Around the World with Prayer

So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Acts 12:5

Do you know the rest of the story? An angel led Peter out of prison and he went to the house where people were praying. When he knocked on the door Rhoda came to the door, but she was so shocked that she did not open it. Instead she went to tell the others that Peter was at the door. They didn’t believe her. When Peter kept knocking they finally let him in. God had answered their prayer in a miraculous way!

Sometimes circumstances seem so bad that we are overwhelmed. Tonight I was at a prayer meeting for the persecuted church. We had information about Christians around the world. This statement was part of the news: A British report ordered by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has concluded that persecution of Christians has reached “near genocidal” levels in parts of the world, particularly the middle east.

What can we do? The Bible instructs us to pray.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

One of our prayer team reflected on what it would be like to be imprisoned for faith in Jesus. She said, “I would want to know that people are praying for me.”

As the apostle Paul encountered trials and difficulties he wrote to the church at Corinth.

You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:11

Paul also instructed the church at Ephesus.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6: 17-18 

We can follow the example of the early Christians and pray for the believers in the middle east, in China, in Africa, in Venezuela, in Haiti and places around the world. We are encouraged to pray.

Continue steadfast in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2

Note: The painting of Peter in prison is by Raphael (15th century)

This post is linked with the Five Minute Friday writing community. The prompt today is: WORLD

Do These Flowers Like Sun or Shade?

Today I made my first trip to the farmer’s market this year. Early produce was set out in abundance: lettuce, swiss chard, kale, asparagus and strawberries. But the first booth I came to had flowers and plants, both annuals and perennials. 

When I saw the sweet williams, I wanted two plants. I asked the man who was selling them, do sweet williams prefer sun or shade? He said, “Definitely the sun”.

I thought about my question. Every plant has its preferences—the soil pH, tolerance for dry periods, sun or shade. And every type of flower is unique. And then there is the color range within one type of flower. All that information is contained within the seed.

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1: 11-12

When we pay attention to the amazing intricacy of the world God created, it is awesome. I give praise and thanks to God.

Why was I drawn to purchase the sweet williams? My Grandmother grew sweet williams (and lilacs). A few of them still grow on the hillside by the old farmhouse. Since trees and bushes have grown up they are in the shade and have become sparse. Now I know that they like the sun. I came home and planted them where they will have lots of sunlight.

Today the Five Minute Friday community has the prompt: QUESTION To see the different thoughts generated by writers or to join in, visit Kate’s site. .

The Healer’s Daughter: My Review

When I think of the Civil War I am saddened by the great battle between the states and the huge loss of life. I am glad that the slaves were finally free. I have never thought much about the years after, the Reconstruction. What happened to the slaves that were freed from the plantations?

After extensive research, Charlotte Hinger has written a novel about a group of former slaves that migrated from Kentucky to Kansas to establish an all-black town. The novel, The Healer’s Daughter, paints a picture of tremendous hardship and perseverance. 

The main character, Bethany, is a strong willed young woman who has some skills in healing but her real passion is teaching. Her mother, Queen Bess, has learned healing arts from doctors whom she assisted on the plantation. I was fascinated by her observation and knowledge of people, her quest to gather medicinal herbs.

Medical care was chaotic in the years following the war. There was no licensing or certification process for doctors. A man might learn as an apprentice and then with limited experience put a shingle out, offering his services.

The story includes instances of normal childbirth, as well as complicated births and tragic situations. The book has intense scenes that caused me to pause and put the book down for a while. It has helped me see how the black family was crushed and torn apart during slavery. Establishing a living as free people was a great challenge.

Hinger’s book is based on the true story of Nicodemus, Kansas. From the author’s notes: It was the first all-black town established on the High Plains.

Photo of prairie by Philipp Reiner on Unsplash

This post is shared with Booknificent Thursday. Visit Tina’s site for more book reviews.

Soccer Games and a Town in Kansas

This week I watched some of the FIFA Women’s World Cup while I was sorting papers, clearing up clutter. The athletes ran back and forth across the field. They were bumped and kicked, falling on the ground in pain. Then they would get up and run again in the relentless battle to score a goal. One of the games ended with a score of 1 to 0. 

The goals were few and hard fought. (The USA v. Thailand game was unusual with a score of 13 to 0.)

Last night I stayed up late to finish a book, The Healer’s Daughter, by Charlotte Hinger. The book was about the hard fought goal that a group of former slaves had in establishing an all-black town. The book is fiction but based on the true story of Nicodemus, Kansas. (Stay tuned for a complete review.)

I had been reading a couple chapters at a time—pausing to think about it. It detailed very painful events that took place following the Civil War, the way that some white people treated slaves that were now free. The author exposed evil.

I went to bed thinking about the aftermath of the war and the way the black families had been crushed in the preceding years. Yet this persevering group of people were steadfast in reaching their goal. They establishing a town that is now a National Historical site. 

The soccer games and this book have stimulated me to think about my life as a Christian. Am I steadfast and persevering in following Jesus? When I see my failures do I repent, get up and continue on in faith? 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12: 1-2  

Photo by Philipp Reiner on Unsplash

Kate’s prompt for the Five Minute Five writing community is: GOAL

Book Review: Marilla of Green Gables

If you enjoyed the Ann of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery, you will probably like a new book about Marilla by Sarah McCoy.

Sarah McCoy takes us back to Prince Edward Island when Marilla is just entering her teens. In her author notes, Ms. McCoy explains that she was motivated to resolve a mystery. In the book, Anne of Green Gables, Marilla told Anne that she used to be good friends with Gilbert Blythe’s father—people said that John was her beau. And then Anne asked, “Oh, Marilla—what happened?”

The description of Avonlea is familiar and rich in detail. I recognized the the characters—McCoy does a good job of recalling personality traits. The story starts slowly and I wondered if it would hold my interest. I already knew the Marilla never married. But the story expands with historical details.

The author paints a picture of Avonlea during the time period leading up to the United States Civil War. Canada was struggling with its relationship to the British monarchy, and was also affected by the turmoil in the United States. Slaves that escaped through the Underground Railroad made their way to Canada.

One of my favorite parts in the book was the description of the sewing circle that the women of Avonlea participated in. They came together to visit, to have tea and to sew for a cause.

McCoy has done well in bringing us another story about Green Gables in Avonlea.

This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info

This post is also shared with Literacy Musing Monday. Visit Mary’s site for summer inspiration. Also linked with the Classical Homemaking Party and Booknificent Thursday.


Living Well, Reflecting on the Psalms

Every morning my husband and I read a Psalm together before we begin the day. Today we are on Psalm 115. We have read psalms of praise, lament and remembrance. Memories of crossing the Red Sea and the years in the Wilderness are recorded. 

God’s power over the Red Sea and the Jordan River is extolled. God’s presence, care and salvation is remembered. 

We have challenges and troubles like the people of Israel. But in the midst of difficulties we can say that it is well with us. We are blessed because God loves us and will help us if we call out to him.

O Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield.

O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield.

You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord. He is their help and their shield.

The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron; he will bless those that fear the Lord, both the small and the great. Psalm 115: 9-12 ESV

Note: The photo shows the Dan River–one of the tributaries that flows into the Jordan River from the north. The book of Joshua states that the Jordan River overflows its banks at harvest. But God provided a way for Israel to cross the Jordan: the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap. Joshua 3:13

This post is linked to the Five Minute Friday writing community. Kate’s prompt today is: WELL

Reproductive Health Act: A Life and Death Law in Illinois

When the Supreme Court issued the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, no one could imagine that 45 years later the number of lives terminated in the United States would be 61 million. Some believed that marriages would be better, women would be happier. Has that happened?

Last Friday the Illinois legislature passed the Reproductive Health Act. I took the time to read through this bill. I am deeply saddened. Section 1-10 states that the life of a child that survived abortion needn’t be preserved. The wording is tortured because it is hard to describe the right to let a living child die.

Section 1-10 “Abortion” means the use of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device to terminate the pregnancy of an individual known to be pregnant with intention other than to increase the probability of a live birth,to preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, or to remove a dead fetus.

When maternity care is described I wonder what the term, a patient’s legal proxy, means. Are the parents of a teenage girl informed?

“Maternity care” means health care provided in relation to pregnancy, labor and childbirth and the postpartum period, and includes prenatal care, care during labor and birthing, and postpartum care extending through one-year postpartum. Maternity care shall seek to optimize positive outcomes for the patient, and be provided on the basis of the physical and psychosocial needs of the patient. Not withstanding any of the above, all care shall be subject to the informed and voluntary consent of the patient, or the patients’s legal proxy, when the patient is unable to give consent.

Section 1-15

“Every individual has a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions about the individual’s own reproductive health, including the fundamental right to use or refuse reproductive health care.”

This section of the law describes the individual’s rights to make a decision about their health care. This is a precedent for parental rights. When medical procedures have risks and benefits, parents must have the right to consent or refuse for their child.

With all restrictions on abortion lifted, we must continue to educate young people on the facts of abortion, the risks and side effects to a woman. People of faith need to stand in support of a woman experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, especially if she is unmarried and without financial resources.

Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live. Deuteronomy 30:19b

Click here to read the full text of the Reproductive Health Act.