Thursday, December 29, 2022

Nostalgia (part 8) - Hiraeth


Almost 100 years ago

The archives director for The Saturday Evening Post said that the magazine has been regarded with "a mixture of nostalgia and affection". Shown: a Norman Rockwell cover from August 1924.

Likewise, so many of Norman Rockwell's paintings evoke a feeling of nostalgia, or perhaps hiraeth.

That is...

Hiraeth- (noun) - a deep, wistful, nostalgic sense of longing for home; a home that is no longer or perhaps never was. A yearning and wistful grief for people and things long gone.

FromWord Nerd

Hiraeth is one of the many emotions reflected in the Psalms, for example

We have heard it with our ears, O God;
our ancestors have told us
what You did in their days, 
 in days long ago.  

Psalm 44:1 (NIV) 

There it is. 

A longing for the good old days.

Hiraeth is often expressed pop culture, like Those Were the Days, a remake of an old Russian song, performed below by Mary Hopkins.

But endings are new beginnings and can engender optimism and hope for the future.

Let go of the past and press forward.

And St. Paul took this advice to heart by the one thing:

Brothers and sisters, 
I do not consider myself yet
to have taken hold of it. 

But one thing I do: 

Forgetting what is behind 
and straining toward what is ahead,
 I press on toward the goal to win the prize 
for which God has called me heavenward
in Christ Jesus.  

Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV) 

I'm grateful for your readership, my friends, this year in 2022.

As we finish out the old year, look to the new year--2023.

Happy New Year and keep looking up!


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Monday, November 28, 2022

IS40:8 (part 6) - Hanukkah and The Solomon's Prayer


This December many will celebrate Hanukah as well as Christmas.

Hanukkah means "rededication"

This holiday recalls the Jewish victory over the Greeks more than 2,000 years ago, as summed up in the history video below.


A miracle happened during the rededication of the temple, where just a day's supply of oil allowed the menorah to remain lit for eight days. Hence, the 8 days and candles.

More information: What Is Hanukkah? – A Season of Miracles and Light

Hanukkah, though, originated between the writings of the Old and New Testament. Its rededication happened after the first temple was destroyed in the exile, rebuilt post-exile, then defiled and restored.

But before this rededication of the second temple, there was the dedication of the first temple built in Jerusalem.  

King Solomon offered prayer at this dedication, known as The Solomon's Prayer.

And a portion of this prayer is presented in song below.


Prayer reference: I Kings 8:56-60

Though there is no mention of Hanukkah in the Old Testament, it's mentioned in the New Testament, specifically the Gospel of John.

And Jesus celebrated Hannukah known as the Festival of Dedication in the winter.

Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. 

It was winter, 

and Jesus was in the temple courts 

walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 

The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, 

“How long will you keep us in suspense? 

If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

John 10:22-23 (NIV)

And Jesus had given the people an answer during those spiritually dark days, such as the story of Hanukkah celebrates where light triumphed over darkness.

“I am the light of the world. 

Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, 

but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12 (NIV)

As we enter the winter of long nights, holidays such as Hanukkah and Christmas anticipate the coming of the Light--spiritual as well as physical.

Blessings and peace this December
and into the New Year
as the days grow longer.


Isaiah 40:8

The grass withereth,
the flower fadeth:
but the word of our God
shall stand for ever.


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Tuesday, October 25, 2022

ELM (part 7): 2 Boleyn Sisters - 2 Queen Elizabeths


The Boleyns

Thomas Boleyn (1477-1539), 1st Earl of Wiltshire, was an English diplomat and politician. 

Thomas was ambitious and worked his way into Henry VIII's inner circle, as well as did his surviving children George, Mary, and especially...

Anne Boleyn

Much has been written about Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn (1501-1536). The King's desire for a son changed history. His first wife could not deliver a boy who survived infancy, so he looked for another woman to give him a legitimate son and heir to the throne. And Anne put herself out there as the one.

Since the Pope would not grant a divorce, Henry maneuvered to break away from the Catholic Church and become the head of the Church of England. And as head, Henry got his divorce and married the ambitious Anne. 

But it did not end well. Anne only produced a daughter, lost the King's love and interest, and lost her head. The following years were full of drama. In the end, Anne's daughter would become....

Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I (1533-1603) would be known as the Virgin Queen who brought England into her Golden Age. She was one of the longest reigning monarchs and considered one of the greatest. 

Yet the line from Anne Boleyn died when Elizabeth I died as Anne had no other surviving children and Elizabeth never married. 

But there was Anne's older sister, the other Boleyn girl...

Mary Boleyn

Mary (1499-1543) was Henry XIII's mistress for a short time. She was soon cast aside and out of the limelight, truly the underdog. She had experienced heartache, was widowed, was impoverished for a time. 

But Anne and George had been executed in 1536. And after her parents passed away, Mary inherited the estate. Mary, the underdog, survived.

Mary Boleyn was not a mother to a ruling queen like sister Anne's Elizabeth I. But she was the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother of....

Queen Elizabeth II

Elizabeth II (1926-2022) was the last head of state of any country to serve in uniform during World War II as well as the longest reigning English monarch--70 years.

2 Boleyn Sisters ... 2 Queen Elizabeths

Ann Boleyn --- 
mother of 
Queen Elizabeth I

Mary Boleyn --- 
great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother of 
Queen Elizabeth II

And Mary Boleyn's line lives on in Charles III

Long live the king!


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Elizabeth II: 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

STC (part 4) - Mikhail Gorbachev


Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, aka USSR, passed away on August 30, 2022. 

Gorbachev's tenure spanned the end of the Cold War and the tear down of the Berlin Wall as well as the breakup of the Soviet Union.

A tribute to him is shown below:

( reference:   )

The historical fiction S*T*C covers 1984-1986, the final years of the Cold War and the last three leaders of the Soviet Union. 

In 1984, Samantha Clark was one of the women who had breached the male-dominated mission control teams inside the S*T*C--the Satellite Tracking Station--as the Reagan Administration took on the "Evil Empire" of the Soviet Union.


In 1982, Yuri Andropov had followed Leonid Brezhnev, but Andropov passed away February 9, 1984. 

This news broke at the end of the first day Sam had worked the S*T*C:

Sam turned on the radio for news about the Winter Olympics. Instead, a funeral dirge was broadcast. Then the lead story: Soviet leader, Yuri Andropov, had died. He had only served a little more than a year after succeeding Leonid Brezhnev. 

There goes another one of the old guard from “The Evil Empire.” Sam’s thoughts wandered to President Ronald Reagan as she turned off the freeway onto one of the roads into Santa Vittoria. 

When Reagan had used the term, Evil Empire, in a speech a couple years ago, he had gotten much flak from the press. But Reagan’s defense buildup to defeat communism was one of the reasons Sam had secured a job at the S*T*C.

Smith, S K. S*T*C (p. 44). Kindle Edition. 


After Yuri Andropov had passed, Konstantin Chernenko followed as the new leader, which the crew inside the S*T*C soon learned.

Later that morning, Lester Wong picked up the newspaper. “Konstantin Chernenko? Sounds like an Asian pin ball machine.” 

“Pachinko?” Tan asked. 

“Sounds like it.” Lester explained to those who did not have their newspaper privileges, “It says he’s now the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet…fancy title for the USSR’s latest Fearless Leader.” 

PC said in his southern drawl, “And the reason we all have jobs.”

Smith, S K. S*T*C (p. 104). Kindle Edition. 


Then a year later, Konstantin Chernenko passed away, March 10, 1985. He was followed by the Soviet Union's final leader, Mikhail Gorbachev:

As Sam was driving up Mt. Nauseous, she heard another funeral dirge on the radio. Then the news: Soviet leader, Konstantin Chernenko, has died at age of 73. 

In a few short years, the Soviet Union went from Leonid Bresnev to Yuri Adropov to Konstantin Chernenko. Now the big question: Who would be the next supreme commander of this communist superpower? 

The following day, everyone knew. Mikhail Gorbachev. And Gorbachev would usher in a new age of Perestroika (Russian for restructuring, to kickstart the Soviet economy) and Glasnost (Russian for openness, his policy of a more open government and culture). 

With Gorbachev, the US and the USSR began arms control talks in Geneva, Switzerland. This meeting was something the press had been carping about ever since Reagan took office in 1981.

Smith, S K. S*T*C (p. 247). Kindle Edition. 


So came the turning point in the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union.


In 1987, President Ronald Reagan issued this challenge to Mr. Gorbachev at Brandenburg Gate in West Germany:

( reference:    ) 

And November 9, 1989, the wall came down: Fall of Berlin Wall: How 1989 reshaped the modern world


For a feel of the times, 1984-1986, especially for women breaking into space programs, please feel free to check out:

S*T*C by S. K. Smith @

Your readership is appreciated.


For more in this series, search blog:

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Sunday, August 28, 2022

Pray4America (part 19) - II Chronicles 7:14


Ten years ago, movements from the left and the right, such as the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street , emerged from discontent of the power of the few over the values of the many.

The song below, I am America, reflect some the zeitgeist of the times as well as today:

( reference: )

As our problems seem overwhelming, the song lyrics suggest the one hope to heal our land:

II Chronicles 7:14

If My people, 

who are called by My Name, 

will humble themselves 

and pray and seek My face 

and turn from their wicked ways, 

then I will hear from heaven, 

and I will forgive their sin 

and will heal their land.


Give thanks to the Lord,
for He is good;
His love endures forever.
Psalm 118:1 (NIV)

Keep praying for America



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Photo: Tea Party/wikipedia

Friday, July 29, 2022

IS40:8 (part5) - JWST--Good Heavens!



The James Web Space Telescope. 

It was named after James E. Webb, NASA administrator from 1961 to1968 during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs.

The telescope was a long time in the making, first planned in 1996 and projected for launch in 2007. But cost overruns and delays and a major redesign in 2005 had pushed the completion date to 2016.

 And it was actually launched on Christmas of 2021. 

The JWST, a large infrared telescope, is being used to study the history of our Universe, such as: 

* the first luminous glows after the Big Bang

* the first galaxies formed in the early universe

* the stars forming planetary systems through dusty clouds

* the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth

* the data to support theories of the evolution of our own Solar System.

As the largest optical telescope in space, its greatly improved infrared resolution and sensitivity allow it to view objects too early, distant, or faint for the Hubble Space Telescope. 

More information: James Webb Space Telescope (NASA)

Below is live stream of continually updated images:

( Reference: )

Before telescopes, none-the-less space telescopes, people have gazed at the night sky with the naked eye and were awestruck.

Here are portions of two Psalms that express this:

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
    in the heavens.

2 Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,

4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

Psalm 8 (NIV)


The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.

3 They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.

4  Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.

5     It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6   It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.

Psalm 19 (NIV)

Astronomer, scientist, nature lover, gazers of the night sky....

As the astronomer, late Jack Horkheimer , would say, signing off each episode of Star Gazer---

Keep Looking Up!


Isaiah 40:8

The grass withereth,
the flower fadeth:
but the word of our God
shall stand for ever.


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Photo: jwst/nasa

Sunday, June 26, 2022

STC (part 3) - 86,400



That's how many seconds are in a day.

Here's the math: 60 seconds/minute X 60 minutes/hour X 24 hours per day.

That piece of trivia can be a tech-y or a science-y thing.

And some wax philosophical about it--as that is the time allotted for any of us per day.

(Reference: )

But the timestamp from 0 to 86,399 seconds is critical for many technical operations. Such is the case for operations on a Mission Control Team that tracks satellites.

In S*T*C, one of main characters, Sam Clark, with her co-workers John McHenry, Tan Ho, and Enrique Rodriguez, get a tour of the Mission Control Complex on their first day on the job. 

Their lead Paul Coleman, also known as PC, introduced to them to the timestamp:

Sam pointed to the large red neon display reading 1984.040:76879 with the lowest digits incrementing.

“And what do those numbers mean?” 

“It’s a fancy clock.” PC explained, “Nineteen eighty-four, the year. Forty, the Julian day. That’s February ninth, since it’s been forty days since the New Year. After the colon there, 76891 is the time in seconds.” 

PC looked at his watch. “Which is…approximately 2122 in military time. For us civilians that’s 9:22 at night.” 

Sam looked puzzled. “But it’s going on 1:30 in the afternoon.” 

“Ah!” Paul raised a finger. “But it’s almost 9:30 p.m. in England. And all our times are recorded in Zulu time.” 

“Zulu?” Enrique piped up. “Man. I loved that movie. A classic with Michael Caine—” 

PC grinned. “Zulu is the phonetic alphabet term for the Zth time zone. It’s the same as Greenwich Mean Time. GMT. Or Universal Time. UT. All the scientists as well as the military use it. Close to shift change…that’s four o’clock in the afternoon here…Pacific Standard Time…the clocks all roll over to quad zero. Or 0000z.” 

PC pointed to the red clock. “And that clock will roll over from 040:86399 to 041:00000. A new day.”

 “Why 86—” Tan had forgotten the rest of the digits in the five-digit number. 

John chimed in, “Because there are 86,400 seconds in a day.”

“But, ah! Except when we have to adjust for the leap second.”

Then PC looked to the senior PA ensconced at an F2 console. “Ned?” he asked. “Will you explain what y’all are doing here?” 

“Good question, PC. What am I doing here?” 

Then Ned Gaubert gave a quiet sigh and turned around with his mouth askew. “This is called a pass. And it’s not what we make at girls.”

 “Good thing.” Sam returned a sidelong smile. “I’m married.”

Smith, S K. S*T*C (pp. 35-36). Kindle Edition. 

For a feel of the times, 1984-1986, especially for women breaking into space programs, please feel free to check out:

S*T*C by S. K. Smith @

Your readership is appreciated.


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Sunday, May 29, 2022

STC (part 2) - 1984



Interesting year.

* Ronald Reagan was running for re-election
* Democrat Presidential Candidate Walter Mondale picked Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate, first woman vice president  nominated on a main party ticket
* Winter Olympics were held in Yugoslavia (which no longer exists)
* Summer Olympics were held in Los Angelos and up the West Coast and Russia boycotts them
* The major leaders of the Evil Empire, the USSR, (which no longer exists) were dying off
* The Space Shuttle Challenger was flying
* It was the year of George Orwell's--Nineteen Eight-Four

* This Superbowl ad aired--once:

And that ad is referenced in the except below:

Mike Bonacelli, a regular on swings, came into work before shift change. Then he handed in his resignation.

“Why, Mike?” Dan looked up from his desk. He suppressed a smirk, not that disappointed.

Mike’s dark eyes flashed. “I don’t care to get trapped in the golden handcuffs.”

“Where’re you headed?” Rich looked up from his desk.

Mike puffed up his chest. “I got an offer from Apple. Working on Macintoshes—personal computers. It’s the future, where the big money is.”

“Hey, I saw that awesome Apple ad during last year’s Super Bowl,” Rich said. “It only aired once though.”

“Yep,” said Mike. “MacIntosh. The most awaited event of 1984, taking a page from Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. The girl destroys Big Brother conformity to bring on a future full of new possibilities.”

“So, you’re leaving this job, defending your country, for private industry?” Dan grew a grin as fake as the sincerity in his voice. “All in hopes to be a millionaire?”

“Which is something you lust after, right, Danny boy?”

“Mike, Mike, Mike.” Dan asked with the taint of sarcasm in his voice, “Why would you think such a thing?”

Mike lifted his dark eyebrows. “You talk about it all the time. It’s no secret you just don’t want to be well off. You want to be rich.”

 “You want to be like me, Dan?” Rich twitched his dark mustache as Dan shook his head. 

Smith, S K. S*T*C (pp. 258-259). Kindle Edition. 

For a feel of the times, 1984-1986, especially for women breaking into space programs, please feel free to check out:

S*T*C by S. K. Smith @

Your readership is appreciated.


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Saturday, April 23, 2022

IS40:8 (part 4) - Money, Money, Money


Money, Money, Money

I think of Scrooge McDuck and his famous money dive: here 

But Money, Money, Money is one of the catchy songs, written by ABBA from the musical, Mama Mia (2008). It's about a girl's quest to find out which of three men could be her father before she's to be married.

Meanwhile, her mother, a former pop singer, does a number with her backup singers about the struggles of owning a rustic hotel on a Greek Island:

(Reference: )

I heard this song many times, such as bumper music for shows that discuss ... money. 

Money is power, a force that motivates, drives politics, and makes history. 

And Scripture has much to say about our attitude about it and how we handle it. 

Here are a few samples:

The bad:

Root of all (these) evils:

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

1 Timothy 6:10 (KJV)


 Jesus had some words who/what is our master:

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Matthew 6:24 (KJV)

Bad treatment of the poor:

The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.

Proverbs 18:23 (KJV)

But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?

James 2:6 (KJV)


And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.

Exodus 23:8 (KJV)

Yes, this is much about the abuse of the rich. But showing favoritism to the poor is also wrong.

Yet, targeting the rich is condemed:

Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.

Exodus 23:3 (KJV)

Many Biblical heroes were wealthy:

Old Testament

Job - see The Book of Job

A just man, who was wealthy. He lost it all, suffered, then got twice back and gave an inheritance to his daughters as well as his sons.

Abraham - see Genesis 11 - 25

Wealthy man of his day who was called out to become the Father of Faith.

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Genesis 15:6,  Romans 4:3 (NIV)

His line would come the Messiah, through which all nations would be blessed

I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed,

Genesis 26:4  (NIV)

Solomon - see II Kings, I & II Chronicles

He prayed for wisdom and God granted his request. And Solomon carried out his father David's desire and built the Temple. He provided a witness to the known world, such as drawing the Queen of Sheba from the ends of the earth to hear him.

New Testament:

Wise men - see Matthew 2

They saw the star of Bethlehem, they sought Jesus. They gave the baby Jesus rich gifts--gold, frankincense and myrrh. Thus, Mary and Joseph had a resource to pay for their flight to Egypt to escape Herod who sought to kill baby Jesus.

Joseph of Arimathea - see John 19:38

Rich man who as a secret disciple that became public. With Nicodemus, the two buried Jesus, fulfilled prophesy --

He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Isaiah 53:9 (NIV)

Lydia - see Acts 16

Greek business woman -- seller of purple. 

Paul wanted to go east, but the Spirit sent him west to Lydia, who he found leading a prayer meeting by the river. 

Her home was the first Christian church in Europe.


There's much, much more. And that can be for another time.

Meanwhile, here are some final thoughts.

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

2 Corinthians 8:9 (KJV)

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19 (KJV)



Isaiah 40:8

The grass withereth,
the flower fadeth:
but the word of our God
shall stand for ever.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

IS40:8 (part 3) - Material Girl


The 1980s.... 

It was a decade of prosperity and the feeling that life was good.

And Madonna made her debut in that decade. And one of her first big hits...

Material Girl (1984) with lyrics


The video was influenced by another iconic blonde, in an earlier time with the same life was good feelings...

The 1950s...

After the Great Depression and World War II, peace and prosperity were back.

As well as an earlier version of Madonna, Marylin Monroe.

One of Marylin's signature movies was Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and this closing number...

Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend

(Reference: )


Both blondes in hot pink gowns, obsessed with material things, such as jewels. 

And there is much said about the obsession with the material things of this world in the Scriptures.

But Jesus makes many points about this, most poetically, in The Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 6


 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink;
or about your body, what you will wear. 

Is not life more than food,
and the body more than clothes? 


Look at the birds of the air;
 they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

Are you not much more valuable than they? 


Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?


“And why do you worry about clothes?

See how the flowers of the field grow.
They do not labor or spin. 


Yet I tell you that
 not even Solomon in all his splendor
 was dressed like one of these. 


If that is how God clothes the grass of the field,
which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire,
will he not much more clothe you—
you of little faith? 


So do not worry, saying,
‘What shall we eat?’
or ‘What shall we drink?’
or ‘What shall we wear?’ 


 For the pagans run after all these things,
and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 


But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well. 


Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself. 

Each day has enough trouble of its own.


Madonna and Marylin talk about presents. 

Jesus talks about being in the present.


Isaiah 40:8

The grass withereth,
the flower fadeth:
but the word of our God
shall stand for ever.

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Saturday, February 26, 2022

IS40:8 (part 2) - God's Pronouns


What are your pronouns?

Often in short bios, people list the pronouns which they choose to be addressed by:


In the name of open mindedness and diversity and tolerance and civility, most respect their wishes and call them by their preferred pronouns.

It's the polite thing to do.

What are God's Pronouns?


These masculine pronouns are used in traditional translations of the Bible as well as other references to the Deity:  Father, Son, Lord, King, Prince of Peace, etc. 

As the One who Created us--male and female--here is a reason as to why God identifies as male:

Yet, I've seen a trend of referring to God as gender neutral, in worship as well as some more recent Bible translations that also strike out other male specific words man, men, mankind, etc. 

All done in the name of inclusiveness.

Here is an example from The Doxology:


Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Gender neutral:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise God, all creatures here below;
Praise God for all that love has done;
Creator, Christ, and Spirit, One.

reference: Doxology

There are numerous examples in Bible translations. 

Check out:

Look up your favorite verses in more traditional translations and compare them to the more recent ones, especially the paraphrases.

What trend do you see, if any?


The question of the lack of respect has been brought up before in the Old Testament. 

The context in the verses below are God's people offering blemished sacrifices:

“A son honors his father,
and a slave his master.

 If I am a Father,
where is the honor due Me?

If I am a Master,
where is the respect due Me?”
says the Lord Almighty.

Good question.

Today's Question:

We respect the pronouns of another human being.

Do we respect God's pronouns?

You be the judge of this one.

Isaiah 40:8

The grass withereth,
the flower fadeth:
but the word of our God
shall stand for ever.


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