Hope Shared by Women Around the World at TGCW16

Yellow Rose-Hope

What is better than singing praise to God with 7,200 women? The only thing I can think of, is praising God with all of the redeemed in heaven. It was so good to be at the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference last week. Women from all 50 states and 38 countries were in attendance.

Each of the speakers focused on a portion of 1 Peter. Over the course of three days they taught all the way through this epistle. Some of the terms that come up in this book are: sojourners,  exiles,  royal priesthood,  God’s people. One of the threads running through the book is suffering and persecution. The other is a living hope!

Peter begins his letter with these encouraging words:

According to God’s great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.    1 Peter 1: 3-5

God keeps us in his sight! I am memorizing these verses.

Throughout each day Keith and Krysten Getty led us in worship.  They introduced songs that are on their newly released CD,  Facing a Task      Unfinished. One of my favorite songs is, He Will Hold Me Fast. God is faithful and will keep His people in his care.

Jen Wilkin’s message touched a sweet spot. As Christians we are called to give the message of God’s love that offers new life. She compared our Christian role to that of midwife and lactation consultant. Our desire is to nurture growth in new believers.

Peter has instruction for women. And it includes the word submission. We may have trouble with this word, but the truth is that God gives us guidance for relationships. God provides order for healthy relationships. I was a little slow in learning this lesson. My husband and I have a good relationship, but it could have been better sooner.  We disagree and     argue from time to time but we communicate better when I show him respect.

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 1 Peter 3: 5-6

At the conference I heard that last phrase and paused. Do not fear anything that is frightening. God invites us to trust him completely. I do not have to fear the outcome of the current election—but I will participate in the process as a citizen of this country.

The first epistle of Peter applies to the current time. I encourage you to read through 1 Peter. You can also listen to the messages given at the conference. The sessions are available on-line. Click here.

Linking with Faith Filled Friday,  Thought Provoking Thursday,  Whole Hearted Home  and  A Little R & R

Raquela: Book Review

Flag of Israel

Raquela Levy’s family had lived in Palestine for nine generations. Did you know that Palestine, referring to Israel, is a name derived from Philistine? Historically the Philistines were enemies of Israel. Raquela was a nurse midwife during the final years of British rule in Palestine.

Ruth Gruber spent nine months with Raquela, gathering information and insights into the life of this remarkable woman. The resulting biography is a story of the babies born to holocaust survivors—and the birth of the nation of Israel. Raquela was sent to refugee camps as a midwife to minister to women that were refused entry into Palestine.

The vivid detail describes life in Israel during the war years: Israel’s War of Independence (1948), Six-Day War (1967) and Arab-Israeli War (1973). The book describes events through the experiences of Raquela and her family.

I could picture Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus,  the scene of       Raquela’s developing romance with Dr. Brzezinski. The description of the delivery room at the Hadassah Hospital reminded me my first        experiences as a labor & delivery nurse.

I could feel the sadness when Mount Scopus was lost to the Arabs of     Jordan. The hospital was lost, and Israel had to build a new medical     center.

Perhaps the most moving was the description of the ships filled with Jewish immigrants fleeing Europe. They were refused entry to Palestine by the British. One of the refugee camps that Raquela served at was on the Island of Cyprus.

I have a much better understanding of Israel’s modern history from reading this book. The book engaged me—it was hard to put it down.

* Ruth Gruber, Raquela: A Woman of Israel, New York; Open Road Integrated Media. 1978.

Linking with Seasons, Literacy Musing Monday,  Booknificent Thursday and Thought Provoking Thursday

Inner Peace in a Chaotic World

Eberhard Arnold (1883 – 1935) wrote Innerland: A Guide into the Heart of the Gospel.   In the following quote he was commenting on life  in   Germany in the years leading up to WWII. It speaks to the current time also.

The great agitation in the world of today makes it more and more urgent to gain inner strength in those quiet encounters with Christ that make it possible for us to remain under his rule and authority. Situated as we are in the midst of a world that is so terribly unpeaceful, we need constant nourishment for our inner life. In short, if we want to avoid suffering inward shipwreck in the storm of     public opinion and chaos, then our hidden inner being needs daily the quiet haven of communion with God.

We need the quiet haven of communion with God today! We also need to know His Word. The Bible is God’s way of speaking to us.

The Apostle Peter gives us sound instruction in his epistle.

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they may accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.       1 Peter 2: 11-12

Dogwood flower

But in your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord.     Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.  1 Peter 3: 15

We are blessed when we spend time in God’s Word. We gain a little bit more of His perspective. We are reminded of the faithful people of God that have gone before us. The first epistle of Peter is a good book to meditate on. I am finding  Dee Brestin’s study guide helpful.     The title is       A Woman’s Journey Through 1 Peter.

Linking with Us, Coffee and JesusLiterary Musing Monday,  Word of God Speak, Let Us Grow and Thought Provoking Thursday

VAXXED: 4 Actions to Improve Vaccine Safety

VAXXED: A Powerful Message
Photo by Naypong@FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The destruction of data by the CDC is a huge news story but the major networks on TV are not covering it. I learned about the documentary, VAXXED on social media.  I read that the Huffington Post censored an   article about the movie. I wanted to see it myself. I’m glad that it is at a   theater in Chicago for a week. Not the suburbs but in the city.

My husband doesn’t like to drive in the city, but he was a peach and drove me to  the one theater showing VAXXED. We took the expressway into Chicago, but we also had a long drive on Diversey Pkwy. The traffic was bumper to bumper.

VAXXED: A Powerful Message

The movie is not anti-vaccine. Medical researchers and parents, like me, have observed significant side effects from vaccines. Parents have raised questions and made a connection between a vaccine and a changed health status. The movie looks at the research that was done in response—and the data that was destroyed by the CDC. The movie is about vaccine safety.

As I watched the movie, events in my life as a parent resurfaced. I listened as a parent talked about multiple doses of antibiotics that her son received before getting the MMR at 15 months of age.  As she described the change in her son and their family, I recalled the pattern I had seen in my toddler. I had searched for answers.

My daughter had multiple doses of antibiotic followed by the MMR at 15 months. Soon after she had significant abdominal symptoms, bloating and diarrhea. Her language development came to a standstill, and she seemed to be in pain. The pediatrician prescribed a medication to calm her gut, but it made her worse.

So I had a consultation with a pediatric gastroenterologist. He listened to my observations and then asked me questions about my parenting. He suggested that I should let him admit her to the hospital so  he  could    observe her. He said I should stay at home while she was in the hospital. I cried on the way home from that consultation.

Instead my husband and I took her to a different gastroenterologist. He did an intestinal biopsy and mentioned some inflammation,  but no       diagnosis. He had no advice or treatment.

It is interesting that parents called Dr. Wakefield, a gastroenterologist, with stories similar to mine. Dr. Wakefield, along with other doctors, began a study that led him to question whether there was a link between the MMR vaccine, the  gastrointestinal symptoms and behavior changes.

I kept a journal with my observations related to the foods my daughter was eating. We went to an alternative medicine doctor and received help. I worked on strict dietary changes that made a difference. I feel very blessed that dietary measures, homeopathic medicine and nutritional support allowed my daughter to regain her health.

The research done by the CDC (in 2001 to 2004) showed an increase risk of autism when the MMR was given to black boys in the time frame 12 to 18 months. Children who had received the vaccine after 36 months had less risk. But the research team decided to destroy this data. Only Dr. Thompson kept a record of the study. His records were forwarded to Congress in 2015, but nothing has been done.

The film pointed out the limited testing that is done prior to approving vaccines. Little is known about the safety of giving multiple vaccines at one time. Our children are participating in an experiment that has consequences for their long term health.

The film recommends contacting our congressmen in the  House  of          Representatives and asking that they:

  1. Subpoena Dr. Thompson and have him testify.
  2. Revoke the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. This law releases pharmaceuticals from any liability.   They cannot be sued for     vaccine injury.
  3. Provide the measles, mumps and rubella vaccines as single vaccines     instead of the combined injection.   Japan gives the measles vaccine as a single dose.
  4. Require that vaccines receive the same level of testing as other medications.

If you have a chance to see VAXXED, please go. The research, the information, the interviews with parents and doctors, all provide a perspective that you can judge for yourself.

Linking with Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural,  A Little R & R, Whole Hearted Wednesday and Tuesdays with a Twist

Why does the U.S. Give More Vaccines than Other Nations?

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The topic of vaccines is controversial. I have read through some of the research and followed the issue.  My daughter had varying degrees of   reaction to the vaccines she received as a child, and after one final     vaccine developed fibromyalgia.   From my perspective, there is good   reason to question the number of vaccines that we are giving children and the timing of essential vaccines.

Attempts have been made to block a documentary on the subject.  This film, VAXXED: From Cover-up to Catastrophe is going to be shown in Chicago at the Century Centre Cinema, May 27 to June 2. My husband and I will go to see it the first day. (stay tuned for my review)

In the past fifteen years the CDC has continued to add vaccines to the childhood schedule. It seems that the goal is to replace the child’s immune system with a growing list of pharmaceutical agents.

It is worth noting that the United States is 26th among nations for infant mortality rate. Japan and Finland are at the top of the list with a rate of 2.3 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. In the United States the rate is 6.1 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Japan and Finland must be doing some things right in their health care system. It is interesting that both countries give fewer vaccines than the United States. In the first two years of life Japan gives a total of 9 injections. In the states the CDC has 20 injections on the schedule for the first two years of life. Finland gives fewer vaccines as well.

So which vaccines are left out? Neither Japan nor Finland gives  the     hepatitis B vaccine to infants. In the U.S. the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine is given 24 hours after birth.

Japan and Finland do NOT give the chicken pox vaccine routinely. In Japan the chicken pox vaccine, mumps vaccine, hepatitis B vaccine and flu vaccine are voluntary. In addition Japan gives the measles vaccine alone—not in the combined MMR.

My personal experience as a mom has led me to question both the MMR and the hepatitis B vaccine. I wrote about the decline in my twin’s health following the MMR vaccine.  If I had it to do over I would have at least    delayed the MMR vaccine.  No, I would have refused it.  This vaccine is  developed from aborted fetal cells.

It is reasonable to expect our government to take an interest in the wellbeing of children. The movie trailer for VAXXED points to destruction of data and possible corruption in the CDC. This needs to be investigated.

What can we do to insure vaccine safety? It doesn’t make sense to go down a path of more and more vaccines without carefully checking out claims of corruption. Sometimes we feel powerless against the status quo, but we can contact our congressman in the House of Representatives to press for an investigation. A phone call, letter or e-mail has an impact. What is more important than the health of children?

Update: VAXXED is being shown in Washington D.C. 5/25 – 26. Urge your congressman to attend!

Vaccines

Linking with Whole Hearted Wednesday,  Titus 2 Tuesday and  Tuesdays with a Twist

Lily of the Valley and a Song on My Heart

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the valley is blooming in my backyard. I saw the delicate bell shaped flowers when I returned from a visit with my mother. She was placed in a nursing home last week.

The transition to the nursing home is a huge change. New environment. New people. Changing shifts for caregivers. Physical therapy. Occupational therapy. It is not surprising that she is exhausted.

On Sunday morning I wheeled her to the hymn sing taking place in the activity room. We joined a circle of wheel chairs. Favorite hymns were played on the sound system and the words to the lyrics appeared on a large screen. At first Mom was nodding off.

I took her hand and clasped it in mine. Her hand was cool and soft. Gradually she returned the clasp. She looked up and began to softly song the words to hymns that she remembered. One of the hymns was “The Lily of the Valley” by Charles W. Fry (1881).

I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.
In sorrow He’s my comfort, in trouble He’s my stay;
He tells me every care on Him to roll.

He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

I have a vase filled with stems of lily of the valley on my kitchen table. This song continues to play in my heart as I pray for Mom.

lily-of-the-valley-arrangement

These verses in Revelation give hope and comfort. Jesus is the Bright and Morning Star.

Behold, I am coming soon . . .
I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the root and offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star. Revelation 22: 12a, 16

Linking with Thought Provoking Thursday,  Us, Coffee & Jesus,  Let Us Grow,  Word of God Speak,  A Little R & R and Whole Hearted Wednesday

Lilac Bouquets

The lilacs are in bloom and I enjoy arranging them in bouquets. My grandmother had lilac bushes and the one in my yard was a shoot that I transplanted.

Lilac Bouquet

His tenderness in the springing grass,
His beauty in the flowers,
His living love in the sun above–
all here, and near, and ours.

Samuel Gilman (1791 – 1858)Lilac BouquetLinking with Seasons and Sue’s Wordless Wednesday

TUESDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY and Apricot Bread

 

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

For more than 20 years I have participated in Precept Bible studies.    I started with the women of Faith Community Church, and have continued for many years  with women at      Village Church of Barrington. We meet every Tuesday morning, September through May. We have become friends through our time together, reading the Bible and discussing it, sharing prayer requests.

Currently we are studying the three covenants that God made: with Abraham, with Moses (Israel), and the New Covenant. Today our topic was the covenant with Moses (Israel) or the law. After God rescued the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, he made a covenant with them and gave them the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 19 & 20)

No one is able to keep the law. We all fall short. The purpose of the Law was to show them (and us) our sin and need for a Savior.

For by the works of the law no human being will be        justified in his sight, since through the law comes the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20

After the Ten Commandments were given on tablets of stone, Moses was given very specific instructions for a tabernacle.   (Exodus,     chapters 25 – 31) The tabernacle was a sanctuary for God. It was also designed to point to Jesus.

For the law was given by Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.   John 1: 17

When my husband and I toured Israel we visited a model of the tabernacle, built to the specifications in the Bible. Here we are in the outer court.

Biblical Tabernacle
The Outer Court of the Tabernacle

Just inside the gate (entering the outer court of the tabernacle) is an altar. The altar is for sacrifice and symbolizes the sacrifice that Jesus became for us as he offered himself on the cross in payment for our sins.

Beyond the altar is a bonze basin for washing. The basin symbolizes the cleansing we receive by the Word of God.

Biblical Tabernacle
The Bronze Basin in the Outer Court

Inside the tent the first room, called the Holy Place, contains a table with bread (Jesus, the bread of Life), a lampstand (Jesus is the light of the world) and an altar of incense (Jesus continually intercedes in prayer for believers).

The Altar of Incense in front of the Veil
The Altar of Incense in front of the Veil

A thick veil stands before the inner room that holds the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat. The Ark contains symbols of God’s faithfulness: Aaron’s rod that budded, manna and the tablets of stone. The mercy seat is the throne of God.

Biblical Tabernacle
Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat

Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Hebrews 9: 3-5

The veil enclosing this room was torn when Jesus was crucified giving us access to God. We can approach God with our prayers.

God has reached out to us and has told his plan of salvation through his word. He has given us symbols that illustrate his plan.  The Old Testament of the Bible points to the New Testament. The longer I study the Bible, the more I see God’s love.

After our discussion we have coffee and treats.   Today I made an    apricot bread to share. It was enjoyed–here is the recipe:

1 + ¼ C. dried apricots
½ cup reserved water (from simmering apricots)
½ cup honey
¼ cup coconut oil (melted)
2 large eggs
½ tsp. baking soda
2 + ¾ C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup coconut (I prefer unsweetened)

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9” x 5” x 3” loaf pan.

Place the apricots in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Let them stand in the hot water for an additional 20 minutes and then drain off the water, reserving ½ cup. Chop the apricots.

Add the reserved water, melted coconut oil, honey and eggs to a large bowl. Mix well with a whisk. Then add the apricots and baking soda. Mix. Add flour, baking powder, salt and coconut. Mix well. The batter will be thick (biscuit dough consistency). If it is too dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time.

Spread batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 45 to 50 minutes. The bread should be golden brown and when a knife or toothpick is inserted, it should come out clean. Cool on a rack; then turn out of the pan and slice.

Apricot Bread_5318

Linking with Word of God Speak, Let Us GrowThought Provoking Thursday,  A Little R & R and Whole Hearted Wednesday

The Tulips at Windmill Island Gardens

In late April of 2012 we visited Windmill Island Gardens in Holland Michigan. The park wasn’t due to open quite yet, but the tulips were early and we were fortunate to see the gardens in full bloom.

The Tulips at Windmill Gardens

Tulips have so many varied colors. It it a tribute to the Creator of all flowers.

Tulips_1638

The news and politics can weigh heavy on my mind, but God makes rest and joy available in nature. I have some tulips blooming in my yard– and happy memories of Windmill Island.

When I go out to the garden the noise and rush of the world comes to a pause. Now the peony stems and buds are poking through the soil. The lilacs are beginning to bloom and I see the promise of berries on bushes and strawberry plants.

The poem by Winifred Mary Letts (1882 – 1972) makes me smile.

That God once loved a garden
we learn in Holy Writ.
And seeing gardens in the
Spring I well can credit it.

Tulips_1655

It is easier follow the guidance given in Philippians while working in the garden.

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.           Philippians 4:8

Tulips_1705

Can you imagine what it was like for Adam and Eve to talk with God in the first garden?

Linking with Mom to Mom,  Words with Winter,  Word of God SpeakGrace & Truth,  Thought Provoking ThursdayNature Notes, Seasons and Sue’s Wordless Wednesday

The Forsythia & God’s Faithfulness

Forsythia Marks the Anniversary

Today is the 27th anniversary of my son’s passing away and entering eternity. Last year I wrote the illness and faith of our little boy. You can read about Steven here.

God has healed the wound in my heart, but it took time. Only when I was far enough from my initial grief, could I look back and see the hand of God guiding and supporting our family.

Steven was loved. He knew that God loved him.

The Psalms convey both the pain of suffering and the confidence in God’s love.

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and a buckler.

You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

Nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,  nor the        destruction that wastes at the noonday. Psalm 91:4-6

I must confess that in the last days of Steven’s life I felt like I was on the edge of a cliff, about to plunge into darkness. I wasn’t sure of my faith. But I never stopped praying. I poured out my pain before God. The Psalms provided an example for me to follow.

Christian friends stood by us, offering their faith and prayers. Over time I was able to see the places where God had been present with us. I believe that I will see Steven again, as the Bible promises.

If you are going through a stiff trial, don’t be afraid to pour out doubts and fears in prayer. God hears and He is faithful. Let others pray for you also. Trust that as you walk forward you will see evidence of God’s hand on your life.

Linking with Let Us Grow, Grace & Truth and Word of God Speak

Let Us Grow