The start of each article is marked with an asterisk. Using the find/replace feature of your word processor, type in the asterisk (shift plus numeral eight) then hit enter to jump between articles.
1) trivia questions and answers
2) Seven Amazing Medical Breakthroughs That Will Wow The World In 2017
3) Best Inexpensive Computer Printers
4) Pages with Mac and VO
5) Creation Explained a Different Way
7) New GOP bill lets companies force you to take genetic tests
9) Invest in Your DebtIts a Sure Thing with a Solid Return
10 phraises and what they mean
11 American Printing House News for March 2017
12 living by faith
13 NO ONE REALLY NOTICED
Articles Start Next
*1) 1. In the original version of Trivial Pursuit, which category is represented by the color blue?
- Sports & Leisure
Answer: Trivial Pursuit is a board game in which winning is determined by a player’s ability to answer general knowledge and popular culture questions. Questions are split into six categories, with each one having its own color to readily identify itself; in the original version of Trivial Pursuit, the categories are Geography (blue), Entertainment (pink), History (yellow), Arts & Literature (originally brown, later purple), Science & Nature (green), and Sports & Leisure (orange).
- What is the most poisonous tree in the world?
- Graveyard tree
- Black Willow tree
- Manchineel tree
- Black Locust tree
- ” Do not eat, touch, or even inhale the air around the Manchineel Tree. According to the Guinness World Records, the Manchineel tree is in fact the most dangerous tree in the world. As explained by the Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, all parts of Manchineel are extremely poisonous, and “interaction with and ingestion of any part of this tree may be lethal”. The Manchineel tree can choke you with its fruit, poison you with its sap, and blind you with its smoke. Literally every part of the tree is poisonous. Native to Florida, the Caribbean and Central America, the Manchineel is rumored to have killed the famed explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon.”
*2) 7 Amazing Medical Breakthroughs That Will Wow The World In 2017 | The Huffington Post
Leukemia therapies, augmented reality, and advancements in Alzheimer’s treatments are leading the charge for the future of health care.
Kristen Sturt Grandparents.com
On the original Star Trek, Dr. McCoy (a.k.a. “Bones”) carried a sensory device called a tricorder to record and relay medical information. Soon, thanks to Qualcomm’s $10 million XPrize competition, that neat fictional gadget could become a health care reality.
Over the last five years, teams from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, India, and Taiwan have competed to develop their own functional tricorders—portable tools able to diagnose health conditions and take real-time vital signs like blood pressure. The winning design will be announced in early 2017, with the hope that, eventually, individuals will be able to use it at home, “to assess and manage their health independent of a hospital or doctor’s office.” Live long and prosper, indeed.
2. (CAR) T-cell Immunotherapies
There have been such tremendous advancements in treatments for blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, that the five-year survival rate for children with Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is now over 85 percent. And starting in 2017, those kinds of numbers may leap even higher.
For the first time, pending FDA approval, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy will be made available to “high-end” cancer centers around the country. In this kind of cellular immunotherapy, white blood cells called T-cells are extracted from a patient, treated at a special laboratory, and then returned to the patient to fight cancer cells. Trials on kids with ALL have proven very successful, with high rates of complete remission. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society notes that studies of CAR T-cell therapy on multiple myeloma,chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and some types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) have also been “very promising,” as well.
3. Augmented Reality
When Pokémon Go burst onto the scene this past July, millions of everyday Americans got their first taste of augmented reality (AR), in which a computer digitally enhances the sights and sounds of real-life environments. While some AR tools have already made inroads into health care—like AccuVein, which maps out patients’ veins for phlebotomists and nurses—the incredible technology will become even more widespread in 2017, as it:
- teaches doctors and medical students how to do certain surgeries, procedures, and dissections
- helps patients envision their own conditions, treatments, surgeries, and recoveries
- maps out the locations of health care providers and life-saving equipment (like defibrillators) for the public in case of emergency
- It’ll be years before they’re a reality, but AR implants for the eyes and ears are coming down the pike, too. Google and Samsung have already filed patents for lens implants intended to monitor glaucoma and deliver medicines.
4. Synthetic Blood
From prosthetic limbs to artificial hearts, pacemakers to ear implants, we’ve figured out how to replace darn near every part of the human body. But until fairly recently, blood was a bit of a pipe dream. Not so anymore.
In 2017, England’s National Health Service (NHS) will conduct early safety trials, in which about 20 people are given small amounts of synthetic blood made from stem cells. The short-term goal is to create red blood cells to treat specific conditions and illnesses, like sickle cell anemia. The long-term goal? NHS scientists hope to make enough for transfusions for people with rarer blood types.
5. Mobile Stroke Treatment Units
When a stroke hits, every second counts; it’s estimated you lose about two million neurons each minute after the event, and the longer you go untreated, the worse the damage to your brain. That’s why a Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit (MSTU or MSU) could be a lifesaver.
Usually staffed by paramedics, a nurse, and a medical imaging specialist, among other emergency personnel, an MSTU is essentially an ambulance dedicated to the fast diagnosis and treatment of strokes. When a dispatcher calls in a stroke, the MSTU is mobilized to the patient’s home. Once it arrives, the team is able to determine whether a stroke is caused by a blood clot, administer a drug to dissolve that clot, and then bring the patient to an appropriate hospital.
Early studies of response time are promising, and there are currently units in Cleveland, New York, Houston, and Denver, with more coming every day. In fact, one source reports that by late 2017, an MSTU will be available to more than 40 percent of major-city emergency rooms.
If there’s one advancement medical experts and the press seem most excited about, it’s interoperability, or, the ability of health care information technologies—like a hospital’s digital systems—to communicate with each other. For those who have wondered why the billing department can’t get on the same page as your doctor, this is the breakthrough for you.
Set to debut in 2017, Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is a kind of tool dedicated to saving money and lives by improving the speed and efficiency of health data transferal. Essentially, instead of transferring entire documents, which causes a backup, FHIR transfers specific bits of health care information—a word, a code—from one place (ex: your doctor) to another (ex: billing). This means health care workers don’t have to go through tons of extraneous information to get the data they want, making your experience faster and your records, more accurate.
On a more personal level, the technology will make it easier to create health apps, as well, which could filter down to patients in years to come.
7. Ultrasound Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 3 current seniors will die with the condition or another dementia. And while we’re still a long way from a cure, there’s one encouraging treatment set to begin human trials in 2017: ultrasound therapy on amyloid plaques, which clump around neurons and are believed to contribute to Alzheimer’s.
Back in 2015, Australian researchers found the sound waves generated by ultrasounds cleared amyloid plaques (pictured) in mice, 75 percent of which performed better on memory tests afterward. There was no damage to the surrounding tissue, and the treatment could be much cheaper than drugs that perform similar functions, reports The Wall Street Journal. Of course, duplicating the results in humans is a much harder endeavor, thanks to our thicker skulls and more sophisticated brains. Still, researchers are optimistic about the long road ahead.
*3) Best Inexpensive Computer Printers
With so many technologies and capabilities available, choosing a printer
isn’t easy. And don’t assume you’ll find the perfect printer anytime soon. No matter the cost, printers get paper jams. They run out of ink/toner. Network connectivity can be challenging. That’s just the nature of printers. I don’t know why, but it’s important to understand and accept.
Now that I’ve lowered your over all expectations, let me give you thegood
news: There are some great affordable printers out there, depending of course on exactly what you need a printer to do. Here are my top three picks for your consideration:
Best Inexpensive Black and White Laser Printer. The Brother HL-L2380DW is a great choice for people who need to print, scan, or copy term papers, tax forms, concert tickets and other black and white documents from home, home office or dorm room. This printer handles automatic two-sided printing; it’s pretty speedy too, at 32 pages per minute, with a cost-per-page of about 2.3 cents which includes wear and tear on the drum.
This Brother model is quite easy to set up and will be a reliable addition to your home’s computer network. Expect this printer to work well with any current laptop, desktop, smartphone or tablet including Chromebooks.
The paper tray holds 250 sheets of paper and the printer itself has a draft or “save more” setting that allows you to conserve toner when the document you print does not require professional quality. But when that is needed, this printer outputs sharp, professional black and white pages at up to 2400 x 600 dpi resolution. About $129.
Best Inexpensive All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer. If you need a printer to do it all—wireless printing, scanning, copying and faxing—you want a high-quality all-in-one color printer. My pick for the best inexpensive is HP OfficeJet 8720 All-in-One Printer because it’s a workhouse that is not frustrating to use or difficult to setup. Print from anywhere using your smartphone or tablet. This beauty prints and scans
two-sided documents in black and white or color. This printer has tons of additional capabilities including Wi-Fi direct (no network required), borderless printing and a legal-size scan bed—to name just a few.
Per-page print costs for the HP OfficeJet 8720 are lower than those of most competing inkjet printers, at 1.6 cent per page for black and white and 8.1 cents for color. This is an excellent, affordable, beautifully designed, all-around piece of equipment for home or home office. About $190.
Best Inexpensive Photo Inkjet Printer. If you’re into photography and want to print gallery-quality photos up to 13-inches wide, the term “inexpensive” becomes a
relative term. A quality photo printer can cost thousands of dollars. Given that information, the Epson SureColor P600 is my pick for best inexpensive photo
printer. This machine uses pigment inks that produce fade-resistant photographs,
unlike those you would get from an online service that will fade quickly. This printer is fabulous to work with too, with its touchscreen control panel and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity plus wired Ethernet and USB ports. Maintenance is quite simple. This inkjet photo printer delivers professional quality color prints and black-and-white photographs too, that are as close to traditional darkroom photos as you will find.
By Mary Hunt on 03/08/17
*4) A new book entitled “Pages with Mac and VO” is now available. It’s $35.00 , here’s the link:
*5) Creation Explained a Different Way
In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.
Then using God’s great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and Krispy Creme Donuts. And Satan said, “You want chocolate with that?” And Man said, “Yes!” and Woman said, “and as long as you’re at it, add some sprinkles.” And they gained 10 pounds. And Satan smiled.
And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair. And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 6 to size 14.
So God said, “Try my fresh green salad.” And Satan presented Thousand-Island Dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman unfatene their belts following the repast.
God then said, “I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them.” And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.
God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it “Angel Food Cake” and said, ” It is good.” Satan then created chocolate cake and named it “Devil’s Food.”
God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose those extra pounds. And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering blue light and gained pounds.
Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition. And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fried them . And Man gained pounds .
God then gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald’s and its 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then said, “You want fries with that?” And Man replied, “Yes! And super-size them!” And Satan said, “It is good.” And Man went into cardiac arrest.
God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery. Then Satan created Cuts to the Health Care System. Amen
*6) will be five fewer laughing people in the world. NASA News and Facts
The first human to journey into outer space was Russian Soviet pilot and cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. His Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961.
Humans can survive 15-30 seconds in outer space as long as they breathe out before the exposure. Breathing out prevents the lungs from bursting and sending air into the bloodstream. After roughly 15 seconds, a person will become unconscious due to lack of oxygen, which leads to death by asphyxiation. The worst problem would be lack of oxygen, not lack of pressure, in the vacuum of outer space.
Astronauts can grow up to 3 percent taller during the six months they spend on the International Space Station. Without gravity, their spines are free to expand. It takes a couple of months of being back on Earth for them to return to their preflight height.
After returning to Earth, many astronauts have a difficult time adjusting to gravity and often forget that things fall if you drop them.
NASA officials have maintained that astronauts have never had sex on the International Space Station or during any space shuttle missions. Scientists speculate, however, that while sex in space might pose some mechanical problems, conceiving a child could be dangerous. Low gravity could raise the risk of an ectopic pregnancy, and radiation could raise the risk of birth defects.
*7) New GOP bill lets companies force you to take genetic tests, lets them share results with third parties
New GOP bill lets companies force you to take genetic tests, lets them share results with third parties
- By Joel Hruska on March 10, 2017 at 3:30 pm
- A new bill introduced by Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and approved by the House Ways and Means Committee would allow corporations to force employees to undergo genetic testing — and then share those results with third parties. In theory, this is already illegal, thanks to a 2008 law known as GINA. This type of behavior is also regulated by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
- The new House bill, HR 1313, gets around these issues by preemptively declaring that workplace wellness programs offered in conjunction with an employer’s sponsored health care plan shall be considered to be in compliance with GINA, the ADA, and other workplace protections. Given that the relevant section of GINA (section 202(b)(2)) specifically states that it shall be unlawful for employers to gather genetic information on employees without the express permission and consent of the employee in question, the GOP just wrote a privacy-shredding exception into a bill and then quietly passed that bill through committee.
- Workplace wellness programs have been controversial because they largely don’t seem to work, but remain popular as a method of pushing healthcare costs on to employees.
- Do workplace wellness programs work? – Chicago Tribune
- Historically, companies have been allowed to offer these programs (and to enforce fiscal penalties on employees that refuse to meet their goals). But HR 1313 goes farther than simply allowing genetic profiling of employees because an employer offers insurance coverage.
- Read the text of the bill here:
- The bill actually stipulates that any company with any program with a workplace wellness component can mandate genetic collection whether it provides insurance or not. It also states:
- [T]he collection of information about the manifested disease or disorder of a family member shall not be considered an unlawful acquisition of genetic information with respect to another family member as part of a workplace wellness program. [emphasis added]
- Under the GOP’s bill, which has already passed through one committee vote with 22 Republicans voting for it and 17 Democrats against, it would be explicitly legal for companies to collect genetic information on your family members. It’s also legal for them to share that information with third parties, in complete and total abrogation of the privacy protections passed in 2008.
- The American Society for Human Genetics has blasted the bill:
- R.1313 would effectively repeal these protections by allowing employers to ask employees invasive questions about their and their families’ health, including genetic tests they, their spouses, and their children may have undergone. GINA’s requirement that employees’ genetic information collected through a workplace wellness program only be shared with health care professionals would no longer apply.
- HR 1313 is a travesty. It guts previous protections passed by Congress intended to protect the most fundamentally personal information any human possesses — their own genetic code. It would allow corporations to share that data with third parties for analysis without stripping it of identifying information (GINA forbids this, but 1313 supersedes GINA). It would allow companies to levy fines up to 30% of the cost of health premiums on the employees who fail to cooperate. The ASHG notes that the average premium cost for employees in 2016 was $18,142, meaning families could face an additional $5,443 in premium costs per year for refusing to hand over their genetic and health information.
*8) Invest in Your Debt—It’s a Sure Thing with a Solid
Should I invest or pay off debt? That has to be at the top of the most common questions I have received over the years. And the answer is a solid—it depends! But only on one thing:
If you do not have an emergency fund saved and stashed in a safe place—and I’m talking about at least $1,000—you should save madly while you keep paying the minimums required on your burgeoning debt. Once you have an emergency fund in place, the answer to that question is clear:
Dear Mary: I have $13,000 in credit-card debt. I have designed a plan in which I would pay the amount of interest charged to me on my last statement plus $930 each month. The way I figure it, by doing this I will have this debt paid off in 15 months. I am going to have to dip into my investment account to come up with that additional amount each month, but I can do that. I could also just pay off the whole amount from my investment account (it is not a tax-advantaged retirement account), but I don’t prefer to do it that way. My investment account is at about $209,000 and I really don’t want to go under the $200,000 mark in that account.
What is your suggestion? Anonymous
Dear Anon: You don’t say the interest rate you are paying on that debt, so I am going to assume it’s the current average rate of 17.55 APR. You don’t say how your funds are invested, so I will assume you are invested in the stock market (some equity stock, some bonds).
Here are the facts:
- You owe the $13,000 regardless of anything that happens in your life or the world. And you owe it at a huge rate of 17.55 percent interest. That works out to $190 interest per month. It’s a sure thing.
- Your money in the investment account is at risk. It could grow, it could shrink. You could lose it all overnight. That’s the nature of an investment. It is not a surething.
Here is the principle I recommend that you follow: There is no better investment than a repaid debt because it comes with a guaranteed return. It is always the wise thing to invest in your debt (but only to the point that you are not raiding your basic emergency fund to do so). Pay off that $13,000 debt now.By investing in this debt you will, in effect, be earning 17.55 percent on that $13,000 rather than paying it to the credit-card company. Let me explain how that works:
If you keep paying on the debt, next month when you pay that credit-card payment you will be paying $190 to the bank in interest. But if you pay it off in full this month, next month you do not have to pay that $190. You get to keep it. That money is now yours and is the 17.55 percent interest you are “earning” on the $13,000 you chose to invest in your debt.
Your investment account ebbs and flows due to current market conditions. Many believe the U.S. stock market is going to go through a major correction in the coming months or years (read: crash), which we’re being told could see a 30-percent drop or more. Will that happen? Your guess is as good as mine.
If the worst happens (your investment account suffers a mighty blow) you will still owe $13,000 on your credit-card account. The wise decision would be to pay that off now and reap the benefit of not having to pay 17.55 percent interest (or whatever your exact rate is) going forward.
Invest in your debt. It’s a sure thing with a solid return.
By Mary Hunt on 03/09/17
*10) I was talking to a friend about going out two nights in a row this weekend, and I said something along the lines of “hair of the dog that bit you.” He had no idea what I was talking about.
I explained that the phrase literally meant that if you were bit by a rabid dog, it used to be thought that it would get better if a hair from the dog was put in the wound. In the sense of drinking alcohol, the pain from a hangover would be better if I drank again the following morning.
What’s funny is the following week my friend used the same phrase in conversation. At least it made me feel better that someone else had heard it before! Here’s some other samples of phrases and what they mean…
There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch: In the 1840s, bars in the United States offered anyone buying a drunk a “free lunch.” It was really just a bunch of salty snacks that made customers so thirsty, they kept buying drinks.
Bring Home the Bacon: The Dunmow Flitch Trials, an English tradition that started in 1104, challenged married couples to go one year without arguing.
The winners took home a “flitch” (a side) of bacon.
Spill the Beans: In ancient Greece, the system for voting new members into a private club involved secretly placing colored beans into opaque jars.
Prospective members never knew who voted for or against them – unless the beans were spilled.
With a Grain of Salt: Salt was once believed to have healing properties, and to eat or drink something with a grain of salt was to practice preventive medicine against potential poisoning or illness.
Happy as a Clam: The original phrase was “happy as a clam at high tide.”
Because clam diggers are able to gather clams only at low tide, the clams are much safer (and happier) when the tide is high and the water is too deep to wade into.
Take the Cake: The phrase originated at cakewalk contests, where individuals would parade and prance in a circle to the audience’s delight. The person with the most imaginative swagger would take home first prize, which was always a cake.
*11) APH News
Your monthly link to the latest information on the products, services, and training opportunities from the American Printing House for the Blind.
Focus on Accessibility
by Dorinda Rife
APH is abuzz these days around the topic of accessibility. Access is at the root of our tagline, “Building Independence since 1858,” but what does it really mean? We asked APH employees that very question in a recent company-wide survey, and this is what people said:
- Independence “It includes the ability to achieve the desired result independently, and with dignity and anonymity if wanted.”
- Design “Designing or adapting products, devices, services, or environments to be fully usable for people who experience differing abilities.”
- Equality “The degree to which and ease with which something (e.g. tool, software, space) can be accessed and utilized by someone who is considered ‘disabled’ to achieve an outcome comparable with someone who is not considered ‘disabled’.”
There is one definition of accessibility that resonates with me as a teacher and administrator: the quality of being easily understood or appreciated. When I think of my time as an itinerant teacher, I remember dozens of conversations with classroom teachers, principals, and other team members. The sole purpose of my communication was to help the team understand and appreciate the unique qualities each student would add to their school. It’s a simple request, but with it came numerous tools: braille, low vision devices, assistive technology, assistance from other professionals, APH products… the list goes on. In nearly every case, the feedback I received was that the student’s contributions outweighed the tools and time invested in their education.
Now that’s accessibility. The newly formed Accessibility Committee at APH will be taking these concepts and developing them into a set of belief statements that will help us model accessibility inside and out. We welcome any feedback on how APH can strengthen accessibility in our products and services.
NEW! Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing, UEB, Large Print Edition
7-59884-00 — $62.00
This manual is designed for use with the correspondence course in English braille transcribing conducted by the Library of Congress, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), and for use by instructors of braille classes. The manual features a 20-lesson course designed to familiarize the student with the Unified English Braille (UEB) system and rules of braille transcribing.
Upon completion of the course, the student may choose to submit a trial manuscript to the National Federation of the Blind for braille transcription certification by the Library of Congress.
Note: This version of the Instruction Manual does not contain the November, 2016 updates.
NEW! VisioBook Carrying Bag
1-03917-00 — $54.00
Note: Last month we announced the new optional VisioBook Carry Bag. The catalog number for this item has changed. The new number is 1-03917-00.
This handy padded carry bag with zipper pockets makes it easier to take your VisioBook and power cord from class to class, from home to office, or wherever you use the versatile VisioBook Electronic Magnifier!
Note: The VisioBook continues to include a protective sleeve. The VisioBook will not fit in the optional Carrying Bag while it is in the included sleeve.
Building on Patterns Second Grade Unit 6 Student Textbook (6-78573-U6)
Building on Patterns Second Grade Unit 6 Student Kit (6-78570-U6)
This notice applies to products shipped from August 2016 to the present.
Some of the copies of the Student Textbook, A Walk on the Wild Side, sold individually and in the BOP Second Grade Unit 6 Student Kit are missing some braille dots on some pages.
Building on Patterns Kindergarten Student Textbooks (6-78553-00)
Building on Patterns Kindergarten Student Kit (6-78550-00)
This notice applies to products shipped from November 2016 to the present.
Some of the copies of the book For a Ride in the sets of BOP Kindergarten Student Textbooks sold individually and in the BOP Kindergarten Student Kit are missing some braille dots on some pages.
We apologize for any inconvenience these errors may cause. Please contact Customer Service (800-223-1839) if you need a replacement for either student textbook.
Field Tests and Surveys
Tactile Graphics for Health Education
To all teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs) who teach health education and related topics:
Please suggest ideas for health education tactile graphics to accompany a teacher’s guidebook that covers the following topics:
- Diet and Nutrition
Nutrients, measuring portion sizes, food labels, body image
- Personal Health
Personal hygiene & grooming; medical maintenance; physical activity & health; mental, emotional & social health
- Sex Education
Anatomy & physiology; sexuality and birth control; sexually transmitted diseases
- Diseases and Disease Prevention
Communicable diseases; noncommunicable diseases; seeking medical help, vaccines
- Injury Prevention and Safety
Water, gun, and fire safety; CPR & first aid; social media; travel safely
E-mail all suggestions to Monica Vaught-Compton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All-In-One Board Product Feedback and Ideas
APH invites your feedback regarding your current use of the ALL-IN-ONE Board (large size and/or student model) with students with visual impairments and blindness. Please visit the link below and take a moment to complete this short survey and share your comments and recommendations regarding accessories needed for the ALL-IN-ONE Board(s).
*12) Living by Faith
By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
The author of the book of Hebrews tells us that, though Abraham did not take possession of the land God had promised him in his lifetime, he understood what God’s promise really meant: “By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country. . . . For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and
builder is God” (Hebrews 11:9-10).
Abraham’s heart was set on the City of God, a city that is built, designed, and founded by God Himself. By God’s grace, Abraham knew he could never be satisfied with just an earthly city, even the earthly city of Jerusalem given to his descendants. Instead, he trusted God and looked forward to the city that is to come—the New Jerusalem.
There are three things about the earthly city of Jerusalem that teach us about the real City of God that will one day come down from heaven: First, Jerusalem was the city where God dwelled with His people. When David made Jerusalem the capital of his kingdom, he brought the ark of the covenant to the City of David. David’s overriding desire was to be
in God’s presence at all times, and the ark was where God’s presence resided (see 2 Samuel 6). Thus, Jerusalem became the city where God dwelled with His people, just as it will be in the New Jerusalem. Only, God will dwell with His people in fullness.
Second, the earthly Jerusalem was a temporary city with a life full of conditional promises. More than a thousand years after David founded the city, Jerusalem rejected God by crucifying His Messiah, ceasing to be the earthly example of God’s life and blessing. In contrast, the New Jerusalem is a permanent city with the unconditional promise of eternal
life in God’s presence and overflowing blessings that never leave.
Third, God’s people may or may not show up for worship in the earthly Jerusalem, but in the New Jerusalem, believers will worship Him day and night. In the earthly Jerusalem, the hearts of God’s people sought after worldly pleasures, but in the New Jerusalem, His true followers will be delighted in Him always.
One day, all of us who know Jesus will be gathered together to see the City of God with our own eyes. Until then, may we each be like Abraham and live by faith, not sight.
Prayer: Lord, may I have faith like Abraham to trust in You and Your promises and live my life in light of Your coming Kingdom. Thank You for calling me out of darkness and into Your presence. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
*13) NO ONE REALLY NOTICED
“Most of us stand out in our own minds… Each of us is the center of our own universe.”
Those words are from the opening paragraph of a landmark 2000 study that was published under the daunting title The Spotlight Effect in Social Judgment: An Egocentric Bias in Estimates of the Salience of One’s Own Actions and Appearance.
Few people remember the title.
But lots of people remember what its authors, three psychology researchers, asked 109 Cornell University students to do for the good of science.
They had to enter a lecture hall and walk amongst their peers wearing a T-shirt with an enormous picture of Barry Manilow.
The researchers had previously discerned that Manilow was not, as they put it, “a singer popular among college students.” That would be a big 10-4. A number of the students, in fact, almost couldn’t bring themselves to do it.
What would other people think of them?
After departing the room the students in the experiment were asked to estimate what percent of those present had noticed the face on their T shirt.
The typical estimate was 80%. After all, displaying the face of Barry Manilow is like having a monster zit, or a bad hair day, and everyone is staring at you. Right?
It turned out that comparatively few people seemed to notice or care.
The experiment was a confirmation of what psychologists have come to call “the imaginary audience.”
A great many of us (especially teenagers) go through a typical day believing that people are fixated on our appearance and our behavior. That means I become preoccupied with a never-ending series of self-focused questions: Do I look presentable? Are my clothes trendy? Does anyone notice that I’ve gained a few pounds? Is there a piece of lettuce stuck in my teeth? Does this belt go with my shoes?
As the old saying goes, we end up buying things we don’t need with money we don’t have in order to impress people we don’t even like.
The concept of the imaginary audience informs us that, in reality, there is no one to impress – because few people, if any, are paying as much attention to us as we might hope or dread.
What’s a good measuring stick of spiritual maturity?
We’re growing spiritually as we care less and less about whether other people think we are beautiful or successful; as we begin to grasp that our imaginary audience never really existed; as we recognize that our one-and-only life isn’t a drama being played out before a crowd that is always writing critical reviews; and as we feel humbly glad that is true.
And then there’s the flip side.
Spiritual maturity also means recognizing there does happen to be an audience. An Audience of One.
And that Audience, who turns out to be the real center of the universe, loves and forgives us even on the days we mistakenly assume He bestowed that position on us.
— Authored by Glenn McDonald