O Give Thanks to the LORD!

March 14, 2020

Over and over again in Psalm 136, you will read the phrase, “O give thanks to the LORD, for His mercy (or lovingkindness) is everlasting.”  Quite possibly this was a song which involved antiphonal singing—one part of a choir or the congregation singing the first phrase, and a second group responding with the great refrain “for His mercy endures forever.”

The unnamed psalmist gives an historical perspective starting with verses 4-9 and the miracle of creation.

Then from verses 10 through 22 he reminds Israel of their deliverance from bondage, the exodus from Egypt, and their victories over hostile nations on their way to the Promised Land.

The closing section is especially relevant in a time of uncertainty such as we are experiencing worldwide in varying degrees right now.

Verse 23 says that God remembered us in our lowly estate.

Verse 24 says He rescued us from our enemies.

Verse 25 mentions that He provides the food we need.

So, our response ought to be to give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever.

 

A Night at the Ballpark

June 8, 2019

FLUSHING, NEW YORK–It’s June 7, 2019, and I got to go to a Mets game with my brother and his family. It was a beautiful spring night game, and we sat out in home run territory (left centerfield).  Gentle breezes throughout the evening, so I was very comfortable.

One of the first observations I made was (1) apparent disrespect as the announcer was calling people to be quiet for a moment of silence followed by the national anthem.  But then I heard a number of people telling others to hush because it was time for “The Star Spangled Banner.”  It was encouraging that there are more patriots than I thought at the ballpark.

Also, Citi Field continues to impress me as a stadium.  It is very clean by NYC standards! There are plenty of choices for eating. The men’s room was not offensive when I visited a little before game time. The field looked lovely.

I was with family and we enjoyed our conversations whether before or during the game. One note to sound operators:  lower the music sometimes! During our dinner before the game (5:00-5:45pm) we ate in a prominent stadium eatery and the music was way over the top.  DJs who think they are the reason we come to an event are so mistaken.

Finally, poor Jacob DeGrom!! Great pitching…10 strikeouts through six innings, and he loses.  The Mets need to give him some offensive support.  He left and the team had scored just 1 run on either 2 hits or 4 hits when he was taken out of the game.  He is too good of a pitcher to lose to another team one day.  (Remember Nolan Ryan??)

Last of all, a note of thanks to the usher by section 337/38. A kinder, nicer gent you won’t meet working in Queens.  May many more ushers with his disposition be at the game next time I go.

Jim, Jimmy and Jack in front of Citi Field

 

 

 

Memorial Day

May 29, 2017

A day to remember those who we can’t thank.

So our family has made it a tradition to attend our city’s Memorial Day parade as a show of our thankfulness for those who have served in the military to protect our nation.

Did those parades (as well as September 11th) have a part in leading two of our sons to serve in the military?

Our Visit to the Flight 93 memorial before there was a permanent one.

 

 

ROTC days for our “boys”
Now we have 2 captains.

Perhaps. It certainly has not hindered the patriotic spirit that each of our children has fostered in his or her own life. Now they are passing that spirit to their children.

Our military grandkids attend a parade honoring veterans.

That is the time-honored manner of shaping the future of both family and country.

May God bless you if you are raising the next generation.  And God bless America.

Our Army soldiers, Navy sailors, Air Force airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Marines protect our most precious resources!  Thank you!!

How Great is Our God!

May 24, 2017

Today I have a visit to a funeral home to make. But I also just got off the phone with someone who was told that after a few more cancer treatments and a scan, the doctors may declare that her cancer is in remission.

The suffering and death of this world is not God’s fault.  It is the result of sin.  Sin brings death.  Death is the last enemy that each person who has lived faces.

But the Bible tells us that God offers a way to face death as a victor rather than as a victim.  For the Christian who has trusted Jesus for salvation, death is like crossing a river from this life into the next.  And the next life is an eternal one.

To find out more, please click my blog post How to Know You Are Going to Heaven When You Die, Part 1.

 

Still Learning?

June 20, 2012

Here’s a question about which many people wonder: Why is lb. the abbreviation for “pound” in English?
These days you can use Google to find a website that will give you an answer.

We will explain the answer momentarily, but first, “Are you still learning?”

I hope you are, because I have found it tremendously important to keep discovering truth.  From God’s Truth in His Word to truth in life or the classroom, I still have plenty to learn.

As I was stretching my brain with some new material on the English language (an area I enjoy understanding better), I learned why the abbreviation for pound is lb.  In Latin the word “libra” means scale(s), and so we see the similarity of the l-b root and the word libra.  The unit is descended from the Roman libra (hence the abbreviation “lb”); the name pound is a Germanic adaptation of the Latin phrase libra pondo, ‘a pound weight’

A little more study will reveal that English is actually a Germanic language. Yet, English has so many similarities to Latin based languages.  Why?  Because the Norman Conquest (1066–the Battle of Hastings) brought lots of French speakers to the British Isles.  They left their mark on the English language, and Middle English owes much to French.  To look at Old English is to view the Germanic heritage of English.  To look at Middle English is to see how the transition to Elizabethan English occurred.  And that answers another question, “Why are there so many exceptions to the rules of English?”  English has been borrowing words from all over the world.

The Greatness of America

February 20, 2012

Since today is a federal holiday for many (Presidents’ Day), I want to reflect briefly on why America is such a special nation in world history. Of course, each person will tend to have an appreciation for the country in which they have grown up or live, but America has been known for most of its history as a place to which people want to move. Why?

America has been blessed with wonderful natural resources, but so have other countries. When I was in the seventh grade, I wrote a report on Siberia. There is such a wealth of natural resources in that place, yet most of us hear the word and think of isolation and desolation. While our agricultural and mineral resources are noteworthy, there has to be more to explain the greatness of America.

One might think of the spirit of America and our revolution against the tyranny of King George III. Yet, plenty of countries have had governments overturned both before and after 1776. Some of those revolutions have resulted in improved conditions for people; others, worse. Still, the fact that America does not have a monarchy doesn’t explain her appeal to the throngs of immigrants who have sailed or flee to these shores.

America is the land of opportunity. If a person is willing to work hard, he is able to make a better life for himself and his family. Certainly, this has been true, and millions have flocked to the United States in pursuit of economic success. They have come from Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, the Far East, the Middle East, North Africa, Central Africa, Mexico, Central America, South America. In short, they have come from all around the world.  For many people reaching America has been a high priority goal and life-changing event. However, the opportunity to partake of the so-called “American dream” and to better one’s status is not the final answer.

From the Mayflower Compact, to the Declaration of Independence, to the Constitution of the United States, there has been a moral foundation that has made our great nation possible. From this foundation flow our unalienable rights, our opportunity to pursue success and to be rewarded for our labor, and the more perfect union of our different backgrounds as we come together as one nation, under God. The God of the Bible.  The God who gave His laws to mankind.  The God before whom all men one day must stand and give an account.

Presidents Washington and Lincoln were great individuals, presidents of historic importance, and leaders at crucial points in time. We honor them because they helped to preserve the wonderful gift that we enjoy called America.

This piece is written as a tribute to those who have served and now serve in our armed forces. Thank you for continuing to preserve America at home and abroad. God bless you, and God bless America!

Big Steps, Little Steps; Same Principle

January 28, 2012

As we walk the path of life, we take both big and little steps, depending on the need of the moment. We might be tempted to think ill of the little steps, considering the bigger ones as far more important. But never forget that one principle guides these steps that we take. That principle ought to be, “I will follow the Lord as I move ahead.”

Often, the big missteps are actually a combination of little steps that deviate from following God’s will.

Psalm 119:105 reads, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Follow the light!

Coming Home to America

May 20, 2010

The last time that I was outisde of America was to visit Niagara Falls.  On September 10, 2001, my fanily and I rode to the top observation deck of the Skylon Tower and looked down hundreds of feet on the beautiful natural wonder known as the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.  Of course, no one knew the next morning would usher in a change in Western life.  For several days we were unable to cross back into America if we wanted to.  We continued our vacation plans and traveled further to Kingston, Ontaria, but watching the 9/11 coverage on televsion in a hotel room is no vacation for kids ages 2 through 13.  How happy we were when we could cross back into the United States.

Thankfully, our return home–this time from a vacation with Eileen’s parents and our 3 youngest children in Europe–had no earth-shattering events associated with it.  (That event was the Icelandic volcanic eruption that delayed our travel plans by 10 days.)  There really is no place in the world like America.  Please don’t misunderstand, both France and England were great places to visit.  We have very few stories that are “woe-is-me”  the poor tourist tales.  Almost everything that could go right DID go right. We saw amazing historical sites in Paris and London.  We were able to walk through palaces, castles, and chateaux, and see treasures of art displayed.  We saw natural beauty in God’s handiwork, and we marveled at the craftsmanship of architects and builders over the centuries.

But, although America is younger than our allies in Europe, America has earned a place of prominence on the world stage in just a couple of centuries. Really, the 20th century proved that America was the world leader of free nations.  This is no accident.  By God’s grace, the tenets of the Protestant Reformation: the purpose of life is to glorify God by knowing Him and serving Him–these principles gave rise to a system whereby men rewarded hard work and set ever higher goals.  I am not saying that all progress in America is either godly or noble, but I could see in a week how European societies differ from that of the United Staes.  It is common in Europe to have to pay a half Euro or more to use a rest room.  Yet, illegal aliens come to America and believe that they have a right to free medical treatment, public education, and government subsidies.  As an American in Europe, I would not think of looking for a handout from the French or British government.  I was honored to visit Normandy, France, and walk on ground that brave, young Allied soliders, many of them American boys like my own sons, helped to liberate.  Ever since reading a biography of Sir Winston Churchill, I have admired his ability to lead Great Britian in World War 2.  To tour his land and see places of significance in his story, both public and private, was a great privilege.  Churchill was a man whom I believe God used mightily to stop the Nazi menace.  But Churchill needed America to switch the war from one of defending the shores of England to defeating the Third Reich.

You always hear folks say when they have been in another country, “America is the greatest country on Earth.  You don’t know how well we have it until you go overseas.”  Though I stayed in very lovely places while “across the pond,” I heartily concur.  There is no place like the United States of America.  May God continue to bless America.  And may America be instrumental in bringing blessings to the other nations of the world as it has for much of its history.

The LORD’s Mercies are New Every Morning

April 13, 2010

Whether you and I realize it or not, God’s kindnesses to us are many, and they are fresh each day.  The prophet Jeremiah gives voice to this truth in the middle of his Lamentations after the city of Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar’s invading Babylonian army in 586 BC.  How natural and easy to wax eloquent on all that was wrong!  Jeremiah, who would becoming known as “the weeping prophet,” saw more misery in his life and ministry than most.  But Lamentations 3:22-23 is the pivotal passage in which Jeremiah reminds himself, “Great is Thy faithfulness.” 

Feel like complaining today?  We all have big and little problems that COULD become a focus of attention, whining, and discontentment.  But will griping really help us get through the storm, or will it fix the problems?  In all likelihood, no.  But there is a God in heaven Who knows your situation better than you yourself.  And He is faithful.

Hello world!

November 13, 2009

Thank you for reading the thoughts on this branch of the blogosphere.  I am going to write on topics of general interest, but you will notice quickly that the Bible is my reference point for truth.

Regarding the name Professor Moon, I am a Christian educator, with training at both the Bible college and seminary levels. I am NOT affiliated with any particular denomination (particularly the cult group known as the Unification Church, led for many years by Sun Myung Moon).  Professor Moon is a play on words; the moon emits no significant light of its own, rather it reflects the light of the Sun. If my life can reflect the radiance of the Son, then I have run the course set before me.

Most people would find that my beliefs and practices are similar to independent Baptists, IFCA, or Dr. John F. MacArthur, Jr., the well-known pastor-teacher from “Grace to You.” These hold that God has communicated to us in His Word, the Bible, that the Scriptures are inerrant as originally written and inspired by God,  and that all men are in need of a Savior because of sin.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the only “Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man comes to the Father, but by [Him]” (John 14:6). Traditionally, people who believe like this are known as evangelical Christians or fundamentalists. I welcome both labels when they are properly understood to represent (1) unwavering devotion to the gospel and (2) commitment to the infallibility of the Scriptures.

If you know Jesus as your personal Savior, then I hope you will walk even closer with Him as you read various posts on this blog.  If you have never trusted Christ to save you from the penalty of sin (which the Bible says is separation from God forever in a place we commonly call Hell or the Lake of Fire), then I hope my words will spur you to think about the most important question in life: What will you do with Jesus, Who is called the Christ (the Anointed One)?