Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pray4America (part 13) - Apollo 13 Reflections and Prayer

Wikipedia/Apollo 13

This is my 13th post for this thread.  So  the number 13 will be the theme of this post.

Apollo 13 ...   April 13 ....

After the successes of Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 that had landed men on the moon, three would be a charm for Apollo 13, even if its number can be considered unlucky.

But on April 13, 1970 (according to the reckoning of standard time zones in the US), this unlucky malfunction happened, as dramatizes in the following movie clip:

For a listing of significant events of this ill-fated flight, check out:  Apollo 13 Timeline

But like in many times of distress in our nation's history, our leaders have called for prayer, not only in times of peril like Apollo 13, but also for prayers of divine protection, such as the historic Apollo 11 moon landing.

Below is a clip about prayer during the Apollo missions:

Apollo 13 has been called the "successful failure."   The world had watched this drama unfold on live TV from a nearly fatal catastrophe in space to a nail-biting rescue, where nobody died.
[reference:  Apollo 13 - The Successful Failure ]  

(It was also the makings of a great movie of its namesake - Apollo 13 (1995).)

 That said, there is not always deliverance in this life.  As for the space program, we have had the tragedies of Apollo 1,  Challenger, and Columbia, which remind us of our mortality.  (And this is a topic for another post.)

Yet, in times of trouble, many Americans as well as those throughout the world looked to the heavens - to the Creator - for help.


Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

Psalm 107:19-21 (NIV)   


And for our present perils, here is a prayer for deliverance:

Heavenly Father -

During crises and grave danger in the past, we have called on You, Lord God, for help.  And gracious Lord, You have answered us and changed the course of history.  May we never forget Your mercy during these times as well as Your goodness during peace and prosperity.

Forgive us for living like practical atheists, like You don’t exist.  While shutting You out of our daily lives, we sometimes only come to You as a magic wand of deliverance, especially from the peril caused by our disobedience.

May we repent of our unbelief and for treating You like an idol.  May we recognize our need as we do not live by bread alone, but by every word the proceeds from Your mouth.  And though the grass withers and the flower fades, Your Word  abides forever.  

We ask for your deliverance for our heroes, home and abroad, in their distress – as You did during the perils of Apollo 13.  May we daily walk with You and be Your instruments for healing in our land.

In Jesus Name we pray,


May we remember our Creator in the good times as well as the crises as we continue to ...

Pray for America



Photo from: Wikipedia/Apollo 13

Friday, April 4, 2014

BTTT (part 3) - The Samantha Matijevic Chronicles

 Cover art by MBDesignsInc

The Samantha Matijevic Chronicles is a coming of age family saga that explores life in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.  Let's look at a snapshot of each of these eras over the past 50 years.

1960s - Samantha at the Crossroads

The volatile 1960s find thirteen year old Samantha in a small town in rural Montana, groping her way into her future as America is doing likewise.

One of the most impressive events for a thirteen year old girl would be to witness - for the first time - men orbiting the moon, Apollo 8, as seen below in this clip:

1970s - The Colter Church Conspiracy

Would-be messiah Bill Renfrew finds naïve college student Samantha Matijevic an easy mark in the uncertain 1970s.

For any college age student in these troubled times, the Jonestown massacre stands out as a warning to the naive and gullible, who put their trust in a false messiah, as seen in this clip:

1980s - STC - The Satellite Test Center

The old boy network finds itself turned upside down in chaos and comedy when the 1980s usher young professional women like Samantha Matijevic into the male-dominated Satellite Test Center.

For those working in aerospace during the Reagan years, the Challenger disaster particularly drove home the dangers and sacrifices of those who braved into space exploration, as seen in this clip:

And it's time for a BTTT - back to the top - look at these books which capture a snapshot in time.

For more info, please check out:  S. K. Smith - The Samantha Matijevic Chronicles


Other posts in this series:

BTTT (part 1) - The Colter Church Conspiracy  (2012)

BTTT (part 2) - Winged Coronet (2012)


Earlier posts on this saga:

Samantha at the Crossroads, Book 1 in The Samantha Matijevic Chronicles (2009)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

LOL (part 2) - International Talk Like William Shatner Day's Captain Kirk?
 LOL - Laughing Out Loud - is a look at the lighter side of life.  And in a few days, we can find an excuse to do just that.

Maurice LaMarche has declared March 22nd  as -

 *International Talk like William Shatner Day *

[reference:  William Shatner: Talk like him on his 80th birthday - CBS News (2011) ]

And on that day, William Shatner, perhaps best know as Captain Kirk on Star Trek, will celebrate his 82nd birthday.

In the video clip below, Mr. LaMarche explains the inspiration behind this special day -

Star Trek has been an inspiration for 50 years.  Therefore, the actor who played this intrepid star ship captain - Captain Kirk - deserves to have his day!

And on this day, I would venture Mr. Spock would wish us all to -

  Live Long and Prosper!


Previous Post in this series:

LOL (part 1) - Olympic dreaming on such a winter's day (2014)

For a link to Facebook:  

International William Shatner Day


Photo from:'s Captain Kirk?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Biblia Files (part 4) - Holy Hyperlinks

Wikipedia/Christ driving the Traders from the Temple

For bloggers, hyperlinks are our friends.  They can link the reader to another page with more information about a key phrase or give a reference for a point made.

Before the internet and electronic documents, books had a way of doing that.  They were called footnotes and end-notes.  Not only that, this technique was and is still used in the spoken word. In the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln had made reference to the proposition that all men are created equal - a spoken "hyperlink" to the Declaration of Independence.

Jesus used this technique, too.

And as we are in the season of Lent, here is a great example of one of these Holy Hyperlinks that Jesus used in throwing out the money changers in the Temple.

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. 
He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.
13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] 
but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’[b]

Matthew 21:12-13 (NIV)

Below is the clip, dramatizing the scene:

Let's take a look at these phrases Jesus cited:

‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] ...

The reference [a] is a link to Isaiah 56:1-8.  These verses speak of including the foreigners - the Gentiles - in worship of the one God in the Holy Temple.

 ‘a den of robbers.’[b]

The reference [b]  is a link to Jeremiah 7:1-29.  These verses speak of a call for reform in a religion that was "breaking bad" as noted among many things for its oppression of foreigners.

So in two short phrases, Jesus said much to those who understood the writings of the prophets in the Old Testament.

* Smart Jesus. *

And seeing this example gives me pause to see Scripture in a new way - it's Holy Hyperlinks - which fill in so much more to tell the rest of the story.


Recent posts in this series:

Biblia Files (part 1) - Thru the Bible (2013)

Biblia Files (part 2) - What is the Bible Basically About? (2013)

Biblia Files (part 3) - Gideon - weakness, warts and all (2013)


Photo from:  Wikipedia/Christ driving the Traders from the Temple

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Science 101 (part 4) - Cosmos Continued ...

Wikipedia/Thomas Digges map
About 35 years ago, Carl Sagan launched the Cosmos (1980) series.  His thirteen episodes brought the wonders of science into our mainstream culture.  And with his books and series, Sagan connected many scientific concepts with the arts and the spiritual.  As noted in my ZAMM (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) series,  I believe Robert Pirsig would be pleased to see this connection of the spiritual, the artistic, and scientific.
[reference:  Cosmos: A Personal Voyage - Watch Free Documentary Online]

Below is a clip of Carl Sagan, remixed, extolling the wonder of discovery and our connection with the universe:

Since the passing of Carl Sagan in 1996, a new star has risen, astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.  And he has carried on the passion of bringing science to the general public, such as contributing to the PBS series - Nova - ScienceNow.
[reference: Neil deGrasse Tyson]
Here is a sound bite of his perspective of the Cosmos:

Since Cosmos first aired in 1980, there has been an explosion of new discoveries.  And Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson takes off where Carl Sagan had left off last century ... last millennium.  On March 9, 2014, National Geographic is planning to start - Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey (2014).

Below is one of the trailers. a lead in by Carl Sagan:

Let's have Dr. Sagan have the last word as the new Cosmos continues:

Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — 
there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, 
a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, 
of falling from a height. 
We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.


Previous posts in this series:

Science 101 (part 1) - Vernal Equinox  (2013)

Science 101 (part 2) - The Sound of Music? (2013)

Science 101 (part 3) - From Galileo to Apollo (2013)


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pray4America (part 12) - George Washington's Knee-Mails

Wikipedia/George Washington praying at Valley Forge
Presidents' Days... 

It used to be called Washington's Birthday, as we used to always celebrate it on George Washington's birthday - February 22nd.  And our first president was born in the year 1732 - over 280 years ago.
[reference:  George Washington Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story -]

But in 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved the federal holiday to the 3rd Monday of January between Washington's and Lincoln's Birthday - February 12th.  Calling it Presidents' Day included our 16th president as well as ever other president.  But let's fess up to the real reason.  Those three day weekends, they can be sweet if you do get them off.
[reference: Presidents’ Day - Holidays -]

Back to George Washington ...

Most images of our first president depict an elder statesman, yet Washington was a young man during the start of the Revolutionary War.
[For a timeline:  Revolutionary War Timeline]

And George Washington was only 43 when the Continental Congress commissioned him as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in 1775.
[reference: George Washington's Commission as Commander in Chief

The highs and lows of 1776 ...

The book - 1776 - by David McCullough chronicles Washington's mistakes - his defeats and blunders in 1776.  And because of that, during the nadir of the revolution,  "The Glorious Cause of America" seemed doomed.  Most conceded the war was over and the Americans had lost.

But Washington would not give up and would not quit.  He knew that liberty was at stake.  And at the end of the year, Washington went on the attack and won a great victory at Trenton on Christmas of 1776.  The psychological effect of this victory was enormous and marked a turning point in the war.
[reference:  Summary of the Book 1776 by David McCullough]

The power of knee-Mail  ...

And the clip below gives a glimpse into the power of prayer of George Washington - his many knee-Mails - which shaped the destiny of America.

These stories hearten me as they gives hope.   Though times may seem dark for our country, the power of prayer can change the course of a downward spiral and pull it up to soar into the heavens.

Therefore confess your sins to each other 
and pray for each other so that you may be healed. 
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
James 5:16 (NIV)

So were the prayers of a righteous man, George Washington.  And we are blessed by his prayers as we are into the third century after the Revolution.  It is fitting that Washington's Birthday be remembered for great gift that he as well as many of the founders gave to us - those yet to be born

This anniversary of the original President's Day, may we follow the lead of our first president, as seen in the example of his knee-Mails here -  George Washington in Prayer at Valley Forge

May our kneel mails continue as we ...

Keep praying for America!



Sunday, February 9, 2014

Apokalupsis (part 1) - The Apocalypse Now?

Wikipedia/Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

* Apokalupsis 

It is one of the transliterations of the Greek word from which we get apocalypse.  And the mention of that word - apocalypse - conjures images of the end times ... the end of the world ... or some cataclysmic event.  It's the stuff of prophesy, dystopian novels and movies, such as:

*  The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
     - [reference:  Who are the four horsemen of the apocalypse?]
*  The Left Behind series
     - [reference: Left Behind]
*  The movie, Apocalypse Now
      - [reference: Apocalypse Now (1979) - IMDb]

But apokalupsis, the apocalypse, means an unveiling, uncovering, revealing, revelation.  
[reference:  Strong's Greek: 602. ἀποκάλυψις (apokalupsis) -- an uncovering]

Let's focus on this -

* Revelation

The Apostle, St. John, wrote about the end times in the last book of the New Testament - Revelation - the Apocalypse.  And this book gets its title for the first sentence:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
Revelation 1:1 (KJV) 

So the Book of Revelation is not just a foretelling of the coming plagues of Biblical proportion.  It is the revelation of Jesus Christ - the Apokalupsis.  But what about these thing which must shortly come to pass -

* The End Times?

St. John gives an indication of the end times, which he calls the "last time" as well as the coming of the Antichrist, associated with the Apocalypse, when he writes:

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
I John 2:18 (KJV)

The end times - "the last time" - began in the 1st century.  Indeed, it's been 20 centuries since John penned those words and the end of world has not come yet.  But Jesus never set a date of His second coming, which would usher the end of the age, as He said:

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 25:13 (KJV)

Indeed, there are many who have set dates, and they have been proven - every time - to be wrong.

Meanwhile, we have the Apokalupsis of Jesus Christ as is revealed in the Bible, a book which has been suppressed throughout the ages, like during the Dark Ages.  One such story is told in my historical fictional series,

The Forbidden Book and the Upside Down Kingdom

The first book of the series, Anastasis - The Forbidden Book Concealed is about the suppression of the Bible for supposedly good and not so good reasons.  [reference:  S. K. Smith - Anastasis]

Now, the second book of the series is out and available as an eBook -

Apokalupsis - The Forbidden Book Revealed

This second book can stand alone.  This novel makes sense without reading the first book of the series, though it chronologically follows the first book that gives the details of the back story.

Apokalupsis continues the story of the power of the revelation of the Forbidden Book, the Bible.  And its revelation stirs up division among people, as Jesus said that He would:

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
Luke 12:51 (KJV)

Below is a short description of this second book:

In the year anno Domini 1377, Queen Anastasia has purposed in her heart to spark a revival in her kingdom of Opulentia, beginning with herself.  Under the counsel of Bishop Sinjin, the Queen commissions the Bible to be read to her people in their own language.  Meanwhile, her favorite courtier Lord Adryan Crippen implements Her Majesty’s reforms in her mines, translating the Gospel into deeds.
Yet these reforms meet opposition on many fronts.  Prelates move to crush this movement to hold onto their power over the people.  Merchants, clerics, and other powerful men balk as these reforms hit their purse.  And the peasants resist any change that upsets their perception of the natural order.

Apokalupsis - Greek for Apocalypse – means revelation, especially the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And this revelation turns their kingdom upside down.


The Apokalupsis – the revelation of Jesus Christ – shakes up the old order in the Dark Ages.

One definition of the Dark Ages is the period from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance.  It can also mean an oppressive or unenlightened period or stage.  But the good news is that in any dark age, Kings and Gentiles come to the Light of the World as the people walking in darkness see the His great Light.  And the darker it is, the more He shines as -

It's the Darkest Ages that reveal the brightest Light.

On that note, this theme of Apokalupsis is sung (in notes) in these movements, 10. Bass Recitative and 11. Bass Air,  from Handel's Messiah:

The lyrics come from these words:

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
Isaiah 60:2-3 (KJV)

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
Isaiah 9:2 (KJV)


Where the eBook may be purchased:

Info at:  S. K. Smith - Apokalupsis Apokalupsis: The Forbidden Book Revealed - eBook

Barnes & Noble:  Apokalupsis - Nook Book


Related series on Anastasis -

 Anastasis (part 1) - The Forbidden Book Concealed (2011)

Anastasis (part 2) - standing up (2011)

Anastasis (part 3) - Famine (2012)

Anastasis (part 4) - Back to which Bethel? (2012)

Anastasis (part 5) - Bible in the Oxyrhynchus garbage dump (2012)


Photo from:  Wikipedia/Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse