Friday, March 25, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
“A friend loveth at all times, and brother is born for adversity,” (Proverbs 17:17) This indicates that friends are at least somewhat important. There are many occurrences of friendships in the Bible, some good and some not so good. Let’s investigate to see just how important friends are.
Let’s first look at various friendships in the Bible. How about we start with Jonathon and David. They were probably among the most spoken of friends in the Bible. Jonathon was the son of King Saul – his natural heir. David was who the Lord had selected to be the next King. Judging from this, you would think that two of them would be worst enemies, as they were both promised the throne, and only one could sit in it. Instead they were the best of friends. Jonathon didn’t begrudge David the throne one bit, and David didn’t mind that Jonathon’s father was trying to kill him every five minutes. Well, maybe he did mind, but it didn’t hinder his friendship with Jonathon. In fact, they promised that if either of them died, the survivor would take care of the other’s children, which David later did for Mephibosheth. Jonathon was even willing to face his father’s anger for David.
There are also some bad friendships. King Rehoboam had some friends that counseled him to rebuke the northern tribes of Israel harshly. This angered them, and caused the country to split.
This indicates that friends are very important to one’s life, for they will often affect one’s life far greater than many other things. They give you advice. They comfort you when you are sad. They will help you do things you can’t. They laugh with you when you are rejoicing.
Diogenes was a Greek philosopher. He was one of the oddest of all of them. He was the chief of a group called the “cynics” or “growlers”. He was said to have been the pupil of a man who had been the pupil of Socrates. He was said to have lived in a tub out in the streets. Many funny stories are told about what he did.
One time he was caught carrying a lighted lantern through the town square – in broad daylight! When asked what he was doing, he answered “Looking for an honest man.”
Another time, when he had conquered the city, Alexander the Great asked Diogenes if there was any thing that he could do for him. Diogenes just growled “Yes, get out of my sunlight.” Alexander’s men wanted to punish him, but Alexander told them that “If I could not be Alexander, I would be Diogenes.”
Another time, when on a voyage, he was captured by pirates and sold as a slave. When asked what he could do, he answered, “I can rule men, sell me to some one who desires a master.” He was sold to be the tutor over his new master’s two sons.
He had, at one time, a slave named Manes. Then Manes ran away. Diogenes didn’t pursue him. Instead he said, “If Manes can live without Diogenes, then Diogenes can live without Manes.” When he saw a young boy drinking out of his hands. At this, he threw his one cup away.
One day he came out into the square and cried “Men, Men!” When the crowd gathered, he looked intently at each one at each person then turned away muttering, “I was hoping for Men.”
One of his students once asked him why he lost so many students to others, while none lost students to him. Diogenes answered, “You can make Eunuchs out of men, but you can’t make men out of eunuchs.”
According to tradition, he died the same day as Alexander.
The comb jelly is one of the most fascinating creatures in the sea. They are called comb jellies for the combs of tiny hairs, called cilia, that enable them to swim. They are distinguished from jellyfish by the fact that they don’t have stinging tentacles. They can be found in most waters, but usually pretty far down. If one would like to examine a comb jelly, however, they would have to catch them in a clear container of water, for comb jellies turn to mush when they leave the water. This is because they are invertebrates and don’t have any supportive skeletons. In fact, they completely rely on the water to support them.
Comb jellies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some have phosphorous portions, especially the ones that live really deep in the ocean. Comb jellies are carnivores, capable of eating creatures almost as big as them, due to the fact that their stomachs and mouths are expandable. The phosphorous portions help them to attract prey.
One interesting fact about comb jellies is that they don’t have brains. Instead, they have what is called a nerve net. That is what controls their actions.
As you can see comb jellies truly show that God knew what he was doing. If evolution were true, how would it have evolved? The stretchy stomach before the stretchy mouth? But God made them, and He made them right.
(Philippians 4:8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Not all that long ago I read the book That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis. It is the last book in his Space Trilogy. The two main characters were Jane and Mark, a husband and wife, who, though almost unwittingly, choose different sides in the battle. Jane though the help of some old friends and some odd dreams she has, joins, though at first reluctantly, the smaller group whose leader was the main character in both of the previous books. Mark readily joins the other, much larger group called N.I.C.E, but I have forgotten what it stood for.
Was it true though? It was fictional, so the story wasn’t, but Jesus himself told fictional stories called parables with true meanings. Then was its meaning true? The meaning was that, however small and outnumbered they might be, God’s people will prevail. Is this true? Yes.
Was it honest? He never said it really happened, so, yes.
Was it just? During the course of the book, those who choose the right side were rewarded. Those who had chosen the wrong were killed, so, yes.
Was it pure? Only the people on the wrong were immoral, and they were punished, so, yes.
Was it lovely? I think so. The ones on the right displayed great inner beauty.
Was it of good report? It reminds Christians that when things look down, God is always up, so, yes.
Was the any virtue? Except for Jane’s refusal to have children at the beginning, I think so.
Was there any praise? There was much praise of God, so, yes.
Therefore, this was a good, God-honoring book.
His gaze dropped to her hands, and she opened them to reveal the golden ball, then closed again and clutched to her chest. She took a deep breath, and said, "I am all alone in the world, I want to help you."
The unicorn stared at her for several long minutes, and then turned and walked away.
He led her to a cave, in which sat a very, very old woman. Her hair, or what was left of it, was snow white. Her eyes were cloudy, and her wrinkles had wrinkles.
When Goldilocks entered the woman spoke in a high, creaky voice. "We've been waiting for you, child."
"Yes, come be at supper with me."
"You're not ... not going to eat me? Are you?" gasped the girl.
"You are MUCH to skinny to eat."
Goldilocks shook with fright, but the old unicorn blocked her exit. She stepped forward and sat down at the table. She took a bite, found it delicious, and was soon scooping every bite into her hungry stomach.
"You are the one who has found the golden ball," said the old woman, "You are the one who can free the land from the dragons. You have a grand destiny, Goldilocks."
Goldilocks gulped. "How do you know my name?" she asked.
"Yes, yes I do. Goldilocks, this is my grandson, David, slayer of giants and dragons. He watched you the other day as you walked in the meadow. He heard you singing. And, most importantly, he saw you pick up his missing golden ball, the one he uses in his sling. "
"But, I still do not understand," Goldilocks replied. "You...you.. knew my name."
As Golilocks looked more closely at the old woman, she could see kindness in her eyes. When the old woman spoke again, there was a softness to her voice. "Yes, child, I know your name. We hear your uncle calling for you when you are seeking refuge in the meadow. We hear your songs in the wind."
"You will have to discover that for yourself," answered the old woman, "But, you must be brave, for there are many dangers you will have to face."
Goldilocks gulped again. "Dangers?" she managed to say.
"Every day occurrence for me," said David.
"Yes," said the old woman, "There are those of us who haven't stopped fighting, though we have had to go into hiding. We have been waiting for you, Goldilocks, waiting a long time."
"I just found this bird," said the black-haired girl, "She's hurt. I think one of the young dragons attacked her!"
"Bring her here," said the old woman. River brought the old woman the bird.
Would you like to go along, dear?}
Goldilocks did want to go along; however, was it the handsome young man or the promised ride on the unicorn that was causing her heart to flutter? " I...well....I....yes, I would like that very much."
"It's settled then," proclaimed the old woman. "And, David, I believe this is what you were looking for when you barged into the room.? She held up his sling.
"I want you to take her to her uncle's house, and inform him what we need her for," said the old woman, "I don't think they will refuse you."
She had tried to give the golden ball back, but David had waved it away. "It has chosen you."
David turned to Goldilocks with a smile and exclaimed, "Your hair! The golden ball has worked its magic."
Goldilocks giggled in delight, nudged the unicorn into motion with her heels, and shouted, "Giddy-up, Eunice. Let's go!"
For the first time, Goldilocks noticed that River was sitting on a small turquoise blue unicorn with a sea green mane and tail.
"Oh my!" gasped Goldilocks. Glancing down at Glo, she seemed to be laughing, then she seemed to instantly be in a gallop. Her hooves never seemed to touch the ground, and all too soon, the gates of the castle were within sight. They stopped in a grove not far from the gates.
"Oh my!" gasped Goldilocks.
"You done said that before," giggled River. Behind her David grinned.
"Come," said David. The two of them walked down to the gates and into castle, and right into the Great Room where her Uncle sat polishing the furniture.
"Sir," David's voice boomed into darkness.
The man glanced up, startled at the sight of David and the change in his niece. "Oh My!" he stammered. Goldilocks hid a grin behind her hand.
"Sir," David started again, much softer. "It is my understanding that this lass is the child of your brother?"
Uncle Taan nodded.
"She is also the child of my mother's sister. Long we have searched for her. We would like to bring her home with us."
"Oh my," gasped Goldilocks.
"Ay," he sighed at last. "She may choose."
Goldilocks gave her uncle a hug and promised to visit, then ran up to her room to pack the few belongings that she called her own, a second dress, a brush for her hair that belonged to her mother, and a string of beads and pearls that she had gathered through the years as she cleaned the castle. Also, an old worn quilt that she had been wrapped in when she was brought to live here. She hesitated a few seconds, and then took the cloak that the Lord of the castle had given her last year.
She hurried back to the great room, but not fast enough. Cirin and Aunt Ell found her just beyond the doorway. Cirin grabbed the dress and cloak away, laughing, and then as David and her uncle appeared in the doorway, she felt the hair of her head being pulled backwards and with a "snip" it was gone. HER HAIR!!!!
David was angry. "What do you mean, can the lass not leave with her own belongings?"
Aunt Ell's eyes narrowed. "The dress and cloak should rightfully go to my daughter. And I will sell her hair to pay for all the money we have been forced to spend on her." Her hands darted toward the beads and brush, but David intervened, whisking Goldilocks off of her feet and into his arms, and wrapping her into the quilt all at the same time. His glare was enough to silence her from further protest.
David turned and walked out of the castle. Goldilocks sobbing. Setting her down finally in the clearing.
River ran over with a cry, "Not your hair! Why did they take your hair?"
David sighed, running his hands through the ragged locks. "Granny will fix it up, but it will take a long time to grow back. Perhaps it is for the best, we have a long journey ahead to overcome the dragons. And I'm sure we can find both dress and cloak to replace the ones they stole."
"The dragons have taken her," David announced.
"Oh no!" exclaimed Goldilocks, "She was so good."
"Our family is too valuable for the dragons to kill," said David, "they have her prisoner somewhere, I'm sure, just as they do her daughters, our mothers."
With his eyes downcast, David replied, "It is also said, that a wish can be reversed by giving one back to the power of the golden ball."
"I'll do it David, I'll do it at once," replied Goldilocks. "But which precious gift should I return?"
David laughed, "Too true squirt."
"So what should we do?" asked Goldi.
"Pack!" said David firmly. "And then we go find Uncle Joe and see if he can help us. And maybe my cousin Jonathon can go with us too."
"What's the news?" he asked in a dry and cracked voice.
"The dragons took our grandmother just hours ago," answered David, "Right after Goldi, here, found the golden ball."
Uncle Joe's gaze softened. "Rithina?" he said, "Well, I suppose you came to get advice?"
"Yes," said David, "We wish to save her, as well as our mothers."
"Well," his said, after some deliberate thought, "The way I see it, you need to find the Dragon's fortress, sneak in, free the prisoners - without being caught - find the rift through which the dragons came to this world - for they don't belong here - convince them to go back through the rift, seal the rift behind them, and come back here." He smiled, and sat down at a desk, then said, nonchalantly, "Piece of cake."
"Perhaps will be for the best," he sighed. "Now give me your ball."
"Gladly." relplied Goldi, tossing her head to feel the strangeness of her haircut. She handed the bauble over without hesitation.
Uncle Joe gazed at it for several minutes, and then tossed it into a boiling pot of ... something thick and green. Then, muttering to himself, he fished a book from the shelf and began turning pages. Then finding a ladle, he scooped the hot red ball out of the gooy mix and plopped it beside the book on the table. Goldi was surprised to see a design covering the ball.
The old man turned the ball this way and that with a spoon, and glanced repeatedly at his book. Finally he turned his gaze on the threesome.
"It's not a wishing ball. The hair, the family, the unicorns are your birthright girl, not because of wishes."
"Then is that ball even important? or just a pretty toy?" asked River.
"It's the key to the portal, and it must be replaced in the sky to seal the broken rift from their world into ours. - and it must be placed by the only daughter of second daughter of a third daughter. She must ride a creature of gold and have hair the color of gold and a name of gold. .... er at least, that is what the old king said when the dragons first came through the portal."
Jonathon suddenly unfolded himself from a corner, startling Goldi. "Ah, so we will leave River here with you - and us 3 young lads, David, Locksly, and myself, will have to go adventuring into the lands of the dragon - and hope to find such a lass as we go." he winked at Goldi.
"Do what?" asked Jonathon, as if absolutely nothing was out of the ordinary.
"That's what we've always wan't to know," said David.
"Why do I have to stay here?" asked River, pouting.
"Because you are to young," said Jonathon, "Besides, if you don't stay, who'll be here to take care of Gramps?"
"Who indeed?" asked Uncle Joe with a shake of his head.
As the sun set, the 3 lads found a place to camp out in a small cave like place in a cliff. The mountains were before them, and they would tackle them the next day.
"You've rode good today Goldi .. er Locksly" said David.
"Glo is like riding on a cloud. I feel like we belong together. I don't mind the hurry up part. But even as fast as we must be going, I feel like the whole trip is taking forever.
And Jonathon is ... where is Jonathon?"
Suddenly a loud protest broke the darkness.
"Let Me GO!"
David and Goldi jumped and peered into the darkness. Jonathon appeared, with a huge grin pulling behind him ... River and her unicorn Eunice.
David peered down with disapproval.
"But," demanded River, "I found something that you HAVE to see!"
"Yes, but," said River, "I was looking at this book, and I realized that there was a word that said Duh Rrr Ah Guh Oh Nn, dragon. All the pictures were dragons and I remembered that you were going to go see dragons, so I realized that you needed this book."
"Did Uncle Joe send you?" asked David.
"He was asleep," said River, "But I left him a note!"
Jonathon seemed to regard this conversation as funny.
Goldi, who had acquired the book, suddenly began to read, "Push the Magic Dragon, master of all dragons. No dragon stronger, fiercer, or more cunning than Push. Faster than a speeding arrow....able to leap the deepest chasm in a single bound. It's Push...the Magic Dragon.l One thing, and one thing only, sends Push running scared ...to hear a golden-haired maiden singing this song 'Push the Magic Dragon out to the sea, never let it come back here to frighten little me'"
"Well, thank you River," said David, almost politely, "Now go back to Uncle Joe's"
"But if I go back," said River, "Who will come up with all the good ideas?"
"How about Jonathon," suggested David.
River pulled into a pouty posture. "Jonathon has bad ideas," she said, "He leaves me at home!"
Jonathon definitely regarded that as funny.
River looked at him suspiciously.
David didn't seem to be listening. "I've never heard of Push the Magic Dragon. Is there more there?"
Goldi/Locksly shook her head. "No, the rest of the page is gone, but the strange thing is ... I know that song. We use to sing it back at the castle. It's just a children's rhyme."
David sighed. "Figures." River, you brought us that book for nothing.
"Personally, I think this book may well prove helpful." said Jonathon, now studying the thick book.
Again, River looked at him suspiciously.
Goldi took a deep breath and sang this song:
Push the magic dragon
Out to the sea.
Never let him come back here,
And frighten little me.
Push the dragon, strong and mighty,
Feared throughout the land.
But I won't fear him, no not I,
I'll push him off the sand.
Push the magic dragon,
Mighty and strong
Having him here with us,
Is very wrong.
Push the dragon away from here,
Away from my home.
I don't want him here with us.
I want him to roam.
When the magic dragon
Is gone from our land.
We'll have a great big party,
And we'll clap ev'ry hand.
Yes, then rule ourselves again
And cower not in fear!
'Cause Push will no longer be in,
The land that we hold dear!
"And too obvious to be insignificant." laughed Jonathon.
"Well, I think that song sounds like it was out of that book!" commented River.
"Well, I've always found the best place to hide anything from my aunt, was right under her nose." said Goldi.
"Shhh!" said Jonathon, "That's Locksley, remember?"
"But what do you mean?" persisted River.
"A lot of stuff," said Goldi, flipping through the pages, "And it's obviously old."
Locksley took River by the hand, got her some supper, and tucked the yawning child into her bedroll, then climbed in beside her. She glanced once more to her cousins, turning pages and discussing what they were reading.
"You did good kid," and kissed River as she slept.
"Why didn't you tell me you were going to be coming this way?" said a girl's voice.
"I didn't know myself until just before we left," said Jonathon.
The girl's voice sighed. "Mother was taken yesterday afternoon."
"Her too?" said Jonathon, his voice thick with dread, "So was Aunt Rithina."
"The Dragons are growing bolder," said the girl, her voice clear with certainty.
Goldi sat up. Jonathon was talking to a girl with hair so light it was almost white.
"Locksley!" said Jonathon, noticing Goldi, "You haven't met my twin sister, Jinathia."
Jin laughed. "Of course, but I cannot go there - there is no light."
"why haven't the dragon's captured you?"
"They have tried - many times." Jin answered.
River woke just then, and rubbing the sleep from her eyes, she seemed to fly at the girl, crashing into her with a giant hug. For just a second, the two girls looked like colliding sunbeams and rainbows.
"We are you're cousins." smiled Jin. "Hard it was for your mother to leave you with you're father's people - but you had to be hidden."
"My mother is alive?" Jin nodded.
"And my father?" Jin shook her head.
"He died defending your mother."
Goldi cried. River ran to her and cried too, holding her tight.
"But the line of the kings was lost years ago," said David.
"One still lives," said Jin, "You must find him, and you will know him by the sword he carries. The sword of his ancestors."