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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Winter Storm Jonas

Hurricanes have been given names for years. The National Weather Service set on a pattern of a rotating list of male-female alternating names for storms in 1979. In 2012, The Weather Channel decided to name winter storms as well. I missed that until we started hearing we were going to be hit by Jonas. Jonas? A hurricane in the winter? No, just a winter storm with a name. And, as it turns out, a name that will go down in history as a record-setting blizzard on the East Coast.
There was ample time to prepare as we were being warned all week it was coming. Lots of snow and wind would shut everything down all everything from North Carolina to the New England states. It would begin here about 6 p.m. Friday. I took it seriously and did my usual Friday shopping rounds first thing Friday morning. I prepared some food in advance and filled some buckets with water in case the electric went off. This time the forecast was right on the money and the snow began to fall just before 6 p.m. The ground was white when we went to bed. I thought if we had to have a blizzard that was about as good timing as it could be---after rush hour Friday, snow on Saturday, and clear on Sunday.
There was a thick layer of snow Saturday morning and it continued to fall all day.  The electric did not go off and we were snug and warm in the house all day. We entertained ourselves with our hobbies and let it snow. It stopped sometime after dark and before we went to bed but it snowed about 24 hours.
How much snow did we get? It's hard to tell with the way it drifted but according to the news it was a record breaker. Harrisburg had 34 inches and Allentown had 31. We're smack in the middle so it's safe to say we had 28-30 inches. The windows were plastered shut all day with the blowing snow and drifts piled up nearly to the windowsills.

Cities up and down the coast banned travel except for emergency and snow removal vehicles. Lancaster slapped a $300 fine on anyone who tried to drive in the city.
The sun came up in a clear blue sky this morning and recovery began. Church was canceled so we listened to a sermon on a CD for our "home church." Then Leroy went out to start clearing the snow from the driveways. It was a light dry snow and pushed easily with his little tractor.

The winter had been basically mild into January. All the snow we had been spared up to this point was dumped in one storm. We've had our quota for the season now.
I don't mind being snowed in for a weekend as long as the electric stays on. It's actually kind of cozy and relaxing. I entertained myself with scrapbooking and am not bored. We have had storms with less snow that caused greater problems than this one, mostly because the electric stayed on. But I don't need another winter storm big enough to give it a name.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hezekiah's Seal

A dump site is the last place you would expect to find an 8th century B.C. seal for a papyrus document signed by one of the kings of Judah.
Perhaps that's why it has taken 2,700 years for the piece of clay inscribed with King Hezekiah's seal to be discovered in Jerusalem.
It is believed to be the first-ever seal -- also referred to as a "bulla" -- from an Israeli or Judean King to be discovered by archaeologists.
"The seal of the king was so important. It could have been a matter of life or death, so it's hard to believe that anyone else had the permission to use the seal," Eilat Mazar, who directs excavations at the City of David's summit, told CNN.
"Therefore, it's very reasonable to assume we are talking about an impression made by the King himself, using his own ring.
"This the greatest single item I have ever found," added Mazar -- a third generation archaeologist.
The Ophel excavations were conducted at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount.
The oval bulla -- which is 0.5 inches wide -- was discovered by a team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Led by Mazar, the team were excavating an ancient dump near the Silwan neighborhood beside the wall that surrounds Jerusalem's Old City.
The site itself, along with the nearby City of David, is contentious, because it is an Israeli archaeological dig in East Jerusalem next to a Palestinian neighborhood. Critics say the dig is politically motivated to extend Jewish claims over East Jerusalem and the Old City: archaeological finds become historical justifications
The seal is believed to have been discarded from a royal building, with the rubbish.
The impression on the clay bears an inscription in ancient Hebrew script that translates as: "Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz king of Judah."
It features a two-winged sun, with wings turned downward, flanked by two ankh symbols symbolizing life.
Other bullas bearing the name of King Hezekiah have been seen on the antiquities market. However, the others are not as important because they were not found by archaeologists and therefore may not be genuine, according to Mazar.
What we know about King Hezekiah
King Hezekiah was a very impressive king who reigned from about 727 to 698 B.C. In the Old Testament, we read of King Hezekiah, one of the greatest kings since David and Solomon. Living about 700 years before Christ, his greatness came from the fact that he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done (2 Chronicles 29:2).  Because he loved the Lord, this king of Judah “did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered” (2 Chronicles 31:20-21). He destroyed the idols (2 Chronicles 31:1), purified the Temple and restored the sacrifices (2 Chronicles 29), and started celebrating Passover once again (2 Chronicles 30). Second Kings 18:5 says of him, Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.
Events from the reign of King Hezekiah have already been confirmed by archaeology. Second Chronicles 32:2-4 and 2 Kings 20:20 mention Hezekiah’s tunnel, dug to prepare for an Assyrian siege (a siege God supernaturally kept from happening in 2 Kings 19:25-36), and it’s still part of Jerusalem’s water system today. The Bible mentions that Sennacherib laid siege to the Judean city of Lachish and conquered it (2 Kings 18:13), was defeated in Jerusalem, and then was killed by his sons in the temple of his god (2 Kings 19:37). Both the siege of Lachish and his death have been confirmed by archeology.
This incredible find confirms God’s Word yet again. Isn’t it exciting being a Christian and seeing how science is constantly confirming the truth of God’s Word? Of course, since the Bible is real recorded history, this is exactly what we should expect—and it’s exactly what we see!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Every Morning

The year of 2016 is six days old and I am hoping to finally begin scrapbooking today. That is the #1 project on my winter list but it was postponed when I got a cold right after Christmas which developed into acute bronchitis. I kept thinking surely the next day would be better and it was worse. Finally, on January 2, I gave up and went for help. A couple days of antibiotics turned things around and I'm finally on the mend, ready to begin scrapbooking.
Every new day is a new beginning and God's mercies are new every morning. But at the beginning of a new year we are more likely to consider the past and contemplate the future. What do we want to accomplish or change in the year ahead?
I always have a list of things I want to do but this winter's list is shorter than sometimes. And as I look at the calendar, it's not as crowded as it was last year. Yesterday I had some phone calls that resulted in writing two things in my date book for May and June and we have tentative plans for a trip in July. I'm sure the rest of the year will fill up as we go along.
But there is more to life than what we do with our time. As I look at what I am and the person I would like to be, I can see room for a lot of improvement.
  • Why do I become defensive if someone criticizes me? In a word, pride.
  • Why am I slow to see the needs of others and do something about it? Selfishness
  • Why do I get my foot in my mouth so often? Impulsive
I could go on exposing my faults but those three will keep me busy all year. My goal for the year is to "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." I want to be able to look back at the end of the year and see growth in my spiritual life which will be reflected in all of life.