Success, Obedience and the Word

The women in our Bible study group were amazed (and amused) by the account of men being circumcised after they crossed the Jordan River and before taking possession of the promised land. We are studying the book of Joshua.

God instructed Joshua to circumcise all the men that had not been circumcised while they wandered in the desert. Before beginning battle they were to be consecrated and reminded of the covenant God made with Abraham.

What is the relationship between obedience and success? The book of Josua gives some perspective.

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night . . . Joshua 1: 7-8a

These verses remind me how important it is to know the Word of God. We are blessed to have the Bible available to us in so many ways—online, in book form, audible readings on CD. It is an encouragement to meet with other believers to study the Bible.

In our Bible study group we acknowledged that we don’t always understand God’s ways. And His interpretation of success or His timing might be different than ours. Yet God’s desire for us is good and best.

Do you find time to study the Word?

Sharing this post with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: SUCCESS

It Was a Huge Project

This past week my husband and I visited the Ark Encounter in Kentucky. We were amazed and enlightened as we walked through each deck, observing the design of the ark to meet the needs of Noah’s family and the animals. This ark is built to the specifications in the book of Genesis.

Genesis 6:9 tells us: Noah walked with God.

Garden at the Ark Encounter

Noah was given a huge task in a corrupt and violent society.

And God saw the earth, and behold it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end to all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Genesis 6: 12-14

God gave specific instructions for the ark—its length, breadth and height. The Bible mentions the number of decks, the animals and stores of food.

A system for propagation of moths–food for some creatures.
Animal in wooden crate

Noah was probably confronted and challenged during the years that he spent building the ark. He persevered. Noah’s life, his faith and perseverance are an inspiration for us.

As we hold fast to God, He will hold fast to us.

Sharing this post with Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is: CHALLENGE Visit Kate’s site for a writing challenge.

Also sharing this post with Sue’s image-in-ing and Tuesdays with a Twist

Is There Something We Can Learn from Nazi Germany?

At the back of the book there are 57 pages of notes. Erik Larson has written a meticulous history based on government documents, letters and diaries. 

The book, In the Garden of the Beasts, provides a view of Nazi Germany through the eyes of the American ambassador. William Dodd was a history professor. He was an interesting choice for ambassador to Germany.

The Dodd family (William, his wife, daughter and son) arrived in Germany in 1933 when Hitler was ascending to power.

As I read the book I was dismayed to see the difficulty that the Dodds had in picking up alarming signs. Dodd’s daughter viewed the atmosphere in Germany with warmth and cheerfulness.

Rabbi Wise was listening to accounts by refugees in London and Paris and informing Dodd. The American consul general, George Messersmith had been in Germany longer and was sharing his concerns.

At first the Dodds thought that perhaps the Jews had brought this on themselves. Violence against an Aryan woman who was engaged to a Jewish man was passed off as an isolated event.

At the end of the first year William Dodd began to be troubled. He raised concerns with the U.S. state department but he wasn’t taken seriously.

After the defeat in WWI the German people wanted to believe that their country was on an upward trajectory. The German government began to censor any unfavorable news. What happens when news and different points of view are censored?

It scared me to see how deception moved forward like a mist. Can it happen now?

Currently there are topics that are censored and policies are being forced forward.

If you have been following my blog you know that I have concerns about the current vaccine schedule. More and more vaccines are being added without concern for side effects and longterm consequences. I sympathize with parents of a child who was disabled or died as a result of vaccination.

My children had side effects from the MMR. My daughter developed fibromyalgia after the Hep B vaccine.

On Monday (September 9) a bill was signed into law in California despite the protests of hundreds of parents and grandparents. Sb276 mandates the vaccines recommended by the CDC for all children who attend public school without concern for their health history. No exemptions. If a doctor writes a medical exemption, the exemption must be approved by a government bureaucrat. If a doctor writes as many as five medical exemptions in one year he will be placed under surveillance.

Over the past few years fear of the measles has been ginned up. Measles is a common childhood illness that lasts 1—2 weeks. It is a serious illness in third world countries because of nutritional deficiencies and sanitation issues. We have learned that vitamin A supplementation during the illness helps with recovery.

The vaccination program has actually created an issue. When children developed the illness and their God given immune system was exercised in fighting the disease, they developed lifetime immunity. The vaccine does not give lifetime immunity. That is why we are seeing adults get the measles now.

Instead of listening to concerns of researchers, doctors and parents, legislators are bowing to pressure from the pharmaceuticals. (Pharmaceuticals are the largest lobbying group in the U.S.)

Have you heard about the protests in California? None of the news outlets are covering it. And Google is censoring the topic of vaccines in its search engine.

Del Bigtree covers this issue on his website: theHighWire.com.

Also this week, on September 10 Steve Scalise held a congressional hearing on infant born alive protection. Jill Stanek testified and you can read about it here.

The Speaker of the House has blocked the bill, Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, from going to a vote multiple times.

What do we do? Are our convictions important? We must be willing to speak up and stand for what we believe.

Seven Gutsy Women

Our pastor has begun a series of messages from the book of Exodus and he pointed out the strong women mentioned in the first two chapters of this book.

When the Egyptian King decreed that the Hebrew midwives should kill all Hebrew male babies Shiprah and Puah did not obey the decree.

Shiprah and Puah
Pharaoh and the Midwives by James Tissot circa 1896-1902

But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. Exodus 1:17

So they were called before Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and questioned.

The midwives explained that the male babies survived,“because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” Exodus 1:19

Were the midwives lying? They were circumventing the king’s command. Their answer indicated that they had experience attending Egyptian and Hebrew women. 

Women that are physically active—the Hebrew women worked hard as slaves— are in better physical condition, more likely to have a labor that progresses well—more likely to walk, squat and change position throughout labor. The Hebrew women may have given birth with the assistance of relatives that had learned basic skills from the midwives. 

And then Pharaoh made a new decree. He asked the Egyptians to be on the alert and to throw any Hebrew male babies into the Nile.

One Hebrew woman (Jochebed) realized that her three month old baby boy was becoming increasingly hard to hide. So she made a little basket sea worthy, and asked Miriam (the baby boy’s sister) to place him in the river.

Illustrators of the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach us by Charles Foster

Jochebed instructed the Miriam to watch him.

Pharaoh’s daughter saw the unusual floating basket and asked her maid to bring it to her. The Princess realized that the baby was a Hebrew boy whom her father had ordered to be drowned. She ignored her father’s decree.

When Miriam saw the Princess holding her baby brother she offered to get a nurse from the Hebrew women to breastfeed the child. She offered to bring the baby’s mother, and Pharaoh’s daughter agreed.

The five women (midwives, Jochabed, Miriam, King’s daughter) were disobeying the King’s order. They were defending life! Despite the possibility that harm might come to themselves, they nurtured the baby boy who would one day be a leader of Israel.

Women have been entrusted by God with the gift of bearing and nurturing life. These five women offer examples of faith and courage as they persevered, defending the life of a baby. They were gutsy women.

World Magazine recently published the story of a missionary woman who stopped the practicing of killing twin babies in a Nigerian tribe. In her mission to save lives she adopted children. She lived in the 19th century, and her name was Mary Slessor.

In our own time nine men, Supreme Court Justices, decided that a woman has the right to abort (kill) her unborn baby based on a right to privacy. Roe v. Wade was decided on January 22, 1973. The law opened the opportunity for boyfriends and family members to urge a confused and panicked woman to end an unplanned pregnancy with abortion.

Exactly one year after the Roe v. Wade decision 20,000 people showed up in Washington D.C. for a March for Life. Nellie Gray, another gutsy woman, organized this first March for Life that took place on January 22, 1974. The protest of Roe v. Wade has taken place every January since then. Icy cold weather, snow and wind, have not deterred thousands of men, women and teens from participating in the March for Life.

The moms in California fighting for the health of their children are also gutsy women. Who are the strong women that you know?

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The Blessing of Family

The Bible often mentions the importance of family. The second chapter of Genesis refers to the beginning of a family. Therefore a man shall leaves father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24 ESV

Frequently throughout scripture the genealogy of a family is recorded. The first chapter of Matthew records the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham to King David to Joseph. 

Birth of Jesus

Jesus, Son of God incarnate, was born into a human family.

Currently my husband and I are reading a chapter from the book of Joshua each morning. As Israel entered the promised land each tribe was allotted a specific portion of land. That struck me as interesting. The people were still considered according to their family of origin. They had ties to their heritage over many generations.

I have thought about my family. I am grateful to know about my ancestors in Finland. My husband would like to trace his heritage in Holland. It is helpful to understand the links we have to the past, but our focus is on the present.

As a family we have experienced illness and the loss of a son, but my testimony is that our family has been blessed by God’s grace and intervention in our lives.

This past weekend our children and grandchildren traveled home to celebrate my husband’s birthday. The nine grandchildren, age 18 months to 16 years, give us great joy. We delight in seeing our children as parents, aunts and uncles.

We are blessed to belong to another family, the followers of Jesus (the Church).

It is Friday and the Five Minute Friday community is writing with the prompt: TESTIMONY