Sunday, October 19, 2014

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? How Can You Know? Elwa Undammed At Last. Cygnet Rescue. Update.

 

For "Scripture Sunday";

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

Halloween is a major holiday in the Western world for people of various backgrounds. Can Halloween celebrations be reconciled with a Christian worldview and lifestyle?   The Bible holds the answer.

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?Jack-O'-Lantern
Source: Wikimedia Commons

"Friday night, the 30th. Oct. 2014 millions of children around the nation will be donning costumes, ringing doorbells and uttering the traditional "trick or treat" Halloween greeting. Most people consider this a harmless, fun activity for children. Others condemn the entire occasion because of the pagan origin of the day and connect it with demonism and the occult.

An article from a prominent Christian magazine suggested that "Christians should embrace the 'devilish' holiday with gusto—and laughter." The author suggests that Halloween presents us with an opportunity to "mock" and "laugh at" Satan and "the forces of evil."

A local pastor, writing wistfully of his past childhood Halloween celebration, said, "I enjoyed being a devil." He asserted that "a child doesn’t think of a red devil as an enemy of God or the apostle of hate and destruction." He went on to defend wearing costumes as merely superficial, and suggested that opposition to celebrating Halloween stems from lack of confidence in Christian beliefs.

Really only harmless fun?

Wait a minute!   Is it unchristian for parents not to want their children to dress up as the Devil? Or does Satan the Devil even exist? According to a recent Barna survey, nearly 50 percent of professing Christians do not believe that Satan is a living being. For these folks, the whole question must be a moot point. But perhaps the rest of us ought to reconsider our perspective regarding Halloween.

Would anyone dare to suggest applying this reasoning to Hitler? Would wearing Hitler masks and swastikas and dressing like the skeletal remains of his victims be an appropriate way to "laugh at" Hitler and "mock" the diabolical evils of Nazism?

Is Satan a laughing matter? Does God want our children to associate fun and treats with the forces of evil?

I am not implying that a child who puts on a Halloween mask is dabbling in the occult or is in danger of demon possession. I am simply questioning the suggestion that Halloween serves a positive Christian purpose.

According to Deuteronomy:12:31-32
God does not approve of recycling, reconstituting and relabeling pagan customs to celebrate Christian events.

Carnal holidays trumped by God's Holy Days

My wife and I just finished celebrating eight fun-filled days of the Feast of Tabernacles with more than 700 men, women and children here in Central Oregon. I so much wish all of Christianity could share the joy of this meaningful occasion. Here is a God-ordained festival that was observed by Jesus, Paul and the apostolic Church and is still celebrated today by many Christians. It is one of seven annual Holy Days that foreshadow future events in God's plan (Colossians:2:16-17 ) rather than focusing on the powers of darkness that form the legacy of Halloween.

Anyone who dares express objections to Halloween has two strikes against him: 1. It is fun for the kids, and 2. It is a long-standing, firmly entrenched custom in our culture.

But the Feast of Tabernacles has Halloween beat in both categories: 1. It is fun for kids and the whole family and is eight days long, and 2. It was established thousands of years ago by God Himself. And most importantly, it and all of Holy Days of the Bible teach valuable lessons about the plan of God.

For more information, I invite you to read our free booklets, Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe? and Is There Really a Devil?

From: http://www.ucg.org/commentary/should-christians-celebrate-halloween/

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How Can You Know?

"A viewer writes that it is easy to spot which religions are among the "false religions" of the Bible. Here is one Bible method you can use to spot the true from the false."

(Transcript):  [Darris McNeely] "We're going through a series of questions that have come in from some of our Beyond Today viewers through the weeks and past months as they view these Dailies and watch Beyond Today on television.

We on Beyond Today look at the Bible as our source of authority, as a source of truth that we use for whatever program and topic we cover. One of our viewers wrote recently about how the program was leading them to crucially examine what religions, other churches, say about the Bible.

Here's what she said. She said,

"Your program is very true. When we really look at the Bible, many Christ-based religions are exposed as veering away from or contorting what the Bible actually says. That, and also studying world history and doctrines of a number of today's prominent religions, it then is easy to spot which are among the false religions that the Bible mentions." End of quote.

It's a very astute comment that this viewer makes. There is a lot of false teaching out there, as the Bible calls it, that has crept into much of religious teaching today that doesn't square with the Bible. This person is looking at Beyond Today and the United Church of God, the church behind this program – they're looking at us and they're also examining what we say, what we teach, about the Scripture. And so they should. Every one of us should examine our beliefs that we hold, should examine whatever church or religion of our youth or your present attendance might be teaching you, to make sure that it squares with the Bible. Again, on Beyond Today , we believe that the Bible is the word of God, and that that word is also an essential guide for life, a source of absolute truth and teaching for our lives today. If we look at the Bible as indeed a holy book, given to us by God our Maker and our Creator, and study it and believe it, then we have a solid foundation upon which to build our lives and to study. And we can do that, and we should. In fact, we should be like a group of people that are mentioned in the Bible, called Bereans.

The Bereans were a group of people that the apostle Paul came in contact with in Acts chapter 17, in one of his journeys, beginning in verse 10 through verse 12 of chapter 17 of Acts (Acts:17:10-12 ). In that passage, we find a group of people that Paul begins to teach, and what is recorded about them is rather interesting – because he goes and meets these people, in a setting there in the city of Berea, and it says of them that "they were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. And therefore, many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks and prominent women as well as men." They searched the Scriptures daily, regularly, to see if what the apostle Paul, or anyone else who was teaching Scripture, was actually staying true to what the word that they had at that time said and taught. And that's what we should be doing today.

We should be examining what we believe, what may be taught to us, or have been taught in our past. If in some cases, that belief has been found to be untrue, it's not square with the Bible, then hopefully can lead us on a search for what is true.

How we determine what and which religion teaches errors, and the ones as opposed to what Jesus Christ taught, is a fascinating process. And we can find out exactly what is the truth if we study the Scriptures daily, if we look into them for the stories of wisdom from men and women who were people of faith, who believed God, knew God, and sought to walk with God – they form examples, and there is a great deal of teaching there for us. But once we do that, what will we do? That's the big question.

What are we going to do with what we read or with what we study? You can read the Bible. You can study it. But eventually, we have to live it, and act on what we come to know and to understand. And that will take us to an even greater level of understanding and success and contentment in our life, in helping us to know God. It can be known. We can know God in that way, and we can know the Scriptures. Prove what is there."

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From me: I blogged about this a couple of years ago, now it's done!

THE ELWHA RIVER, UNDAMMED AT LAST

The largest dam removal project in U.S. history is finally complete. Last month, park officials blasted out the last 30 feet of concrete from the Glines Canyon Dam, restoring the Elwha River to a free-flowing waterway.

"Last month, park officials blasted out the last 30 feet of concrete from the Glines Canyon Dam, restoring the Elwha River to a free-flowing waterway. Photo © Kati Schmidt/NPCA.

"There’s plenty I could say about my recent rafting trip down the newly restored Elwha River, but sometimes a simple “Wooohoooo!” says it all.

That was my natural reaction to more than a decade of work by NPCA and its partners to remove two antiquated dams from this spectacular northwestern river, restoring it to a splendor not seen in over a century. Last month, the National Park Service officially completed the largest dam removal in U.S. history, tearing down the Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams and expanding the river’s five miles of free-flowing waters to over 70 miles of unfettered fish habitat and paddling bliss."  More at: http://parkadvocate.org/the-elwha-river-undammed-at-last/

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In the Animal Kingdom:

Cygnet rescue - Simon beaten up by an angry swan

"Swans are very protective parents. The male swan, called the ‘cob’, can be very aggressive in order to protect his young.

A swan Cygnet got himself caught up while trying to sneak through a fence — not only does Simon need to save this baby swan from a fenceful life, he also needs to fend off the poor baby’s father, who gets pretty riled up about the whole situation!

Have a look at the touching, yet hilarious video below.

Read more at http://blog.therainforestsite.com/swanbabyrescue/#qvG6TEtYhVs46l65.99

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Update:

On Tuesday, Ray, Shay (his contentious ex-wife who is squatting in my guest house without my permission)  and I went to court as I had filed an eviction notice.  When she got out of prison last time, Ray had let her stay there in his spare bedroom for "a few days", until she could get a place.  That was over a year ago, and she would not get out.  The judge gave Shay 30 days to move out.  She said  "I have 30 days to make your life a living hell", and she meant it.  Jay doesn't even like to come up here to work on anything as she makes snide remarks and pretends that she is talking to the cat!!  Ray told the judge that he would like to stay in the guest house as long as Shay was evicted, and is elated that she will be leaving, finally.  We, and the neighbors can't wait!!  None of us like the kind of company that she keeps, if you know what I mean.   She is just an unhappy, explosive, and stressful person to be around.  Shay never used to be like this.  It was that last stint in prison for drugs that seems to have affected her.  We all prayed for her at church. 

On Thursday, I was getting a board for Jay to nail up in the storeroom extension, and another board fell on my foot.  Ray and I were working on the back hatch of my minivan so I couldn't get off my foot until 2.00pm.  I tried to lie down but the pain got worse.  I had broken the other foot in the 1990's, and it felt the same.  Ray drove me to the Emergency Room, so it was x-rayed.  It didn't show a break, but they said that a hairline crack could show up.  But as soon as that nurse put a support and Ace bandage on it, I could put my foot on the floor without pain.  So I just have a blue foot now.

As for church, Jeff and some of the elders took care of everything as the pastor and his wife were out of town for The Feast of Tabernacles.  It was a great service and three new people came, so it was great getting to know them.

The readings were Gen.1:1-6:8 and Isa.42.  The message was that God's yearly festivals for this year are all over, even The Eighth Day.  Also, how we should get back to the Jewish roots, teachings and festivals as God commanded.  http://www.gotquestions.org/Hebrew-roots.html  We need to have a direct relationship with Jesus (Yeshua) and follow his teachings and observe his ways, which included celebrating God's Holy Days.

"God's Festivals in the New Testament

The New Testament records Jesus Christ, the Apostles and the Church keeping the Holy Days.

More at: http://www.ucg.org/booklet/gods-holy-day-plan-promise-hope-all-mankind/gods-festivals-new-testament/ "

This is the sukkah that Jeff made for a table decoration, representing 'a booth' for The Feast of Tabernacles.

DSCF0163

DSCF0162

The potluck wasn't a large varied spread like it usually is, with the pastor and his wife being away.  The pastor's wife, Eunice, loves to cook so she usually serves a lot of food, but we had enough for everybody, even the three newcomers, and others who haven't been there for a while. Some members work all over, and they came whenever they are in the area.  It's always good to see them, too.  We all had a great day.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Feast of Tabernacles. Germany's Anti-Semitism Problem. Selling the Moon. Update.

 

For "Scripture Sunday:"

Feast of Tabernacles

"So from the very beginning of creation it was God's intention before there was a Jew or a Gentile or anyone who walked in this earth that He would establish a way for humankind to honor Him, to worship Him, to praise Him.  That's how far back the Holy Days go.  The Scriptures reveal that one of the original purposes of the sun, moon and stars is to mark time in order to observe God's religious festivals.

‘These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.

So these are again God's feasts.  They're not mine, they're not yours, they're not any church's, they're important to God.  So much so that He reveals the slices of time that He chooses, that He desires to be worshipped and honored and the first feast mentioned is the weekly Sabbath followed by annual observances eventually leading to the Feast of Tabernacles." From:  http://www.ucg.org/sermon/why-we-observe-new-covenant-feast-tabernacles/

Feast of Tabernacles 2014 - October 9-15, 2014

"Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert" (Isaiah 35:5-6).

"God's plan for mankind involves restoration—and the Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes the restoration process. The preceding Holy Days set the stage for this restoration of the creation to peace and harmony with God.

Featured Content in Feast of Tabernacles

Jesus Christ in the Biblical Festivals

"Every year of His life on earth, Jesus observed seven annual festivals found in the Bible. Are these biblical celebrations valid today? If so, shouldn't we observe them?

It's essential to realize that Jesus kept these commanded biblical festivals as part of His worship of and teaching about the Father—and to understand that these festivals show Christ's central role in the process of salvation. It's vital that we see the biblical Holy Days in their proper New Testament perspective. That perspective points to Jesus Christ. Jesus, who sits at the right hand of the Father, is the main agent of God's plan of salvation for mankind."         Read More

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The Millennium Pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles

"Of the seven festivals, the highlight of each year is when God's people enjoy the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles that pictures the coming Millennium."

The Millennium Pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles

Source: iStockphoto

"The seven annual sacred festivals commanded in the Bible portray the great sequential events in God's master plan for mankind's salvation.

Of the seven festivals, the highlight of each year is when God's people enjoy the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles that pictures the coming Millennium.

"You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days...And you shall rejoice in your feast . . . Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the Lord" (Deuteronomy:16:13-15).

In Exodus:23:16 it is called "the Feast of Ingathering" because it celebrates each year's autumn harvest (in the northern hemisphere). More importantly, it celebrates the great spiritual harvest that will take place during the Millennium as millions upon millions of people come to understand God's truth and have the opportunity to receive His gift of salvation!"  More at: http://www.ucg.org/gods-holy-days/millennium-pictured-feast-tabernacles/

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Home

Feast of Tabernacles Welcome to the LIVE webcast:

http://feast.ucg.org/  and: http://www.ucg.org/feast/

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Germany's Anti-Semitism Problem

The latest wave of anti-Semitism in Germany raises troubling questions.

Transcript at: http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-daily/news-and-prophecy/germanys-anti-semitism-problem

Jesus was a Jew and kept the feasts as directed in the Bible.

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Selling the Moon

An Amazing Fact: "In 1967, the United Nations signed the international Outer Space Treaty, which forbids any government from claiming the moon, or any part of space, as their territory. The treaty failed to mention anything about private individuals or corporations, so this left a loophole in international law as big as the expanse of space itself.

In 1980, Dennis Hope of Gardnerville, Nevada, sent letters to the United Nations, the United States government, and the government of the Soviet Union, informing them that he was officially claiming ownership of all planetary and lunar surfaces in our solar system (aside from Earth). He even gave them the opportunity to respond if they had objections, and as crazy as it sounds, he hasn’t heard a word from any of them since.

So, for over 20 years Dennis Hope has been selling plots of acreage on the moon, Mars, and other heavenly bodies for a pretty reasonable price—about $20 an acre! And he’s been pursuing this not just as a novelty sale but a serious real estate transaction (complete with covenants and bylaws that prevent the unsightly or trivial usage of the property). His sales are accelerating, and within a couple of years he anticipates he’ll have a constituency in the millions—enough to put serious pressure on the U.N. and the U.S. to recognize the government of Luna.

In the meantime, Dennis Hope, now 55, continues to operate his company selling people “official” title to land on the moon, Mars, and Venus. Although others are in the same business, Hope has earned about $6.5 million since he began his heavenly real estate business. That averages out at $270,000 a year, selling land on planets he has never been to and that he does not possess. Very clever!

But did you know that the Bible teaches there is some heavenly real estate you can truly own? And the price is already paid! Before Jesus left this earth, He told His disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2, 3). I sure look forward to the heavenly real estate Jesus is planning for us, don’t you?"
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. - 1 Corinthians 2:9

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Update:

Ray's back has been really bad, so he hasn't done anything all month.  Jay and I have still been working, a couple of hours at a time, on the extension of the storeroom.  It is being made with lots of windows and a glass door, so that it can be used as a greenhouse in the winter.  Jay tried to mow, but neither mower would work right, especially after Jay hit a stump with one!  So we took them back to the repair guy.

On Friday I went to the church for the start of the seven days of The Feast of Tabernacles.  This seven-day festival is followed by another, final festival called the eighth day .  "Why should Christians celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles?  Jesus Christ celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles, even at great risk to His life. What does this festival mean for Christians today?  See: http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/why-should-christians-celebrate-feast-tabernacles "

The Bible readings were Deut.16:8-21:9 and Isaiah 51:12-52:12.  The Teaching was about The Day of Atonement which was on the Sunday before, the 5th. http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/why-should-christians-celebrate-day-atonement-also-known-yom-kippur   We had agreed that it would be Mexican food in the dining hall that day, and it was good.

An elder had made a miniature sukkah out of twigs and leaves for one of the decorations on the dining table.  I didn't have my camera with me, but I took one with my phone.  All I need to do now is figure out how to get it out of there and into my computer.  (It is a very old phone)

Then I went to the usual church service on Saturday. The readings were Psalms, 104,104 and 103 in that order.  Then Deut. 21:10-25:19, and Isaiah 54:1-10.  The Teaching was about the current Feast of Tabernacles and how the Autumn feasts are different from the other feasts in the Spring.  The Spring feasts are looking forward and are history.   Tabernacles is an ingathering having gathered in the harvest and how we should all be grateful for what we have, and look forward to what is to come.

The potluck was great, as usual, and we all had a good time and fellowship on both days.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

October: A Festival of Peace! Keeping the Feast. Update.

 

For "Scripture Sunday:"

A Festival of Peace!

"If you’ve never heard of the Feast of Tabernacles, you should. It’s mentioned in both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures of the Word of God.

image Ancient Israel kept it, as did Jesus Christ, His disciples and the early New Testament Church. It’s still kept today, by people who know that only the Creator Himself can bring true peace—and that this He will do—and soon!

Peace! It’s the eternal dream of humanity. Everyone says they want it; yet no one can really find it. The 20th century was the bloodiest 100 years in human history, with estimates of war dead ranging between 150 and 200 million human beings! Some died in the two world wars; others, in conflicts between nations; and still others, in internal strife and oppressive actions by bad governments.

Since the 1940s, humanity has had to live with the most horrifying of threats: first the atomic bomb, then the hydrogen bomb, and later biological and chemical weapons. And as we move through the early stages of the 21st century, these threats are even more real, with fears that such weapons of mass destruction may fall into the hands not just of rogue states, but even of terrorists and nongovernmental organizations.

Everyone says they want peace, yet no one is able to get us there. We greet each other with phrases that conjure peace: “Salaam alaikum!” “Shalom!” “Peace!” Negotiators attempt to bring long-sought peace to places where conflicts simmer and sometimes boil over, like the Middle East, parts of Africa and Latin America. Sometimes a temporary calm sets in, only to erupt in bloody conflict at a later date.

“Wars and rumors of wars” is a phrase aptly coined by Jesus Christ to characterize our age. Yet in the midst of these wars and rumors of wars, there is hope—real hope—for true, lasting peace. It’s symbolized in an eight-day festival described in the pages of the Bible.

Right around this time of the year, thousands of people will pack their bags and travel away from their homes for a celebration that foreshadows a time of real peace. That celebration is the biblical Festival of Tabernacles! This year the Feast will begin on the evening of Oct. 8 and ends on Oct. 16.  These folks—ordinary folks from all walks of life—will congregate at many sites around the world for eight wonderful days that look forward to a time of real peace that is sure to come. They will worship God, listen to biblical discourses about the peaceful Millennium and enjoy time spent with family and friends. It’s a time for rejoicing—not just for a religious vacation, but because of what it means and what it points to. Those who go to the Feast declare by their actions that they look forward to that time of God-given peace: the reign of God on earth, the Kingdom of God.

“The way to peace they know not” is what the prophet Isaiah foretold. Centuries ago, he was right on the button! Humanity cannot, and will not, bring true, lasting peace to this war-weary world.

But God can and will. He will send His Son back to this earth, to usher in a time of joy and peace for all. This is all depicted in the Feast of Tabernacles, a wonderful foretaste of what’s to come.

Peace! Paz! Shalom! Salaam alaikum! It’s really coming!

For Life, Hope & Truth, I’m Ralph Levy." From: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/speaking-of/a-festival-of-peace/ 

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Celebrating With Jesus This Month

Open Bible

Source: Photos.com

"As a Christian, one who is dedicated to following Jesus Christ, I want to observe, do and emulate the things He did. Not the least of these things are the days that Jesus observed. For starters, every week Jesus kept the Sabbath day, which no one denies falls on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. But Christ also kept the Feasts of the Lord that are mentioned throughout the Bible. To begin with, they're all listed in the 23rd chapter of Leviticus. The names of these Feasts of the Lord are all listed, along with the date of their observance.

Here's where it begins:

"And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: " The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts"'" (Leviticus:23:1-2 , emphasis added).

These observances weren't limited to any ethnicity. Rather their authority proceeds from the Lord God, who takes ownership of them.

First God tells His people about the weekly Sabbath festival:

"Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings" (Leviticus:23:3).

Next it goes to the festivals that Jesus, along with the apostles and the early Church, kept without any question throughout His life:

· The Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread
· The Feast of Weeks (called Pentecost in the New Testament)
· The Feast of Trumpets
· The Day of Atonement
· The Feast of Tabernacles
· The Eighth Day

These are the days observed by the early New Testament Church both in Judea and everywhere else. They are days of observed without question in Corinth, far away from Jerusalem and the Jews. These are the days that I and the rest of the United Church of God faithfully observe."    More at: http://www.ucg.org/blog/celebrating-with-jesus-this-month/  by Victor Kubik

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Update:

Jay and I are still working on the extension to the storeroom, and it is coming along slowly.  We only work at it a couple of hours a day, but now that it is getting cooler, we might be able to do more, although it is in the shade.  Ray's back is still giving him a lot of trouble, so he hasn't been able to do much.

Jay and I went to church for The Feast of Atonement and on Saturday for the regular Sabbath.  We enjoyed good service and the readings were Deut. 16:18-21:9, and Isa.51:12-52:12.  The Teaching was about The Day of Atonement. It's central themes are atonement and repentance. "For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before God” (Leviticus 16:30).

"This shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year."—Leviticus 16:34.

"Who doesn’t have something for which they need to atone, someone with whom they need to reconcile, something for which they need forgiveness, or someone they need to forgive?" From:   http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/10/03/five-reasons-why-can-all-appreciate-yom-kippur-jewish-day-atonement/

The potluck was great as usual, and we all enjoyed the fellowship in the dining hall. 

Some folks go strictly by the Bible and fast the way that Jesus and the Disciples did it, and fast for 25 hours.  Some from our congregation stayed there until sunset to be together when it started, and then went to their homes to continue the fast.  We didn't stay as I had to get back to let BigGirl my foster dog, out.

For a change, we didn't have to have the AC on today!