Thursday, September 30, 2010

Short encouraging sermon or devotional by CH Spurgeon for October 1 Morning

Believer Encouragements

Taken from CH Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, October 1, Morning

“Pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.” - Songs of Solomons 7:13

The spouse desires to give to Jesus all that she produces. Our heart has “all manner of pleasant fruits,” both “old and new,” and they are laid up for our Beloved. At this rich autumnal season of fruit, let us survey our stores. We have new fruits. We desire to feel new life, new joy, new gratitude; we wish to make new resolves and carry them out by new labours; our heart blossoms with new prayers, and our soul is pledging herself to new efforts. But we have some old fruits too. There is our first love: a choice fruit that! and Jesus delights in it. There is our first faith: that simple faith by which, having nothing, we became possessors of all things. There is our joy when first we knew the Lord: let us revive it. We have our old remembrances of the promises. How faithful has God been! In sickness, how softly did he make our bed! In deep waters, how placidly did he buoy us up! In the flaming furnace, how graciously did he deliver us. Old fruits, indeed! We have many of them, for his mercies have been more than the hairs of our head. Old sins we must regret, but then we have had repentances which he has given us, by which we have wept our way to the cross, and learned the merit of his blood. We have fruits, this morning, both new and old; but here is the point-they are all laid up for Jesus. Truly, those are the best and most acceptable services in which Jesus is the solitary aim of the soul, and his glory, without any admixture whatever, the end of all our efforts. Let our many fruits be laid up only for our Beloved; let us display them when he is with us, and not hold them up before the gaze of men. Jesus, we will turn the key in our garden door, and none shall enter to rob thee of one good fruit from the soil which thou hast watered with thy bloody sweat. Our all shall be thine, thine only, O Jesus, our Beloved!

Taken from Charles H Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, October 1, Morning

On this site you can also find: Encouragements for Christian / Christian encouragements / Encouragements Quotes / Poem encouraging believers / Christian encouragement quotes / simple Christian sermons on encouragement / christian encouragements / biblical sermon on encouragement / Christian bookmark templates / 2010 Christian calendar template / Free printable Bible quotes / Free encouraging sermons / Biblical verse of encouragement for the believers and sermons / Free Christian encouraging images / Free christian encouraging pictures /  Christian encouragements phrases

Short sermon or devotional by CH Spurgeon from God's Words

Believer Encouragements

Taken from CH Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 30 September, Evening

“A living dog is better than a dead lion.” - Ecclesiastes 9:4

Life is a precious thing, and in its humblest form it is superior to death. This truth is eminently certain in spiritual things. It is better to be the least in the kingdom of heaven than the greatest out of it. The lowest degree of grace is superior to the noblest development of unregenerate nature. Where the Holy Ghost implants divine life in the soul, there is a precious deposit which none of the refinements of education can equal. The thief on the cross excels Caesar on his throne; Lazarus among the dogs is better than Cicero among the senators; and the most unlettered Christian is in the sight of God superior to Plato. Life is the badge of nobility in the realm of spiritual things, and men without it are only coarser or finer specimens of the same lifeless material, needing to be quickened, for they are dead in trespasses and sins.

A living, loving, gospel sermon, however unlearned in matter and uncouth in style, is better than the finest discourse devoid of unction and power. A living dog keeps better watch than a dead lion, and is of more service to his master; and so the poorest spiritual preacher is infinitely to be preferred to the exquisite orator who has no wisdom but that of words, no energy but that of sound. The like holds good of our prayers and other religious exercises; if we are quickened in them by the Holy Spirit, they are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, though we may think them to be worthless things; while our grand performances in which our hearts were absent, like dead lions, are mere carrion in the sight of the living God. O for living groans, living sighs, living despondencies, rather than lifeless songs and dead calms. Better anything than death. The snarlings of the dog of hell will at least keep us awake, but dead faith and dead profession, what greater curses can a man have? Quicken us, quicken us, O Lord!

Taken from Charles H Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 30 September, Evening

On this site you can also find: Encouragements for Christian / Christian encouragements / Encouragements Quotes / Poem encouraging believers / Christian encouragement quotes / simple Christian sermons on encouragement / christian encouragements / biblical sermon on encouragement / Christian bookmark templates / 2010 Christian calendar template / Free printable Bible quotes / Free encouraging sermons / Biblical verse of encouragement for the believers and sermons / Free Christian encouraging images / Free christian encouraging pictures /  Christian encouragements phrases

Russia presents vision for Arctic wealth

Three years after Russian divers thrust a rust-proof flag into the seabed below the North Pole, the country is again staking its claim on the Arctic region.

An international forum held in Moscow Wednesday aimed to "present the world community with a picture of the region's future as it is seen by the Russian experts," according to Sergei Shoigu, the President of the Russian Geographical Society (RGS) who is also the country's Emergencies Minister.

The Arctic contains a vast wealth of untapped oil and natural gas,
according to a report released in July 2010 by the U.S. Geological Survey.

It estimated that the amount of "undiscovered, technically recoverable" oil north of the Arctic Circle was more than double the amount that had been previously found in the Arctic. It added that the Arctic contained more than three times as much undiscovered gas as oil, most of which was in the Russian Arctic.

Russia has long sought to claim rights to the waters of the Arctic Ocean off Russia, including its much-publicized expedition to plant the Russian flag on the Arctic sea floor in August 2007.

On Wednesday, it announced plans to start work soon on a new atlas of the Arctic, a task Sergei Shoigu described as requiring "extensive, serious work."

He said it would include descriptions on potentially dangerous areas in the Arctic which may be of interest to companies working in the region.

Along with having the largest land mass in the Arctic, Russians account for half of the Arctic's population and the most populous towns above
the Arctic Circle lie in Russia, according to the Russian Geographical Society.

"Russia is distinct from other Arctic nations in that a large share of its population actually lives in the Arctic region," Russian Presidential
Advisor for Climate Alexander Bedritsky (left) told the Arctic Forum.

"Russia's Arctic sector, inhabited by 1.5 percent of the country's population, accounts for 11 percent of its GDP and 22 percent of its exports," Bedritsky said.

While Russia counts for the bulk of Arctic land, seven other states have land in Arctic territory: Canada, Denmark (Greenland), the United States (Alaska), Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and
Finland.

No single country owns the geographic North Pole or the Arctic Ocean, which covers around one third of the total area. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the eight states have jurisdiction over waters extending 12 nautical miles from their shore, and their exclusive economic zones stretch up to 200 nautical miles into the Arctic Ocean.

Russia is among a number of countries seeking to extend their jurisdiction by gathering scientific data to back their case for
consideration by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

Russia and Canada clashed as recently as last week over which country controls the Lomonosov Ridge (left), a mountain chain running underneath the Arctic.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russian explorers had confirmed that the ridge was a continuation of Russia's continental shelf, despite Canada's claims otherwise.


"The decision should be based on scientific facts. The Commission will solve who is right," Lavrov (right) said, according to Russian news agency Itar-Tass News.

In August, Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon (left) said establishing sovereignty in the Arctic
was the country's "top foreign-policy priority."

"That is why we are making new and targeted investments, be they patrol ships, a new polar-class icebreaker, reinforcements to our Canadian Rangers, better monitoring of our airspace and seas and the list goes on," he said.

The melting of ice in the Arctic through climate change has opened up a region that was once inaccessible.

In mid-September, the U.S. National Ice and Snow Data Center at the
University of Colorado reported that this summer the Arctic sea ice reached the third lowest level ever recorded.

"We are still looking at summers with an ice-free Arctic Ocean in perhaps 20 to 30 years," said Mark Serreze, University of Colorado geography professor and director of the NISDC.

Environmental group Greenpeace says Russia's decision to assemble
international experts at a Moscow forum was a further attempt to stake its claim on the region's resources.

"The more people talk about it the better it is but I think the reality is that the gunfight has already started," said Charlie Kronick, the group's senior climate advisor.

He said rather than "chasing the last drop of oil" governments would do better to spend their time and money making greater efforts to curb energy demand.

"What we would say is 'don't even think about digging this stuff up -- it is crazy at the moment and the first thing we need to do is to reduce demand,'" he said.

He added: "However big the notional oil and gas reserves are up in the Arctic, we have already got more oil and gas than we can afford to burn if we don't want to cook the climate."

Source:
CNN, "Russia presents vision for Arctic wealth", accessed September 24, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Short encouraging sermon or devotional by CH Spurgeon for the evening 30 September

Believer Encouragements

Taken from CH Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 30 September, Morning

“Sing forth the honour of his name, make his praise glorious.” - Psalm 66:2

It is not left to our own option whether we shall praise God or not. Praise is God’s most righteous due, and every Christian, as the recipient of his grace, is bound to praise God from day to day. It is true we have no authoritative rubric for daily praise; we have no commandment prescribing certain hours of song and thanksgiving: but the law written upon the heart teaches us that it is right to praise God; and the unwritten mandate comes to us with as much force as if it had been recorded on the tables of stone, or handed to us from the top of thundering Sinai. Yes, it is the Christian’s duty to praise God. It is not only a pleasurable exercise, but it is the absolute obligation of his life. Think not ye who are always mourning, that ye are guiltless in this respect, or imagine that ye can discharge your duty to your God without songs of praise. You are bound by the bonds of his love to bless his name so long as you live, and his praise should continually be in your mouth, for you are blessed, in order that you may bless him; “this people have I formed for myself, they shall show forth my praise”; and if you do not praise God, you are not bringing forth the fruit which he, as the Divine Husbandman, has a right to expect at your hands. Let not your harp then hang upon the willows, but take it down, and strive, with a grateful heart, to bring forth its loudest music. Arise and chant his praise. With every morning’s dawn, lift up your notes of thanksgiving, and let every setting sun be followed with your song. Girdle the earth with your praises; surround it with an atmosphere of melody, and God himself will hearken from heaven and accept your music.

“E’en so I love thee, and will love,
And in thy praise will sing,
Because thou art my loving God,
And my redeeming King.”


Taken from Charles H Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 30 September, Morning

On this site you can also find: Encouragements for Christian / Christian encouragements / Encouragements Quotes / Poem encouraging believers / Christian encouragement quotes / simple Christian sermons on encouragement / christian encouragements / biblical sermon on encouragement / Christian bookmark templates / 2010 Christian calendar template / Free printable Bible quotes / Free encouraging sermons / Biblical verse of encouragement for the believers and sermons / Free Christian encouraging images / Free christian encouraging pictures /  Christian encouragements phrases

Devon vineyards toast a vintage harvest in 2010

Devon's vineyards are toasting a vintage year, thanks to perfect weather conditions during 2010. (Left: click on image for larger picture)

The warm spring and early summer, combined with sunshine in September, means the harvest at the county's wine producers is set to be a bumper one.

There are now 24 vineyards in Devon, producing a range of whites, ros├ęs and reds wines, many to international acclaim. Two of Devon's award-winning vineyards, Sharpham near Totnes and Pebblebed (right) at Topsham in east Devon, are reporting abundant yields.

Both begin harvesting over the last weekend in September.

Sharpham Vineyard, which has 10 acres of vines on south-facing slopes overlooking the River Dart, expects to harvest 100 tons of grapes - enough for 100,000 bottles of wine.

Pebblebed Vineyard, just outside Exeter, expects to harvest enough fruit for 25,000 bottles.

Both Pebblebed and Sharpham grow a range of grapes, including
Madeleine Angevine (right) and Pinot Noir, for a variety of wines.

And both have seen a change in the climate in recent years.

Geoff Bowen set up Pebblebed Vineyard 10 years ago and believes climate change is having an effect: "I believe global warming is happening," he said.

"But the very nature of the weather in England will always be variable. This year, it has been favorable - it's gone our way."

Duncan Schwab from Sharpham agrees that the climate is more favorable to wine producing in Devon than it was when the first grapes were planted at the vineyard in 1981: "There are certainly grape varieties we can grow now that we couldn't grow 20 years ago," he said. "We can now grow Pinot Noir because it ripens.

"There are definitely signs of a warming climate, which is helping us.

"You never know, we could grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, although that would be some years off because they need a warmer
climate."

Duncan says the bumper harvest this year is down to the pattern of the
weather: "It's certainly going to be a sizeable crop. We tend not to get two good harvests in a row but we've got back-to-back good harvests. The seasons in the south west aren't necessarily hotter, but they are longer. We had a nice spring, which was good for the flowering and we've just had a nice spell now, just in time for the harvest."

It is the same story in east Devon, according to Geoff Bowen: "We had a cold winter and that's always good for fruit producers because it kills off bugs. Then we had a good May and June - June is very important, just before flowering at the start of July. The weather was iffy in July and August but that doesn't affect us, and now we've had a nice spell in September which is also very important. The good weather has come at all the right times."

The three-week harvest at Sharpham begins on 24 September, when an additional 18 local people are taken on to help out. At Pebblebed, harvesting gets under way on 26 September, and families are invited to come along and take part.

The vineyards supply outlets in the south west - through retailers,
restaurants, bars and their own shops: "We are still very much based in a 20-mile radius," said Duncan. "There's no need for us to look any further."

The 2010 vintage from the vineyards will be available in 2011.

Source:
BBC, "Devon vineyards toast a vintage harvest in 2010", accessed September 24, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Encouragements for the Christians from God's Words and short devotional or sermon or article

Believer Encouragements

Taken from CH Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 29 September, Evening

“I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go.” - Songs of Solomon 3:4

Does Christ receive us when we come to him, notwithstanding all our past sinfulness? Does he never chide us for having tried all other refuges first? And is there none on earth like him? Is he the best of all the good, the fairest of all the fair? Oh, then let us praise him! Daughters of Jerusalem, extol him with timbrel and harp! Down with your idols, up with the Lord Jesus. Now let the standards of pomp and pride be trampled under foot, but let the cross of Jesus, which the world frowns and scoffs at, be lifted on high. O for a throne of ivory for our King Solomon! Let him be set on high for ever, and let my soul sit at his footstool, and kiss his feet, and wash them with my tears. Oh, how precious is Christ! How can it be that I have thought so little of him? How is it I can go abroad for joy or comfort when he is so full, so rich, so satisfying. Fellow believer, make a covenant with thine heart that thou wilt never depart from him, and ask thy Lord to ratify it. Bid him set thee as a signet upon his finger, and as a bracelet upon his arm. Ask him to bind thee about him, as the bride decketh herself with ornaments, and as the bridegroom putteth on his jewels. I would live in Christ’s heart; in the clefts of that rock my soul would eternally abide. The sparrow hath made a house, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God; and so too would I make my nest, my home, in thee, and never from thee may the soul of thy turtle dove go forth again, but may I nestle close to thee, O Jesus, my true and only rest.
“When my precious Lord I find,
All my ardent passions glow;
Him with cords of love I bind,
Hold and will not let him go.”


Taken from Charles H Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 29 September, Evening

On this site you can also find: Encouragements for Christian / Christian encouragements / Encouragements Quotes / Poem encouraging believers / Christian encouragement quotes / simple Christian sermons on encouragement / christian encouragements / biblical sermon on encouragement / Christian bookmark templates / 2010 Christian calendar template / Free printable Bible quotes / Free encouraging sermons / Biblical verse of encouragement for the believers and sermons / Free Christian encouraging images / Free christian encouraging pictures /  Christian encouragements phrases

Fake Neurocritic


Lady Gaga and Her Feminist Meat Dress


Some of you might have noticed a new entry in the blogroll to the right. Or perhaps you've encountered some bizarre posts at another site that uses The Neurocritic's name. What's going on here?

I thought an interview with the two blog authors1 would be informative regarding the creative process behind the fledgling enterprise and the decision to go public with the output.

TN: What is the name of your new blog?

FN: It's currently called The Neurocritic on Lady Gaga, Marc Hauser, and Antidepressants. I like to change the name to fit the current topic.2 It started out as The Neurocritic on Lady Gaga with occasional videos, photos, and commentary. The blog was kept low key because the topic isn't especially neurocentric. Except for the very first post:

Lady GaGa - The Brain

FN: Oh, and...

Neuro Gaga

TN: I see. Why Lady Gaga?

FN: She's a pop culture icon who infuses social trends, products, and even national security with her glamour and weirdness, however contrived.

TN: National security? What are you talking about?

FN: Her name came up during the Wikileaks release of the Afghanistan war logs. The alleged leaker spoke about using her music as a decoy to download secret internal records of U.S. military actions in Afghanistan.

Lady Gaga's Role in the Afghanistan War Logs

Bradass87 [22-year-old intelligence analyst Bradley Manning] suggested that "someone I know intimately" had been downloading and compressing and encrypting all this data and uploading it to someone he identified as Julian Assange. At times, he claimed he himself had leaked the material, suggesting that he had taken in blank CDs, labelled as Lady Gaga's music, slotted them into his high-security laptop and lip-synched to nonexistent music to cover his downloading: "i want people to see the truth," he said.

from Afghanistan war logs: Story behind biggest leak in intelligence history
FN: I actually blogged about this story before Gothamist, MTV, and The Boston Phoenix. However, I did miss the pre-Wikileaks story about the Gaga smuggling ruse in the July 8, 2010 New York Times.

TN:
Wow! Do you know if she's commented publicly on this revelation?

FN: I haven't found anything. But here are the direct quotes from Bradley Manning:

"I would come in with music on a CD-RW labeled with something like 'Lady Gaga,' erase the music then write a compressed split file,” he wrote. “No one suspected a thing and, odds are, they never will."

"[I] listened and lip-synced to Lady Gaga’s 'Telephone' while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history," he added later. "Weak servers, weak logging, weak physical security, weak counter-intelligence, inattentive signal analysis… a perfect storm."

TN: Let's move on to another topic: Marc Hauser. Why did you start to blog about him?

FN: For me (and many others), it was the irony of an expert on morality -- and the author of a book called Moral Minds -- being found guilty of eight instances of research misconduct. And the timing of the breaking news in the Boston Globe (August 10, 2010) relative to his participation in the Edge conference on THE NEW SCIENCE OF MORALITY (July 20-22, 2010) was almost comical. David Dobbs of Neuron Culture has been actively covering the Marc Hauser debacle, and his post Edge corrects — no, make that ERASES — the record on Hauser alerted me to just that fact:
...Today I got a tweet that he’d “withdrawn” his contribution at the Edge conference. I went to the conference-event site to see how Edge had announced this withdrawal … and found he had all but disappeared. Hauser’s talk and photo had been removed. I scanned the page for his talk; gone. Finally I did a text search adn found a footnote to the introduction, in brackets, that said

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Marc Hauser, one of the nine participants at the conference, has withdrawn his contribution.]

TN: At this point, I thought it was important to preserve the video of his talk, so I was able to find cryptic links that led to lectures entitled, "The New Science of Morality - Marc D. Hauser" and "The New Science of Morality - Marc D. Hauser Discussion". I posted these links on the original blog, at 'The New Science of Morality' - Edge videos with Marc Hauser.

FN: What is Edge, and why did you want to make them look bad?

TN: Sigh. [I didn't necessarily want to make them look bad.] Edge is an exclusive intellectual club run by literary agent John Brockman, who gives off the impression of being (1) pompous; and (2) sexist. This is based on (1) his online presence -- photos, hobnobbing with the ├╝berwealthy, name dropping, quotes, and profiles; and (2) the number of women he includes in his conferences (e.g., only one of "THE MORAL NINE" in 2010), books (e.g., only 1 out of 23 "original thinkers" on The Third Culture in 1991), and as members of his club.
The mandate of Edge Foundation is to promote inquiry into and discussion of intellectual, philosophical, artistic, and literary issues, as well as to work for the intellectual and social achievement of society.
FN: Wow, you sound bitter.

TN: No, not really. His inclusion of women has improved from 4.3% in 1991 to 11.1% in 2010.
Now that's progress!

FN: Perhaps Patricia Churchland and Martha Farah declined invitations to attend the recent morality conference because they had better things to do.

TN: Now you're sounding pretty snarky yourself...

TN: OK. OK, back to Marc Hauser. Ten days after I posted links to the videos, a commenter noticed they had been removed from their hiding place at blip.tv.

FN: That's
when I sprang into action. Prior to their removal, I was able to download both videos and post the smaller of the two, thanks to the 50 MB limit of Posterous:

The New Science of Morality - Marc D. Hauser Discussion

Edge video with Marc Hauser

Missed seeing a key discussion with one of the "THE MORAL NINE" (now "THE MORAL EIGHT") before the video was purged from Edge's website? You can still watch it!

TN: Wow, that's fantastic!

TN: We certainly have covered a lot of ground in this interview. That's all we have time for today. Thank you very much, Fake Neurocritic.

FN: Hey! We haven't covered antidepressants yet! And Marc Hauser and antidepressants together in one post!!

FN: !!! .......... OK then. Thanks for the opportunity. See you soon.


Footnotes

1 The Neurocritic (TN) and Fake Neurocritic (FN) are ACTUALLY THE SAME PERSON!

2 However, The Neurocritic on Lady Gaga portion of the name will remain constant. We've also seen the name The Neurocritic on Lady Gaga and Marc Hauser and The Neurocritic on Lady Gaga and Antidepressants.

Morality Lesson with Marc Hauser + Errol Morris

"How does the human mind know that something is wrong and once it does, what does it do about it?" -Marc D. Hauser

"Morality is the combination of two things: 'I'm sorry, and I'm sorry I got caught'." -Errol Morris

Short encouraging sermon or devotional by CH Spurgeon

Believer Encouragements

Taken from CH Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 29 September, Morning

“Behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague.”
- Leviticus 13:13

Strange enough this regulation appears, yet there was wisdom in it, for the throwing out of the disease proved that the constitution was sound. This morning it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of the leper as applicable to ourselves. When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then is he clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy, but when sin is seen and felt it has received its death blow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are “nothing else but sin,” for no confession short of this will be the whole truth, and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment-it will spring spontaneously from our lips. What comfort does the text afford to those under a deep sense of sin! Sin mourned and confessed, however black and foul, shall never shut a man out from the Lord Jesus. Whosoever cometh unto him, he will in no wise cast out. Though dishonest as the thief, though unchaste as the woman who was a sinner, though fierce as Saul of Tarsus, though cruel as Manasseh, though rebellious as the prodigal, the great heart of love will look upon the man who feels himself to have no soundness in him, and will pronounce him clean, when he trusts in Jesus crucified. Come to him, then, poor heavy-laden sinner,

Come needy, come guilty, come loathsome and bare;
You can’t come too filthy-come just as you are.


Taken from Charles H Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 29 September, Morning

On this site you can also find: Encouragements for Christian / Christian encouragements / Encouragements Quotes / Poem encouraging believers / Christian encouragement quotes / simple Christian sermons on encouragement / christian encouragements / biblical sermon on encouragement / Christian bookmark templates / 2010 Christian calendar template / Free printable Bible quotes / Free encouraging sermons / Biblical verse of encouragement for the believers and sermons / Free Christian encouraging images / Free christian encouraging pictures /  Christian encouragements phrases

Florida orange groves still shrinking, USDA says

Florida's orange groves are still shrinking as the state battles the tree-killing citrus greening disease and farmers sell their land, the annual Department of Agriculture census showed on Thursday.

The number of commercial orange trees and total acreage devoted to orange groves have steadily shrunk over the last five years in Florida, which accounts for two-thirds of U.S. citrus fruit production.


The state has 63.78 million commercial orange trees, down about 1.9
percent from 2009, the USDA said.

About 93 percent of those are fruit-bearing trees, unchanged from recent years, while the rest are newer plantings. Orange trees typically start bearing fruit three or four years after being planted.

Florida has 483,418 acres planted with commercial orange trees, down more than 1.8 percent from a year ago, the USDA said.

The report gave no reason for the decline. But Florida's $9 billion citrus fruit industry is battling citrus greening, an insect-borne bacterial disease that kills trees and has spread widely since it first appeared in the state in 2005. (See graphic below right)


Despite the collapse of the real estate market, some farmers are still
selling off their land for a variety of reasons, said Andrew Meadows, a spokesman for the growers and processors group Florida Citrus Mutual.

Florida's orange production dropped 18
percent to 133.6 million 90-pound (41-kilogram) boxes in the 2009-10 season, from 162.5 million boxes a year earlier. It was the smallest crop since the 2006-07 season, when several hurricanes ripped through the central Florida groves.

The USDA's first estimate for the 2010-11 season is due on October 8.
The Florida Citrus Commission has forecast it at 147.3 million boxes, based on a spring poll of its members.

Source:
Reuters, "Florida orange groves still shrinking, USDA says", accessed September 24, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Short encouraging sermon or devotional by CH Spurgeon for the evening 28 September

Believer Encouragements

Taken from CH Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 28 September, Evening

“Go again seven times.” - 1Kings 18:43

Success is certain when the Lord has promised it. Although you may have pleaded month after month without evidence of answer, it is not possible that the Lord should be deaf when his people are earnest in a matter which concerns his glory. The prophet on the top of Carmel continued to wrestle with God, and never for a moment gave way to a fear that he should be non-suited in Jehovah’s courts. Six times the servant returned, but on each occasion no word was spoken but “Go again.” We must not dream of unbelief, but hold to our faith even to seventy times seven. Faith sends expectant hope to look from Carmel’s brow, and if nothing is beheld, she sends again and again. So far from being crushed by repeated disappointment, faith is animated to plead more fervently with her God. She is humbled, but not abashed: her groans are deeper, and her sighings more vehement, but she never relaxes her hold or stays her hand. It would be more agreeable to flesh and blood to have a speedy answer, but believing souls have learned to be submissive, and to find it good to wait for as well as upon the Lord. Delayed answers often set the heart searching itself, and so lead to contrition and spiritual reformation: deadly blows are thus struck at our corruption, and the chambers of imagery are cleansed. The great danger is lest men should faint, and miss the blessing. Reader, do not fall into that sin, but continue in prayer and watching. At last the little cloud was seen, the sure forerunner of torrents of rain, and even so with you, the token for good shall surely be given, and you shall rise as a prevailing prince to enjoy the mercy you have sought. Elijah was a man of like passions with us: his power with God did not lie in his own merits. If his believing prayer availed so much, why not yours? Plead the precious blood with unceasing importunity, and it shall be with you according to your desire.


Taken from Charles H Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 28 September, Evening

On this site you can also find: Encouragements for Christian / Christian encouragements / Encouragements Quotes / Poem encouraging believers / Christian encouragement quotes / simple Christian sermons on encouragement / christian encouragements / biblical sermon on encouragement / Christian bookmark templates / 2010 Christian calendar template / Free printable Bible quotes / Free encouraging sermons / Biblical verse of encouragement for the believers and sermons / Free Christian encouraging images / Free christian encouraging pictures /  Christian encouragements phrases

Short encouraging sermon or devotional by CH Spurgeon for the morning 28 September

Believer Encouragements

Taken from CH Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 28 September, Morning 

“The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.” - Psalm 33:13

Perhaps no figure of speech represents God in a more gracious light than when he is spoken of as stooping from his throne, and coming down from heaven to attend to the wants and to behold the woes of mankind. We love him, who, when Sodom and Gomorrah were full of iniquity, would not destroy those cities until he had made a personal visitation of them. We cannot help pouring out our heart in affection for our Lord who inclines his ear from the highest glory, and puts it to the lip of the dying sinner, whose failing heart longs after reconciliation. How can we but love him when we know that he numbers the very hairs of our heads, marks our path, and orders our ways? Specially is this great truth brought near to our heart, when we recollect how attentive he is, not merely to the temporal interests of his creatures, but to their spiritual concerns. Though leagues of distance lie between the finite creature and the infinite Creator, yet there are links uniting both. When a tear is wept by thee, think not that God doth not behold; for, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” Thy sigh is able to move the heart of Jehovah; thy whisper can incline his ear unto thee; thy prayer can stay his hand; thy faith can move his arm. Think not that God sits on high taking no account of thee. Remember that however poor and needy thou art, yet the Lord thinketh upon thee. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him.

Oh! then repeat the truth that never tires;
No God is like the God my soul desires;
He at whose voice heaven trembles, even he,
Great as he is, knows how to stoop to me.


Taken from Charles H Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 28 September, Morning

On this site you can also find: Encouragements for Christian / Christian encouragements / Encouragements Quotes / Poem encouraging believers / Christian encouragement quotes / simple Christian sermons on encouragement / christian encouragements / biblical sermon on encouragement / Christian bookmark templates / 2010 Christian calendar template / Free printable Bible quotes / Free encouraging sermons / Biblical verse of encouragement for the believers and sermons / Free Christian encouraging images / Free christian encouraging pictures /  Christian encouragements phrases

Short encouraging sermon or devotional from God's Words - devotional by CH Spurgeon for the evening

Taken from CH Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 27 September, Evening

Believer Encouragements:

“My Beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.” - Song of Solomon 5:4

Knocking was not enough, for my heart was too full of sleep, too cold and ungrateful to arise and open the door, but the touch of his effectual grace has made my soul bestir itself. Oh, the longsuffering of my Beloved, to tarry when he found himself shut out, and me asleep upon the bed of sloth! Oh, the greatness of his patience, to knock and knock again, and to add his voice to his knockings, beseeching me to open to him! How could I have refused him! Base heart, blush and be confounded! But what greatest kindness of all is this, that he becomes his own porter and unbars the door himself. Thrice blessed is the hand which condescends to lift the latch and turn the key. Now I see that nothing but my Lord’s own power can save such a naughty mass of wickedness as I am; ordinances fail, even the gospel has no effect upon me, till his hand is stretched out. Now, also, I perceive that his hand is good where all else is unsuccessful, he can open when nothing else will. Blessed be his name, I feel his gracious presence even now. Well may my bowels move for him, when I think of all that he has suffered for me, and of my ungenerous return. I have allowed my affections to wander. I have set up rivals. I have grieved him. Sweetest and dearest of all beloveds, I have treated thee as an unfaithful wife treats her husband. Oh, my cruel sins, my cruel self. What can I do? Tears are a poor show of my repentance, my whole heart boils with indignation at myself. Wretch that I am, to treat my Lord, my All in All, my exceeding great joy, as though he were a stranger. Jesus, thou forgivest freely, but this is not enough, prevent my unfaithfulness in the future. Kiss away these tears, and then purge my heart and bind it with sevenfold cords to thyself, never to wander more.


Taken from Charles H Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, 27 September, Evening

On this site you can also find: Encouragements for Christian / Christian encouragements / Encouragements Quotes / Poem encouraging believers / Christian encouragement quotes / simple Christian sermons on encouragement / christian encouragements / biblical sermon on encouragement / Christian bookmark templates / 2010 Christian calendar template / Free printable Bible quotes / Free encouraging sermons / Biblical verse of encouragement for the believers and sermons / Free Christian encouraging images / Free christian encouraging pictures /  Christian encouragements phrases

Central America taps volcanoes for electricity

Dotted with active volcanoes, Central America is seeking to tap its unique geography to produce green energy and cut dependence on oil imports as demand for electricity outstrips supply.

Sitting above shifting tectonic plates in the Pacific basin known to cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the region has huge potential for geothermal power generated by heat stored deep in the earth.

Geothermal power plants, while expensive to build, can provide a long-term, reliable source of electricity and are considered more environmentally friendly than large hydroelectric dams that can alter a country's topography.

Guatemala, Central America's biggest country, aims to produces 60 percent of its energy from geothermal and hydroelectric power by 2022.

The government is offering tax breaks on equipment to set up geothermal plants and electricity regulators are requiring distributors buy greater proportions of clean energy.

Some 1,640 feet below the summit of Guatemala's active Pacaya volcano (left), which exploded in May, pipes carrying steam and water at 347 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) snake across the mountainside to one of two geothermal plants currently operating in the country.

MOLTEN ROCK

Run by Israeli-owned Ormat Technologies Inc, the plant harnesses energy from water heated by chambers filled with molten rock deep beneath the ground.

The company has been operating two plants in Guatemala for three years and wants to expand but is weighing the risks of drilling more costly exploratory wells.

"There's a phase where you just have to drill and see," Ormat's representative in Guatemala, Yossi Shilon, told Reuters. "The problem is that you risk a very expensive investment and are not always satisfied with the results."

Ormat's project is only a 20 MW station but Guatemala says the country has the potential to produce up to 1000 MW of geothermal energy, a third of projected energy needs in 2022.

Other Central American countries are already forging ahead in this emerging technology.

More than a fifth of El Salvador's energy needs come from two geothermal plants with installed capacity of 160 MW and investigations are being carried out to build a third.

Costa Rica, which has 152 megawatts of capacity in four geothermal plants, is due to bring a fifth plant online in January 2011 and is looking into building two more.

Nicaragua generates 66 MW from geothermal energy and in the next five years plans an increase to 166 MW.

Guatemala only produces a tiny amount of its own oil and spends about $2 billion a year on imports. The aim is to save money on energy costs and join international efforts to cut green house gas emissions, issues that will be on the table at global climate change talks this November in Cancun, Mexico.

BETTER THAN DAMS

Central America, heavily dependent on agriculture, is feeling the effects of extreme weather. Tropical Storm Agatha killed nearly 200 people in the region earlier this year.

The largely poor countries are highly reliant on hydroelectricity, the number two source of energy after oil, but environmental activists and energy experts say harnessing geothermal energy has distinct advantages over dams. (Right: Itaipu dam)

Hydroelectricity depends on rainfall and is vulnerable to hurricanes that can wash mud and debris into rivers and clog dams. Such storms are expected to increase in the frequency and intensity as the planet warms.

"With climate change there's uncertainty over the future behavior of water resources," said Eduardo Noboa, a renewables expert at the Latin American Energy Organization, or OLADE. "We're going to see a vulnerability in hydroelectric systems."

Dams, which can flood vast areas of land during their construction, are unpopular in rural areas where families rely on farming and have trouble finding arable land.

In Guatemala, hydroelectric projects have a haunted past after
hundreds of Mayan villagers protesting the building of a dam on the Chixoy river were massacred by security forces in 1978 at the height of the country's civil war.

The dam and its reservoir, which now generates around 15 percent of Guatemala's electricity, displaced thousands of people in the country's central highlands.

Geothermal plants by contrast are compact and companies, learning from the mistakes of the past, say they are making an effort to provide nearby towns with easy power access.

Source:
Reuters,"Central America taps volcanoes for electricity", accessed September 23, 2010