, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

With Speaker Pelosi

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Forty Maxims

The Forty Maxims (some say 55) of Father Thomas Hopko. Some of them are really good!

  • 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.
  • 2. Pray, fast and do acts of mercy.
  • 3. Read the Scriptures regularly.
  • 4. Read good books, a little at a time.
  • 5. Practice silence, inner and outer.
  • 6. Cultivate communion with the saints.
  • 7. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
  • 8. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
  • 9. Be honest, first of all with yourself.
  • 10. Be faithful in little things.
  • 11. Do your work, then forget it.
  • 12. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
  • 13. Face reality.
  • 14. Be grateful.
  • 15. Be cheerful.
  • 16. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
  • 17. Never bring unnecessary attention to yourself.
  • 18. Listen when people talk to you.
  • 19. Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.
  • 20. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
  • 21. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
  • 22. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis.
  • 23. Flee carnal things at their first appearance.
  • 24. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.
  • 25. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.
  • 26. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
  • 27. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
  • 28. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
  • 29. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
  • 30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.
  • 31. Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.
  • 32. Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.
  • 33. Be strict with yourself.
  • 34. Be merciful with yourself and others.
  • 35. Do nothing for people that they can do for themselves.
  • 36. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
  • 37. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
  • 38. Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.
  • 39. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
  • 40. Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.

HT: Catalystspace

I Hope 1 & 2 Get More Attention Than 3 Has

priority list

Friday, July 03, 2009

"God is great, God is good. Let us thank Him for our food...

gratitude I want you to picture Jesus gathered with his disciples around the table for their last supper. Or think about Jesus at the Feeding of the Five Thousand. Hungry multitudes cover the hillside. Jesus takes the bread and the cup or the little boy’s lunch, lifts it up, and says the familiar prayer:

“Father, bless this food to the nourishment and strengthening of our bodies and us to Thy service. Amen.”

The Greek word for "gave thanks" (NIV) or "blessed" (KJV) is ευλογεο, from which we get our English word "eulogy." It means “to speak well of, to praise and extol.”

The word commonly translates the Hebrew word, כאראב, “barak,” “to bless.”

Every faithful Jew would offer this blessing before partaking of bread:

Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu melech ha-olom, ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz.

“Blessed is the Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who causes bread to come forth from the earth.”

Before partaking of the fish, the blessing was said this way:

Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu melech ha-olam, shehakol nih'yeh bidvaro.

“Blessed is the Lord, our God, Ruler of the universe, by whose word everything comes to be.”

Before partaking of wine, the blessing was said this way:

Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu melech ha-alom, bor-ay peri ha-gafen.

“Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, creator of the fruit of the vine.”

The first word, כאראב, “barak” / ευλογεο reminds us to eulogize or praise God before we eat. It wasn’t the food Jesus was “speaking well of” or “blessing” He was speaking of His Father in heaven.

A second praying-before-meals word is the Greek word ευχαριστεο”, from which we get our English word “Eucharist,” often used as the name of Holy Communion. ευχαριστεο means, “to be thankful or to offer thanks,” and was used at the Last Supper.

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed (ευλογεο) it and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took the cup, gave thanks (ευχαριστεο) and offered it to them saying, “Drink from it, all of you'“(Matthew 26:26-27).

At this Passover meal Jesus was offering to His Father the traditional blessings when bread and wine were eaten.

So how did we Christians end up blessing the food instead of God? Tradition? Habit? Some of the confusion may have come from a mistranslation of the passage I just quoted. In the King James Version, Matthew 26:26 reads:

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it and gave it, to the disciples, and said, 'Take, eat; this is my body.”' Notice how the tiny word “if was added after the word “blessed”?

The word “it” isn't part of the Greek text – that is why it is in italics in the King James Version. But “bless it” implies something far different than “bless God.” That addition of one little word may have turned the way we pray before meals into something Jesus did not do at all.

Not that there's anything wrong in asking a blessing from God. There's not. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” —

But only after praise: “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. “

No, asking favors from God is not wrong, but it should not be the primary part of our praying, or we become like greedy little children: “Gimme this! Gimme that!” Those prayers are essentially selfish rather than self-giving. They don't fulfill either the First Great Commandment, to love God with all our heart, or the Second, to love our neighbor as ourselves.

The Apostle Paul put it in this perspective. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Notice the phrase “with thanksgiving” tucked in there with “present your requests to God.” It's essential to keep prayer God-centered rather than self-centered. It's also the key to praying with real faith.

So when you pray, remember that your food doesn't deserve a blessing nearly so much as God who gave it. You can bless like Jesus did, “Blessed is the Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who causes bread to come forth from the earth.” Or offer a simple prayer of thanks to God for the food. Next time, do not “ask the blessing,” but offer a blessing to God.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

"Why did we buy Alaska in the 1950s?" Oh Please!

Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867. This guy says this, uncontested by the other hosts, and we worry that our kids don't know U. S. history! Hey Fox viewers. What else did you "learn" today that was totally wrong?

HT: The Daily Dish