The Best Expectation

Throughout the past year my husband and I have been reading through the Bible. Today our reading was from 1 Chronicles and Isaiah. The books we have read clearly illustrate human nature and the problem of sin in the lives of people who have gone before us.

After God chose Israel to be a nation to follow his commands—laws that would sustain them and allow them to flourish—the people wanted a king. They wanted to be like other nations.

Ans so they had kings. God continued to reach out to them through the prophets, promising a Savior that would redeem them from the human pattern of sin.

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be on his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it ant uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forever more. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:6-7

As years went by, the people waited. When Jesus came, he was not like their expectation. They were familiar with kings and power. They were hoping for a powerful king to overthrow the heavy hand of Roman rule.

It is interesting that in Matthew 13, Jesus tells three parables to describe the kingdom of heaven.

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field . . .  Again, the kingdom of heaven in like a merchant in search of fine pearls . . .  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. Matthew 13: 44, 45, 47

 It had to be so difficult to understand, that the promised Prince of Peace would also be a suffering Savior.

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, as one from whom men hid their faces. He was despised , and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God and afflected. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 52: 3-5

We live in a confusing and turbulent time. We can miss God’s plan of salvation if we are not seeking God with all our heart. What are my expectations? Can I lay them aside and wait patiently, prayerfully for God?

There is one expectation that I can claim. God will fulfill his promises.

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Esteeming Women and the Family

On Sunday and Wednesday evenings the World Prayer Network meets on the internet. Prayers are raised for concerns around the world.

This past Sunday prayers were offered in support of the 34 nations that have signed the Geneva Consensus Declaration. It was encouraging to learn about this document written in support of women’s health and the family unit.

Shannon Wixom lists the four pillars of the Geneva Consensus Declaration in an article posted on the United Families International website. She also lists the 34 nations that have signed the document.

Our numbers may be small, but our cause is just and our unity knows no bounds. Let each of us-whether individuals, organizations or nations-go forward holding steadfast to the pillars of the Geneva Consensus Declaration: concern for women’s health, protection of human life, strengthening the family as the basic unit of society, and defending the sovereignty of nations in creating their own life protection policies.

In 2020 the United States was a co-sponsor, along with Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia and Uganda. Sadly, in January of 2021 the United States withdrew its support.

I was surprised to learn about this. It has not been mentioned in any news story that I have come across. It encourages me to know that the health and wellbeing of women and the family unit is a high priority in 34 nations.

You can find the text of the Geneva Consensus Declaration here

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A Research Trail: Finding the Finnish Midwife

The trip to Finland in 2017 had several purposes. We were meeting some relatives for the first time at a family reunion in northern Finland.

After the reunion my husband I traveled south by train. When we arrived in Vaasa (western coast of Finland) we rented a car. The midwife that I had been researching lived in the area at one time. Her husband had owned a brewery in Anixor, which I assumed was a village outside of the city.

I wondered how we might find this place. We visited a museum village not far outside of Vaasa and I asked questions as we toured. When we left the museum and were back on the road, we saw signs for Old Vaasa and decided to check it out. We stumbled on the Korsholms parish church. 

We parked the car and I approached a man who was walking a dog and asked him if he knew where Anixor was. I showed him information I had found on the internet. He read it over and said, “No, but you could ask the priest. He is at the back of the church.”

We walked around the back, looking for an entrance. I saw a doorbell on the addition to the church and pressed it. As we stood waiting, a woman walked towards us. I showed her my information. She recognized the name, Anixor, but said. “It is a very small village, just a few houses. I don’t know how to tell you the way.”

As we were talking the priest came out and joined the discussion. He said, “I have a computer. We can google it.” He invited us to follow him, and we went into his living quarters. He was able to find a map that showed the place and the way to get there.

As we were talking, I explained that I was interested in the Pörn family that once lived in Anixor.

I asked if there were parish records.

He responded, “We must go see the church secretary.” He led us to another building on the church grounds.

The secretary listened with interest as I showed her an article about the midwife who had immigrated to the United States in 1895. She patiently went through the books of church records. 

She was able to find Hanna’s birth date, her marriage to Karl Edward and the date their son’s birth. She also found the death date of both son and husband. The family’s home in Anixor was listed as Lalle Farm.

She found information showing that Hanna had moved to Helsinki for two years after the death of her husband, presumably to take a nursing course.

After expressing many thanks to the priest and secretary, my husband drove to the little village of Anixor. It was down a country road and the area was bordered by a river. We found the house where Hanna had lived with Karl and extended family.

Some times research requires wandering.

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When the King George Asked All the People to Pray

Over the past few weeks, I have been reading How to Pray by Pete Greig and discussing the chapters with friends from our church. Chapter 6 focuses on intercession.

In this chapter Greig gives an example from WWII. He recounts the events of 1940 when allied troops were trapped on the beaches at Dunkirk. The Nazi troops were advancing toward them.

It was a desperate situation.

King George addressed the nation and asked people to go to church on Sunday, to pray for deliverance. As a result three amazing things happened. Citizens who possessed any size of boat prepared to make trips across the English Channel to rescue the soldiers—hundreds of boats assembled. The weather, clouds and storms, helped conceal their rescue mission and prevented an attack from the air. And for an unknown reason Hitler halted his ground troops. The soldiers were rescued.

We face a great challenge in our country with the pandemic and political strife. In the discussion of intercession, Grieg titles one section–Get informed: Engaging with the Facts.

With so much censorship taking place it is a challenge to get to the facts.

We have fear of covid, pressure to get vaccinated and cases of vaccine injury. There are protests over the vaccine mandate. Nurses, EMTs, pilots, firefighters and police are choosing to leave their jobs when their religious exemption is denied. 

Next week, November 8 to 11, truckers will strike, protesting the mandate.

My heart goes out to the vaccine injured who have been pretty much abandoned by our health care system. Recently a conference was held in Washington D.C. with vaccine injured people, Senator Ron Johnson and Dr. Peter Doshi. A young woman who was in a vaccine trial explained how her data was removed from the trial when she developed neurologic systems. A teenage girl was in the Pfizer trials and she in now in a wheelchair and has a feeding tube. A Pilot explained his symptoms and what happened when he was piloting a plane. A surgeon told his story. 

In order to have a deeper understanding of the vaccine issue I have been tuning into theHighWire.com. Del Bigtree was once part of the team that directed the medical talk show, The Doctors. He now has a team of lawyers and a medical journalist doing a deep dive into research. He has interviewed doctors and scientists who are raising questions. You can view the conference I mentioned on the High Wire.

When we are informed, we can ask for God’s help and guidance. 

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Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Morning Brings Hope

As a nurse I have worked through the night and welcomed the morning. Before my marriage I worked in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Michigan (Holden Unit). I worked the night shift, 7 pm to 7 am. 

Around 5am we took turns walking along a corridor with windows overlooking the sunrise to get coffee and a roll from the cafeteria. The light streaming in the corridor gave us renewed energy to finish the shift.

In another season of life, I was a birth nurse. Over a four-year time period I attended 62 homebirths, and also five women in labor who were transferred to the hospital to give birth. My role was to assess the progress of labor, listen to the baby’s heart tones, keep the doctor informed and provide supportive care to the laboring mother.

Sometimes labor lasted through the night, but with the morning came a refreshed outlook, the time of birth approaching. The sunrise brought hope. 

In the gospel of Luke, Zechariah’s prophecy about John and the coming Savior mentions the hope of sunrise.

And, you, child will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace.” Luke 1:76-79 ESV

Katholisches Gesanbuch wrote the words for When Morning Gilds the Skies. The hymn was translated into English in 1828 by Edward Caswall.

When morning gilds the skies, my heart awakening cries

May Jesus Christ be praised!

Alike at work and prayer to Jesus I repair

May Jesus Christ be praised!

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on unsplash.com

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Still Believing in Difficult Times

During a difficult season of life our faith in God can be shaken. What has helped people in the past? We have examples in the Bible that point to communication/relationship with God and the experience of love and acceptance. We are blessed to have God’s word—the Bible.

Moses and Elijah led the people of Israel through very difficult situations. They spoke with God and listened for his guidance.

Moses received direction again and again from God as he led Israel out of slavery. Sometimes his nerves were frayed but he continued to seek God and obey.

Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight’. Now therefore if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”

And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Exodus 33: 12-13, 17

Elijah was called to be a prophet but endured times of great hardship. 

Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives , before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word. And the word of the Lord came to him: “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. 1 Kings 17: 1-5a

Ruth, the Moabite, chose to leave her country and travel with Naomi to Israel after her husband died. Neither Ruth nor Naomi had a living son or daughter. I believe that Ruth experienced loving acceptance from her mother-in-law. 

Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Ruth 1: 16

The Bible was a sustaining resource for my son, Steven. He learned many Bible verses, encouraged by the Awana program at church. During the final weeks of his life he was comforted by these verses.

And I heard a loud verse from the throne saying, “Behold the dwelling place of of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev. 21:3-4

Relationship with Jesus and access to God in prayer. Experience of love–giving and receiving. The Bible. These are the tools we have for a difficult season.

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An Old Irish Hymn

The garden is a place where my mind is at rest. Sometimes when I am troubled the words of a hymn come to mind. A hymn that I sang as a child–the words imprinted in my memory.

It is good for the church to sing hymns. It is good for individuals and families. Children are able to learn deep truths that will stay with them. Truths that may come to mind in a season of difficulty. 

This morning we sang Be Thou My Vision, an old Irish hymn translated into English by Mary E. Byrne.

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.

Naught be all else to me, save that thou art.

Thou my best thought, by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,

Thou my inheritance, now and always.

Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,

High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

What a marvelous gift we have been given by God through Jesus, when we accept it.

Every Friday Kate posts a writing prompt for the Five Minute Friday writing community. This time it took a couple days (and a hymn) for inspiration to come. The current prompt is: TREASURE

A Rainy Afternoon at the Post Office

It is a complicated time in our country. I want to be gracious and patient, but . . .

In the middle of the afternoon on a rainy Wednesday, I went to the post office. I expected few people would be there and my errand would be quick, but there was a long line. Just one postal clerk at the counter.

The postal clerk and the man at the desk were in a discussion about the envelope he had chosen. She asked him to fill out a different one, while she looked over what he was doing and we waited. Ten minutes later the same detailed procedure took place with the next customer.

The manager came out from a back room and asked the next in line if he was just mailing packages. The man said, “yes.”

The manager said, “Come with me.” He led the man into the back room. The customer never reappeared. After a while, the manager led another customer away. He never reappeared. My imagination began to take over. Was there a back exit to the post office.? Maybe I read too many murder mysteries.

Meanwhile, the two men behind me began a discussion of supply chains, the southern border, inflation and gas prices. To be honest I chimed in at one point. Was it incompetence or by plan that we are heading toward a crisis? The two men held differing points of view.

I was relieved when it was my turn at the counter. 

There are many complicated issues in our country. I am concerned about the mandate for the covid vaccine—especially for health care workers. Consider this. If you were in the hospital which nurse would you prefer to have for your care?

  1. The vaccinated nurse who could be infected with mild symptoms and able to transmit the virus.
  2.  The unvaccinated nurse who has had covid and has robust immunity.
  3. The unvaccinated nurse who is being tested weekly for the virus.

We live in a time when critical thinking is important. We need to be in prayer, seeking God’s guidance and help. I surely need God’s help to be gracious and patient. I need His help in decisions.

Invitation to the Family of God

Today’s prompt for Five Minute Friday is complete. My thoughts went to the first epistle of John. My Wednesday morning Bible study just reviewed the first chapter.  And we are writing these things that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:4

John, the beloved disciple, gave us the gospel of John and three epistles. He spent three years with Jesus, following him, listening to him teach and sharing meals. He was at the cross when Jesus was crucified. 

John gave the reason for his gospel. These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31

In 1 John 1 the disciple refers again to the time he spent with Jesus. 

That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed, our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:3-4 

Across the years John is reaching out to us, extending an invitation to community. He gives us guidelines. We need to believe in Jesus, confess our sins and walk in the light. We must live in truth. This is the way to fellowship with God the Father, Jesus and other believers, even those who have gone before us. In this way our joy is made complete.

Eventually John was exiled to the island of Patmos, where he wrote the book of Revelation.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4

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Why I am Resisting, in Pursuit of Health

The leaves are changing color, flames of red and gold.

The fall roses are still blooming in northern Michigan. God has inscribed color and beauty on earth.

The design of the earth and its seasons, the design of all creatures, the design of the human body comes from God, our creator. We have an intricate immune system to confront infections and disease.

The Bible offers guidance to healthy living. Our daily diet, activity and rest can support the immune system and health. When infection and disease break through the body’s defenses, doctors and medical treatment can help heal. 

I am grateful for the tools that medicine has developed. Recently my husband underwent ablation to correct atrial fibrillation of his heart. This outpatient surgical procedure stopped the arrythmia. Modern medicine is able to assist healing in an amazing way.

We have come to depend on vaccines to prevent disease, but we are still learning about the methods used to produce them, the risks and benefits. The MMR vaccine, specifically the rubella portion, was the first to be developed following experimentation with aborted fetuses. Cooperation between medical researchers at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia and in Finland (abortion was not yet legal in the U.S., but had been legalized in Finland) took place in the late 1960s early 1970s.

Timo Vesikari describes his experience with pregnant women scheduled for abortion in this article, “From Rubella to Rotavirus and Beyond” published in Human Vaccine and Immunotherapies [June 2015; 11(06):1302-1305].

Next, in late 1966, I was incredibly lucky to meet Antti Vaheri (later Professor of Virology) who had just returned to Finland from the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia with all the latest knowledge in rubella research. Rubella virus hemagglutination had been discovered and with hemagglutination inhibition (HI) test available I was soon running a diagnostic rubella laboratory which not only provided material for research but also created real income for the Department and our group. This set a precedent for my later professional life Grants are good but it is better if the research funding can be obtained from outside . . . Under the seniors I was to do much of work: vaccinate pregnant women prescreened to be seronegative for rubella and scheduled to have a legal abortion a week or two later. The plan was to isolate rubella (vaccine) virus from the products of conception and, in fact, we succeeded in doing that.

The article, Isolation of Attenuated Rubella-Vaccine from Human Products of Conception and Uterine Cervix, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1972. Seven doctors (including Timo Vesikari) participated in this study led by Dr. Antti Vaheri.

From the article: “Pregnancy was terminated in 30 cases by hysterotomy and in five cases by curettage . . . Most of the samples obtained by hysterotomy were delivered to the laboratory still surrounded by intact membranes.

It has been reported that just one line of cells from one aborted fetus was used for the vaccine. What is not reported– all the aborted fetuses used in the research leading up to vaccines. Universities who are receiving grants for medical research (tax dollars) continue to utilize baby parts for research. We are sacrificing human life on the altar of medical research.

So, there is the abortion business, but what about about tinkering with the immune system? Early development of covid-19 vaccines relied on research using fetal tissue. But this vaccine is not like any vaccine offered in the past. It does not carry a bit of the virus for the immune system to identify and attack. Instead, it programs the cells of the body to produce a spike protein. It interacts with the immune system in a new way (with unknown longterm effects). 

Doctors and scientists (Geert Vanden Bossche PhD, Dr. Peter McCullough, Dr. Zelenko) have spoken out against the use of the vaccine, claiming that we have no idea what the long-term effects will be. A recent article by Vanden Bossche, gives a different perspective on the way to treat the pandemic. 

I am concerned that the vaccine is being recommended to pregnant women. The New England Journal of Medicine published an article, indicating that the vaccine seemed to be safe even though the data listed was preliminary and incomplete. Later they posted a correction to the article. More data is needed.

The government and the media are so eager to get everyone vaccinated. We live in a climate of fear. And yet I know a number of people that have had covid and recovered. I am puzzled by the way early treatment is being blocked.

Pharmacies won’t fill prescriptions for ivermectin even though it is being used successfully in other countries for early treatment. Regeneron has shown success but the government is limiting access to it. Only lately has the benefit of vitamin D3 been recognized although a study was done in 2020. A more recent study confirming the benefit has been released.

Three years ago lab work showed that I had an insufficient level of vitamin D. In blood work it is called vitamin D, 25-OH. A sufficient level is 30 to 100 ng/ml. After taking daily vitamin D3 supplements for three years my level has improved to 49. The conclusion of the recent study suggests a level of 50 ng/ml completely reduces the risk of death. 

Another article, Twenty Steps to End the Madness, was published by the Brownstone Institute.

A doctor in Orange County, California gives an assessment of the vaccine and the variants emerging. Because of censorship his comments are recorded on bitCHUTE instead of YouTube.

I am deeply saddened by censorship and the division that is taking place between people who have chosen vaccination and those that are pursuing health by strengthening their immune system, planning early treatment if they should get sick.

Over the years, I have read reflections on WWII. I have read a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It has made me think about Germany. Bonhoeffer raised an alarm. How many listened to him? Were people afraid? Did they simply want normal life to continue? Was the evil too great for them to comprehend?

Additional resources that look at the vaccine industry: A former nurse writes about vaccines and Stanley Plotkin (lead researcher at the Wistar Institute). The High Wire provides current information about vaccines, promoting informed consent.

We are at a significant place in time. We need God’s help. 

Updated: The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines do not contain fetal cells but early research and design of the vaccines used a fetal cell line (HEK293T).

Additional resource, published in News Medical Life Sciences: Research suggests Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine reprograms innate immune responses