August 29, 2016
Photos of the Maclehose Trail - named as one of the top 20 beautiful trails in the world!
Cindy read in the Sai Kung magazine last night that Hong Kong’s MacLehose trail was named as one of the 20 most beautiful trails in the world.
We can attest to that as we’ve walked all 100km (62 miles) of it on various hikes, as well as in one go a few times. The MacLehose Trail is the one on which they do the annual Trailwalker event… a fund-raiser for the charity organization, Oxfam.
Cindy and I have participated in the Trailwalker a few times… walking the distance in under 24 hours.
One of the misconceptions people have about Hong Kong is that it’s just a concrete jungle. And when you’re standing in many places of town with buildings reaching seemingly to the sky, it’s easy to have that impression. However, in fact 40% of the land areas is set aside as country parks and nature preserves. With the ocean and mountains in close proximity, it is simply beautiful.
The photos I share today on the Website are all ones that I’ve taken on different hikes. When you do the Trailwalker event, it’s not good for photo taking as you’re doing nearly half of it in the dark at night. Looking at the photos I think you will agree with he assessment of the trail!
This year the Trailwalker is on November 18, and I’m hoping I will be in good enough shape to do at least the first two stages of it. That wold be 1 quarter of the trail, about 25km (about 15 1/2 miles). The most difficult stages of the MacLehose are from 3-8, but there is a fairly significant hill on Stage 2 and 3 other shorter hills on stage 1 and 2.
Of course, it will depend on how my recovery progresses. Today I have a sore toe that I will not allow me to walk. After the surgery the big toe on my right boot was swollen and painful. The doctor called it a gouty toe, but said it would not be permanent. For the past two weeks it was fine and did not hurt. But yesterday it got swollen again. Cindy looked up on the Mayo Clinic Website and the site said that it could be a result the surgery or medication. That makes sense to since it came after the surgery when I was not doing any walking or anything.
All in all, except for my sore big toe, I continue to feel good! My blood checkup last Wednesday was also okay, and my next checkup will be in a month.
Last week I requested prayer for the deacon’s meeting which took place last Wednesday. I believe the results of the decisions will be good for both churches. I can’t announce anything officially yet. However, thanks for your prayers. I’ll let you know the decision becomes official.
That’s my update for this week. Make it a great week! Blessings, Dave
The Santa Delusion
A charge that some people make is that religion in general and Christianity in particular are irrational. It’s ridiculous to believe in God, they say; there’s no evidence that God even exists! Richard Dawkins, in his best selling book The God Delusion, makes this very claim, saying that faith in God is just like belief in Santa Claus!
But of course, there’s a major problem with comparing faith in God to belief in Santa Claus. I don’t know anybody who came to believe in Santa Claus in adulthood. Yet I know many Christians—often former atheists—who discovered God as adults. This alone should tell you that God and Santa are utterly different. (If they weren’t, one wonders why Richard Dawkins didn’t write “The Santa Delusion.”) Furthermore, thousands upon thousands of great thinkers— now, and throughout history, have believed in God. That alone suggests that belief in God is hardly “irrational.”
But what about the other claim: “You can’t prove God exists!” What might a believing person say to skeptics? Well, I might start by gently pointing out that there are many good arguments that, whilst not proving God exists, certainly suggest God’s existence is extremely likely. There are philosophical arguments, such as the cosmological argument: (i) everything that begins to exist had a cause; (ii) the universe began to exist; (iii) therefore the universe had a cause. Most philosophers would say that’s a powerful argument.
There are also arguments from design. The universe and the laws of nature look, as one physicist once put it, suspiciously like a put up job. Or we might talk about the purpose that seems to be inherent in life. Most of us intuitively know that life has meaning and purpose. Indeed, a question one might fire back at our atheist friends concerns this very point: how does the atheist avoid nihilism, the view that life is meaningless, pointless, and nothing really matters. The question for the nihilist becomes “Why not suicide”?
The Christian would also want to point out that the deepest things that matter to us as humans all lie beyond the physical and the material: morality and meaning, love and friendship, beauty and truth. All of these don’t fit happily with atheism: “Darwinian mistakes,” Richard Dawkins once called them. That to me is tragic.
But perhaps the most powerful evidence for God is the one the Bible uses most consistently. The Bible doesn’t offer an argument for God, rather it points to God’s involvement in the world. Most significantly, that would be how, in the person of Jesus Christ, the God who created the world took on flesh and stepped into our world to rescue and save it. This is not a distant, remote, theoretical God, but a God who is very much alive. That’s a quite different proposition—and if that God exists, that changes everything. C. S. Lewis put it this way: “I believe in Christianity in the same way as I believe that the sun has risen. Not because I see it, but that by it, I see everything else.”
- Andy Bannister is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Toronto, Canada.
@A Slice of Infinity - go to http://www.rzim.org/slice/ to subscribe
God's Timetable, Not Ours
I heard a story which illustrates how we often confuse God's timing with ours. A country newspaper had been running a series of articles on the value of church attendance.
One day, a letter to the editor was received in the newspaper office. It read, "Print this if you dare. I have been trying an experiment. I have a field of corn which I plowed on Sunday. I planted it on Sunday. I did all the cultivating on Sunday. I gathered the harvest on Sunday and hauled it to my barn on Sunday. I find that my harvest this October is just as great as any of my neighbors' who went to church on Sunday. So where was God all this time?"
The editor printed the letter, but added his reply at the bottom. "Your mistake was in thinking that God always settles his accounts in October."
That's often our mistake as well, isn't it - thinking that God should act when and how we want him to act, according to our timetable rather than his. The fact that our vision is limited, finite, unable to see the end from the beginning, somehow escapes our mind. So we complain; we get frustrated; we accuse God of being indifferent to us.
That's when God gently reminds us that... "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts". (Isaiah 55:8-9)
God's timetable is perfect. He will do exactly what is best for us - in His own time - according to his wonderful plans for us, because He loves us so much. Wait! Be patient! His clock may show a different time than our clock, but it's the right one.
@Daily Encourager - go to http://go.netatlantic.com/read/all_forums/subscribe?name=thedailyencourager to subscribe
While walking through a parking lot on a busy December shopping day, I tripped and fell flat on my face. As I was lying there, a woman stopped her car and called out, "Are you hurt?"
"No, I'm fine," I said.
"Oh, good," she continued. "Will you be leaving your parking space now?"
Census Taker: "How many children do you have?"
Census Taker: "May I have their names, please?"
Woman: "Eenee, Meenee, Minee and Frank."
Census Taker: "Okay, that's fine. But may I ask why you named your fourth child Frank?"
Woman: "Because we didn't want any Moe."
@Laugh & Lift - http://www.laughandlift.com/
At the diner, my breakfast arrived with only three sausages instead of the usual four. The waitress explained that the cook had dropped one and was making another.
Soon the cook dashed out of the kitchen. "Here you are," he announced. "It's the missing link!"
@Doc's Daily Chuckles - go here firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe
A man goes into a pet shop to buy a parrot. The shop owner points to three identical looking parrots on a perch and says: "The parrot to the left costs 500 dollars".
"Why does the parrot cost so much?" the customer asks.
The owner says, "Well, it knows how to use a computer."
The customer asks about the next parrot and is told "That one costs 1,000 dollars because it can do everything the other parrot can do plus it knows how to use the UNIX operating system.”
Naturally, the increasingly startled man asks about the third parrot and is told "That one costs 2,000 dollars.”
“Needless to say this begs the question "What can IT do?”
To which the owner replies "To be honest I have never seen it do a thing but the other two call him boss!”
After church on Sunday morning, a young boy suddenly announced to his mother, "Mom, I've decided I'm going to be a minister when I grow up."
"That's okay with us," the mother said, "But what made you decide to be a minister?”
"Well," the boy replied, "I'll have to go to church on Sunday anyway, and I figure it will be more fun to stand up and yell than to sit still and listen."
A Sunday school teacher challenged her children to take some time on Sunday afternoon to write a letter to God. They were to bring back their letter the following Sunday. One little boy wrote: "Dear God, We had a good time at church today. Wish You could have been there."
Bouncing out of her first day in nursery school at Mount Moriah Presbyterian Church in Port Henry, New York, a three-year-old girl gleefully informed her mother: "We had juice and Billy Graham crackers!"
Rev. David A. Stammer-john, pastor of Laboratory Presbyterian Church, Washington, Pennsylvania, spent a week at the Synod school with his two children. The school's theme focused on Moses and the Exodus. When they returned home, his five-year-old daughter excitedly greeted her mother: "Guess what, Mommy. We made unleaded bread!"
@Sent by Carl Gustafson
Two fellows grew up in the mountains, and when they were grown, one of them said he was going up North to seek his fortune. The other one said he'd stay home and look after the farm and their parents. The one up North became a salesman, soon was sales manager, and then vice president and president of the company. Before long, his business was bought out by a big company out West. In a little while, he became president of the parent company.
One day he got a call from his brother on the farm, who said, " Daddy died,
and the funeral is Friday.”
He said, " Oh, my goodness. I have to leave Thursday for a big merger meeting in Japan. I just can't come, but I want you to give Daddy the best funeral you can get and send the bill to me. It's the least I can do.”
Well, the brother did that, and in a few weeks, the successful brother received a bill for $6,000., and he paid it. The following month, a bill for $100. came. Thinking they had forgotten something, he paid it. The next month, another bill for $100. came, and he paid that one, too. When another $100. bill arrived the third month, he called his brother and asked if he knew why he was getting these bills.
" Oh, yes," the brother said, " I think I do. See, when we got Daddy all dressed up in his old serge suit in that new casket with that polished wood and satin lining, he just didn't look right, and since you said you wanted the best, we rented him a tuxedo."