Tag Archives: God

The story of 4-year-old Meredith and her sweet dog Abbey

Meredith and her dog Abbey

 

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  This is a true story, sent to us by a subscriber.

 

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month. The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her I thought we could, so she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog Abbey? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and play with balls. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, ‘To Meredith’ in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies.’ Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey and Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away.

Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and send it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I’m easy to find. I am wherever there is love.

Love, God

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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A classic story offers a classic illustration

The classic story:

An elderly teacher on a rare (for him) airline flight found himself seated next to a prominent liberal politician. They exchanged pleasantries and the teacher looked forward to a period of catch-up reading time.

Soon after the plane took off, one of the teacher’s students who was sitting a few rows back got up and began waiting on the teacher with great enthusiasm.  Sir, let me take your shoes…here is a pair of slippers. I know how your feet tend to swell. Here is a sandwich…I know how you dislike airline food.

The politician couldn’t help but notice the attention his seat-mate was getting. “That’s really amazing…I’m so impressed with your son. I have four grown sons, and they never do anything for me. How do you get him to serve you so diligently?”

The teacher answered, “Actually, he’s one of my students. If he were my son, you would have really seen some service. But you must not blame yourself. Your sons are faithful to your teachings, and my sons — and students — are faithful to my teachings. It is really quite simple. You made the decision to teach your sons that you are descended from apes. That means you are one generation closer to the ape than they. And that also means it is only proper and appropriate that you acknowledge their status and serve them. I chose to teach my sons that we were created by Almighty God Himself, and this puts me one generation closer to Him than they are, which means it’s appropriate for them to treat me accordingly.”

Scripture tells us that God links the concept of respect for the elderly with reverence for Him. They are directly connected. God is, after all, called “Ancient of Days” in the Bible (Daniel 7:13). The elderly in our families are usually the best teachers, since they have the most experience. But successful teaching requires willing teachers as well as receptive learners. And that requires commitment from both the teacher and the student.

 

[From an article by Joel Hilliker appearing in The Philadelphia Trumpet]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

 

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People all over the world know something about God…but He wants us to know Him personally

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord.”  (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

The Apostle Paul expressed nearly the same thought when he wrote of Jesus, “that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.”  (Philippians 3:10)

Why settle for knowing something about God, when you can know Him deeply and personally?  Especially when He wants us to know Him?

God gave us the wonderful book called the Holy Bible for this exact purpose, to enable us to come to know Him.  In other words, we can know God by knowing Jesus, and we can know Jesus by knowing the Bible.  It’s really that simple!

There is a passage in the book of John, chapter 14; Jesus is conversing with his disciples.  Jesus says to Thomas, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”  Philip apparently misunderstands what Jesus means, for he says to Jesus in response, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”  Jesus replies to Philip, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?  He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

That is a verse worth remembering:  “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”  If you want to know what God is really like, just get to know Jesus.

To know Him is to know that He was not compelled to go to Jerusalem to be crucified, but that He willingly walked into the city knowing precisely what awaited Him.

To know Him is to know that He wants not ritual but relationship with us.

To know Him is to know that “with God all things are possible.”  (Matthew 19:26)  It’s never too late to start the conversation leading to salvation and eternal life.

To know Him is to know that He truly came “to seek and save the lost.”

To know Him is to realize that Jesus wants us to finally admit that we need Him and His strength in getting through this life.  We need the clear picture of Him hanging on the cross though innocent, while we are the ones guilty of the sin  He carries.  We should look for Him at the low points in life, not when we think we’re at a peak.

To know Him is to ultimately understand the truth of how God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us.”  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

To know Him is to know that He didn’t come to make good people better, but to make dying people truly alive for the first time.

To know Him is to know there is absolutely no possible way to repay Him for His sacrifice on our behalf, other than simply to accept it gratefully.

To know Him is to know He always knows where we are, who we are, and what we are going through, even if it feels like no one else knows us at all.

 

(Take a few minutes to visit WHOFIRST.COM and read the amazing story about Millie. Click on the menu link “Amazing True Stories.”)

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART: Heaven by the Back Door

Editor’s Note:  If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that our constant goal is to bring you newsworthy information from many different sources. Our focus is always the USA first, and then the rest of the world…not for any other reason than that we happen to live and work in the USA.  Today, however, as we do occasionally, we’d like to use as a source of content something that’s Straight From The Heart.

 

Let’s assume for the purposes of today’s post this one thing: God is real.

Will you grant us that liberty?  Regardless of your own current faith status, just bear with us and assume today that God is real.  That means we also have to assume, by default, that the Bible is a book of truth.  Cover to cover.  It also means we have to assume that hell is real, because hell is spoken of very often in the Bible.  And if hell is real, then a chief devil named Satan and a myriad of demons are also real.  Okay?  Can we make those assumptions as we start this blog today?

Most people who enter Heaven enter by the front door.  Somewhere along life’s path they meet the Savior, they learn about Him from the pages of the Bible, and they decide they want to follow Him from this life to the promised eternal life.

We have long been convinced, however, that Heaven also has a back door.  We’re also convinced that it really doesn’t matter which door you use to enter Heaven.  The point is to get there and enter in.  You’re invited no matter which door you use.  If the Bible is true (as per our governing assumptions), and if our promised eternal life is going to be as wonderful as the Bible says it is (the Bible says it’s going to be more wonderful than we can possibly imagine!), then we can use the front door or the back door to get there, but we must GET THERE!  Heaven is not to be missed!

For our purposes today, let’s describe Heaven’s back door as any entrance other than its front door, the one described above.

Do you believe hell exists?  (Don’t forget that we are assuming it does.)  Or let’s back up a step and ask this question instead:  DO YOU BELIEVE EVIL EXISTS?

Do you think hell exists? It does.

It’s completely impossible NOT to believe in evil.  We see it around us at a level today that has not been apparent in this world before, ever.  We will go so far as to say that the level of evil in the world today is so great as to be obviously inspired.  Inspired by evil’s source, the chief evilist named Satan.

ISIS is evil.  Islam is a religion inspired by the devil himself.  Radical Islam would just as soon behead you as talk to you.  Sooner, in fact.  ISIS has absolutely no reverence for life, only death.  Islam promises dozens of virgins to the men who reach the afterlife.  What does it promise Islamic women?  Absolutely nothing but a continuation of the servitude they endure on earth.

Life in the USA is becoming more saturated with evil continually.  We used to be a kind people, citizens who would not hesitate to do something nice for our friends, neighbors, and family.  Today we seem to think only of ourselves.  We go through life today totally self-absorbed, staring at our little cellphone screens as if there is nothing quite so interesting anywhere else on the planet.  We don’t talk much anymore, just text.  Hate to be the one to break this to you, but Heaven won’t have any cellphones.  Not one.  They won’t be needed.  In Heaven we’ll communicate so easily, so effortlessly that we’ll be amazed by what we never were able to do on earth.  Heaven is all about relationships.  The  level of communication between Heaven’s residents, and God and its residents, will absolutely amaze us and thrill us.  Eternally.

When we’re not on our cellphones here today, what are we doing?  Watching TV.  Going online.  Focusing on self.  We turn on the TV to get another download of probably fake news.  We watch our politicians and athletes and CEOs try to avoid the spotlight of another indiscretion or disrespectful exhibition of selfishness.  We watch another sitcom in which the situations are contrived, the laughs are at our own expense, and the characters have no character.

Does it not seem to you, at least once in a while, that stupidity today is truly epidemic?  Late night TV is the bottom of the barrel in the world of entertainment.  Stephen Colbert is the most popular and probably the dumbest way to end the day that we have ever seen.  He can do nothing but trash our president; in his mind there is nothing so funny as the guy in the White House.  Colbert to us looks dumber each time he tries to tell us, over and over again, that we got it all wrong in the last election.  Mr. Trump, on the other hand, is making Colbert look like the idiot he is for his obsessive nastiness and mindless drivel on the same subject night after night.  (If Hillary ever gets terminally tired of Bubba, she and Colbert would make a great pair.)  Hell to us would be endlessly watching late-night TV and its parade of self-absorbed guests.

Hollywood keeps giving us more evil entertainment.  Its movies and TV shows are all of the same genre.  Murder, rape, and mayhem.  We know from watching the latest Harvey Weinstein mayhem edition that Hollywood lives what its own product promotes.  Hollywood has no morals, no respect for anything but self.  Do whatever you want.  Harvey Weinstein got away with it for years because although everyone knew what kind of selfish monster he was, no one wanted to go on record as one who was willing to speak out against him and his lifestyle of taking advantage of others.

Speaking of monsters, we have another one today in North Korea.  Kim takes advantage of his entire citizenry in order to further his aims of what?  World domination?  Give us a break.  North Koreans suffer, starve, and die so Kim can direct his country’s assets toward missiles and military gear.  Another small-minded guy with nothing to offer the world but more pain and evil.

We apologize to you if this seems like a rant.  It’s meant to seem more like a series of observations.  Our point is to help you understand that you can see Biblical reality all around you today.  If the only way you can see it is in the level of evil in the world around you, that’s okay…that’s just as valid as seeing the good, or the truth, or the fulfilled prophecies.  To live in today’s world and see nothing but its physical reality is a hard way to live.  For a lot of people the physical reality of the creation around them is what pointed them to God in the first place, but even those people are a comparatively small number.  If nothing gets you going in the morning except your alarm clock, we truly feel sorry for you.

LIVING FOR THE LINE, NOT THE DOT

Life on earth is a dot.  It begins.  It ends.  It’s unbelievably brief.

Living for the line...
Life in Heaven is an unending line extending from that dot.

It’s not only unending, it’s joyful.  Life in Heaven will be suffused, saturated with joy.  The Bible says Jesus endured the cross “for the joy that was set before Him.”  (Hebrews 12:2)  Our Savior, the Son of God, willingly submitted to the most gruesome, ghastly form of death that the mind of man ever devised.  He did it for you, in the hope you would accept the eternal salvation His death, and His resurrection, provides.

At the very least you owe it to yourself and to Him to investigate that magnificent gift.  Spend a little time in your Bible and learn more about this man who was willing (and able) to give us such an unbelievable gift.  (If you don’t have a Bible, call 1.800.800.0171 to request one.  Or send an email to freebible@usa1usa.com.  It will be our gift to you.)

Your eternity is guaranteed.  But that eternity will either wonderful or woeful.  The only way to make your eternity wonderful is to accept the gift and embrace the Giver.  That is very easy to do when you KNOW the Giver.  All you need to do is to learn about Him from the superb and divine book called the Word of God, the Bible.

Most people expend more effort planning a one-week vacation than they do planning for their eternity.

Don’t miss a wonderful eternity just to have a good time on a short vacation.

Stop living for the dot, and start living for the line.

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

 

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Are you intellectually honest?

Another way to ask that question: If something can be proven to be true through evidence and logic, would you admit it is true (even though you might have previously thought it was NOT true)?

 

Many people today and in the past have not believed the Bible because they thought it not true.

The Bible says of itself, “All Scripture is inspired by God.” (2 Timothy 3:16)  That statement leaves no room for error, no “wiggle room.”

Jesus made many statements in which He ascribed deity unto Himself. He wished to leave no doubt in the minds of His hearers as to what He meant and who He was. Here is one statement from John 14:9, in which Jesus is addressing Philip, one of His disciples: “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the Father?'”

In other words, Jesus was saying “If you want to get to know God, just get to know Me.”

For many people who investigate the Bible with intellectual honesty, prophecy is something that becomes a sign of Biblical truth that is truly inescapable. There are not just dozens, but hundreds of prophetic statements in the Bible which have been fulfilled. Many were fulfilled by Jesus Himself, but not because He was instrumental in creating the fulfillment. For example, in Micah 5:2 we are told that the Messiah will be born in the city of Bethlehem…and that is precisely where His birth took place. The death of the Messiah is prophesied in Scripture in such a way that the means of that death, crucifixion, cannot be mistaken for any other method of killing.

In our own modern time of today, we have seen a very important prophecy fulfilled: In 1948 Israel was re-established as an independent nation. There are at least ten prophecies which refer directly to the rebirth of Israel, but one in particular, by the prophet Isaiah, speaks of Israel being reborn “in one day.”  This accurately describes what happened on May 14, 1948 — when the Jews declared independence for Israel as a united and sovereign nation for the first time in 2900 years.  During that same day, the United States issued a statement recognizing Israel’s sovereignty. And, only hours beforehand, a United Nations mandate expired, ending British control of the land. During a 24-hour span of time, foreign control of the land of Israel had formally ceased, Israel had declared its independence, and its independence was acknowledged by other nations. Modern Israel was literally born in a single day.

The point here is this: For any prophecy to be fulfilled, the source of that prophecy has to know something in advance…in the case of Bible prophecy, sometimes thousands of years in advance. Only God can know things thousands of years in advance.

Therefore, the only option we are left with is that God is real, the Bible is true and accurate, and Jesus the Messiah is now alive and awaiting His appointed time to return to this earth as the Bible says He will.

We hope you are intellectually honest enough to accept the truth of these statements.

For more information, please visit WHOFIRST.COM.

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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A few thoughts for the season…

Thoughts for the season...

Why would the Son of God — a Man who proved He could walk on water, heal the sick, raise the dead, control the weather, and feed thousands of people from one boy’s lunch — submit Himself to the most gruesome and painful death ever devised by the human mind? Especially why would he submit Himself to that death when He was not guilty of any wrongdoing?

He did it for one reason, and one reason only: Because He knew who He was, He also knew that He was on this earth only to redeem mankind from the results of sinful living.

 

If you are one of those people who think the Bible is full of fairy tales and fables, and therefore is not worthy of your attention, please re-think that assessment. You certainly do not think TV is full of excellent content worthy of your attention, yet you sit and watch it day after day. The Bible is true, historically accurate, and divinely inspired by the Creator of the universe. You can prove that to yourself with a very small amount of effort.

If the Bible is true, historically accurate, and divinely inspired, then to learn from it and to live by it should be the highest goals of this earthly life. Do you disagree with that statement? CAN you disagree with that statement?

 

Jesus went to the cross to save you from your sins.  The Son of God became a man so that men could become sons of God.

Remember the well-known words from John 3:16?  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Since you are part of “the world” you can legitimately read the verse this way: Take out “the world” and insert your own name.  “For God so loved  (YOUR NAME)  that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Hard to read the second version with the same detachment as you read the first, isn’t it?

 

We hope you’ll only read the second version from now on.

 

Please visit WHOFIRST.COM to learn more.

 

Very sincerely,

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

 

 

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UPDATE: Asteroid TX68 passed safely by us…

norm-al-160310

Asteroid 2013 TX68 safely passed by Earth on Monday morning. According to the Minor Planet Center, the space rock’s closest approach occurred on March 7 at 13:42 UTC (8:42 ET) at a distance of 2,542,960 miles (4,092,497 km) from Earth, just a bit closer than the nominal 3 million miles previously estimated. The space rock approached our planet a few hours earlier than expected. The previous estimate indicated asteroid 2013 TX68 was due to pass by Earth around March 7 at 7:06 pm ET (March 8 at 00:06 UTC).

The flyby distance was about 10.64 times the Earth-moon distance, and the next closest approach dates predictions may change again, as the asteroid’s orbit is better understood and more precisely defined using new observations.

In the days leading up to this pass by 2013 TX68, astronomers were highly uncertain as to the asteroid’s closest distance to us. They knew it would not strike Earth, but – prior to today’s pass – the most recent estimate indicated a nominal or most probable distance of 3,104,591 miles (4,996,355 km).

However, the space rock might have passed as closely as 19,000 miles (30,000 km) or as far as 10,722,990 miles (17,256,980 km).

Astronomers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said the variation in possible nearest distances for this asteroid was due to the wide range of possible trajectories for this object, which was tracked for only a short time after its discovery in 2013.

In the days leading up to its closest approach to us, Marco Micheli of the European Space Agency’s NEO Coordination Centre (NEOCC/SpaceDys) in Frascati, Italy, realized that this object – which was observed only briefly in 2013 before going into a region of the sky lit by the sun’s glare – was visible on some images a few days before it was officially detected on October 6, 2013. The new images let scientists roughly refine its trajectory, but just a bit.

Asteroid 2013 TX68 is travelling at a speed of 34,279 miles per hour (55,166 km/h).

According to the orbit predictions during the past two weeks, the asteroid may pass by our planet again on September 18, 2056. However, the next closest approach dates predictions will change again, now that it has swept past us.

Why has there been so much uncertainty about this object?

It’s the scenario that astronomers have always cautioned us about … the fact that asteroid 2013 TX68 approached Earth from the sun’s direction. In late February, the space rock was still approaching Earth from this direction, although the asteroid was actually at a greater distance from us than our star.

In other words, for most of the past few weeks, it has been in the daytime sky, where astronomers could not observe it.

The uncertainty of the exact date of closest approach, as well as the precise orbit, was due to the fact that asteroid 2013 TX68 was just observed during 10 days (including the newly found pre-discovery images). That is still a short time to define an orbit precisely.

On February 11, 2016, NASA removed asteroid 2013 TX68 from a list of space rocks with possibilities of future impact with Earth over the next 100 years.

Preliminary estimates of the size of asteroid 2013 TX68 suggest the space rock has a diameter of 30 meters (98 ft), which is about twice the size of the Chelyabinsk meteor that entered over Russian skies in February, 2013.

If a space rock of this size were to enter our atmosphere, it would produce a shock wave at least twice as intense as that of the Chelyabinsk meteor, which broke windows in six Russian cities – caused more than 1,500 people to seek medical care, mostly due to cuts from flying glass – and did other damage to thousands of buildings.

Orbit of asteroid 2013 TX68. The small arrow depicts the direction of the space rock, showing the asteroid is coming approximately

Orbit of asteroid 2013 TX68. The small arrow depicts the direction of the space rock, showing the asteroid is coming approximately from the sun’s direction, as seen from the perspective of Earth. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Bottom line: Astronomers now know that asteroid 2013 TX68 safely passed by Earth on Monday morning, March 7, 2016. According to the Minor Planet Center, the space rock’s closest approach occurred on at 13:42 UTC (8:42 ET) at a distance of 2,542,960 miles (4,092,497 km) from Earth.

 

(Please visit a great site called EARTHSKY.ORG for additional info.)

 

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  Whew! That was a close one. Glad we all made it! Next estimated close approach by this space rock to OUR space rock is in 2056. We’re planning to see that pass-by from a whole different vantage point…assuming there’s still a big space rock here for TX-68 to miss.

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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