2008 ozone hole larger than 2007’s hole

Maybe, I can say, “Not surprising…” Given all that we’ve been doing to our Earth. Nothing new. Nothing new. But I still believe we can do something ’bout it…

PARIS (UPI) — The European Space Agency says scientists have determined the 2008 ozone hole is larger than last year’s ozone hole but smaller than the 2006 hole.

“This year the area of the thinned ozone layer over the South Pole reached about 27 million square kilometers, compared to 25 million square kilometers in 2007 and a record ozone hole extension of 29 million square kilometers in 2006, which is about the size of the North American continent,” the ESA said.

Scientists said the depletion of ozone is caused by extremely cold temperatures at high altitude and the presence of ozone-destructing gases such as chlorine and bromine, originating from man-made products like chlorofluorocarbons, which were phased out under the 1987 Montreal Protocol but linger in the atmosphere.

Julian Meyer-Arnek of the German Aerospace Center which monitors the hole annually, said since the polar vortex remained undisturbed for a long period, the 2008 ozone hole has become one of the largest ever observed.

The annual analysis is based on data provided by instruments aboard the ESA’s Envisat, ERS2 and MetOp satellites.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

from Arcamax Science and Technology e-zine, 10-09-2008

Resting on One’s Laurels

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.”1

In an article in Leadership magazine, J. David Bianchin used the analogy of a basketball game. In “the 1987 NCAA Regional Finals, Louisiana State University was leading Indiana by eight points with only a few minutes left in the game. As is often the case with a team in the lead, LSU began playing a different ball game. The television announcer pointed out that the LSU players were beginning to watch the clock rather than wholeheartedly play the game. As a result of this shift in focus, Indiana closed the gap, won the game by one point, and eventually went on to become NCAA champions.”

At the human level, as we have been so graphically reminded by the events of 9-11 and more recent atrocities around the world, we dare not sit on our laurels or base our security on past victories. “Eternal vigilance is [still] the price of freedom.” And how much greater is the need for eternal vigilance in the work of the Kingdom of God.

As God’s Word says, “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith.”2 “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.”3

May we, Like the Apostle Paul, say, “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”4

This, by the grace of God, we can do because, as David the Psalmist wrote, “The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”5

Suggested prayer, “Gracious God, thank you for your great salvation in the gift of your Son, Jesus, and for all the unfathomable blessings you have in store for your children, both in the here-and-now and in the hereafter. However, help me not to rest on my laurels, but to keep my eye on the goal and serve you faithfully all the days of my life. So help me God. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

from DailyEncounter, 03-14-2008

According to Your Faith

“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”1

Earl Nightingale tells about a strength test in which people were asked to squeeze a dynamometer (a machine that tests the power of your grip) as hard as they could. After that first squeeze had been measured, they were put under hypnosis and told they were very strong. When asked to grip the machine again, their scores averaged forty percent better.

Their physical strength did not increase under hypnosis. But their ability to use that strength did. It wasn’t the hypnosis that did it, but their belief about themselves.

When we are led to believe we are stronger, we react accordingly. There is a sense in which we all go through life “self-hypnotized” in that a great deal of what we do is determined by what others have told us—and what we have told ourselves—and believed!

What we need to do is listen to what God’s Word, the Bible, says about us, believe it, and act accordingly. As the Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” [that is, things that are in harmony with God’s will].2

If there is one thing I have learned over the years it’s that God never calls any of us to do anything that he hasn’t equipped us to do. And he calls all of us to be faithful servants in his work on earth, and to be faithful stewards of all that he has given to us: our time, talents, money, and our resources.

Suggested prayer, “Dear God, I come to you making myself available. Please use me to be a part of your plans and the work you are doing in the world today. Like the doubting father in today’s Bible text, I do believe; help me to overcome any and all unbelief. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

from DailyEncounter, 03-13-2008

Promises, Promises

“Your kingdom [God] is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.”1

“In the latter days of the Vietnam War, an American Colonel named Earl Woods made a promise. Woods believed that his friend, a South Vietnamese colonel named Vuong Phon, saved his life. In gratitude for that act, Woods promised to name his son after his friend, who was known as ‘Tiger.’ Sports fans will immediately understand that the promise was kept. That son has immortalized his father’s friend for most everyone has heard of Tiger Woods.”2

When I was growing up in secular Australia, in grade school every chapter in our English class readers [text books] had a moral that applied to healthy everyday living, and on the header over the door of every classroom was a motto. I still remember one of these that was from the Bible: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”3 We were also taught that “a man was as good as his word.”

I also learned early in life that a man who didn’t keep his word couldn’t be trusted—such was a serious character flaw. Sadly today for many, giving their word doesn’t mean a thing. Think of so many crooked business leaders who lie by cooking their financial books, politicians who make promises to get votes, promises they have no intention of fulfilling, and so many of the rest of us who place little value on the word we give and the promises we make.

So I ask myself the question, “Am I as good as my word? Am I a man of character who keeps his word and fulfills his promises?”

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, thank you that you always keep your word, and that you always fulfill your promises. Please help me to do the same. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

from DailyEncounter, 03-12-2008