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

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

Culture Informed by Worldview

The prompt for Five Minute Friday is: CULTURE This topic has been on my mind for a couple of weeks, stimulated by a book I am reading.

Worldview: a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world

Culture: a) a particular stage of advancement in civilization b) the characteristic features of such a stage or state c)behavior typical of a group or class

Nancy Pearsey begins her book, Love Thy Body, with a discussion of worldview. Culture is informed by worldview. She explains how Darwin, Freud and other scientists/philosophers have had an effect on worldview and culture.

We as individuals living within the culture can be subtly influenced by the major worldview. When you read a novel, are you able to recognize the worldview of the author? I see a clear difference in novels written more than 100 years ago and recently written novels.

It is helpful to recognize the prevailing worldview when we interact with the culture around us.

Jesus lived out a worldview completely consistent with the word of God—and he was still gentle with the tax collector and the Samaritan woman. He invited them into his worldview.

The View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives: Visiting Gethsemane

In 2012 my husband and I made a trip to Israel with a group of friends from our church. It was amazing to see the places that we had read about in the Bible. The two weeks in Israel were an encouragement to our faith.

When we went to Jerusalem we visited the places mentioned in the events of Holy Week, leading to the crucifixion.

The church of Dominus Flevit is on the Mount of Olives, not far from the Garden of Gethsemane. A window of this church gives a view of Jerusalem. The golden dome is the Dome of the Rock, which sits in the same place that Israel’s temple once stood.

The olive tree in this picture is ancient. Perhaps it was there when Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested.

We went to the Church of St. Peter. In the courtyard there is a sculpture depicting Peter with the maiden that questioned him about being a disciple of Jesus. Peter denied knowing Jesus.

Below this church—we walked down a stairway to view an ancient and deep hole. A sign near this Sacred Pit gave an explanation.

Prompted by the dungeon-like appearance of the pit and its proximity to Caiaphas’ palace, thought to have been located in this general area, the Byzantines recalled here Jesus imprisonment overnight as he awaited trial before Caiaphas and the Sanhredrin. Faithful to this ancient tradition, Christians continue to remember Jesus, the Suffering Servant of the Lord, placing on his lips the words of the psalmist:

My soul is surfeited with troubles . . . You have plunged me into the bottom of the pit . . . Upon me your wrath lies heavy . . . I am imprisoned and cannot escape . . . O Lord I call upon you. Psalm 88

We walked along the Via Dolorosa and visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Finally we visited the garden tomb.



A Storm on the Sea of Galilee and Fleas in the Concentration Camp

We lived in troubled times and sometimes it is difficult to discern truth. It is hard to know how we should respond to things happening around us. Looking back over the centuries, this has always been the case in human history.

It is thought that the writer of the book of James was Jesus’ brother. James saw his brother mature and become teacher and healer, but didn’t believe he was the Messiah. He lived through the time of Jesus crucifixion. After the resurrection he became a believer and leader in the church. He saw the persecution of the followers of Jesus (the Way) as described in the book of Acts. Stephen was martyred, Paul was beaten, Paul and Silas were jailed. How does a Christian traverse deeply troubling times? James writes:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. James 1: 5-6 ESV

Perhaps James was alluding to the experience of the disciples. The disciples had seen Jesus perform miracles of healing, but when their boat was caught in a storm on the sea of Galilee. Jesus was a sleep, and they were afraid. 

And they went and woke him saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” and he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm.

He said to them, “Where is your faith?”  Luke 8: 24-25a ESV Stop//

I don’t always approach difficulties with a prayer of faith. Fears can get in the way. Corrie and Betsy ten Boom approached their time in a concentration camp with prayer. I recently saw the story of Betsie and the Fleas posted on Jacqueline’s blog. Betsy, with her prayers of faith, saw God work in a way that she could not have imagined.

God’s desire for us is to flourish in a way that honors Him and that shines a light in the world.

When the culture brings difficult and confusing issues to our doorstep, we can ask for wisdom from God.

When we are challenged as parents, or when we experience difficulties in marriage, we can ask for wisdom from God. 

When we experience health problems and different approaches to treatment are possible, we can ask for wisdom from God. 

If you don’t know what you are doing, Pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believing, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind whipped waves. Don’t think you are going to get anything that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open. James 1: 5-8 MSG

This post in linked to the Five Minute Friday Community. Today’s prompt is: LACK

March Madness, Texas Tech and Prayer

My daughter is amused that I have become a college basketball fan. “Mom, you never watched basketball!” 

I responded, “Michigan has a good team this year.” I followed the Wolverines in March Madness and was disappointed when Texas Tech beat them.

Photo by Markus Spiske – Unsplash

Then I had to find out how one of our arch rivals, Michigan State, fared against Texas Tech in the final four game. Texas Tech beat Michigan State. When the game ended the TV cameras followed the players to the locker room, expecting a party atmosphere. The players waited for their coach.

When Coach Beard arrived they all dropped to a knee and began praying. The commentators were stunned and the cameras immediately cut back to the sports analysts.

The TV station handled it awkwardly and seemed to have discomfort with prayer.

Sports writer VF Castro tweeted: “Really annoyed that CBS cut out of Texas Tech’s post-game prayer. That’s a huge part of that team’s identity.”

I was thinking about the state of our nation as I read the book, Saving Amelie, by Cathy Gohlke. The novel tells the story of a little deaf girl in Nazi Germany. She does not meet the standard for a pure Aryan blood line. Will she be eliminated as the eugenics movement gathers momentum?

Saving Amelie

In the author’s Note to Readers, Ms. Gohlke writes: In my quest for answers I traced the evolution of the pseudoscience of eugenics in the United States and Germany, with its determination to eradicate disease and its design to eliminate certain bloodlines while promoting others . . .

It is still hard to understand what took place in Germany under the rule of Adolf Hitler. Cathy Gohlke did a great deal of research as she wrote this book. She also referred to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, The Cost of Discipleship. Through Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life and writings we see the importance of God’s truth infusing all aspects of life.

Our faith in God should inform our lives. Faith should be part of daily life, science and even sports. It seems that there is a growing desire to put faith and religious freedom in a little box. Some would say that our faith in God and our belief in the Bible has no place in medicine, science, and the interactions of daily life, but I disagree.

I’m joining the link-up at Inspire Me Monday .


Unplanned and Post Abortion Help

Abortion has left a deep wound in our nation, but there are organizations that offer help and healing.

Last weekend my husband and I went to see the movie, Unplanned, with some friends. Some of the scenes were hard to watch. The movie pointed out that uterine perforation is a risk during surgical abortion. Sometimes perforation requires hysterectomy, other times the bleeding is controlled and the uterus develops a scar that can impact future childbearing.

It was hard to see girls and young women deceived about the procedure—the promises that everything was going to be okay.

The best take-away for me was the example of the couple from 40 Days for Life. They interacted with Abby (the abortion worker) and prayed for her. They were patient and available to her. They modeled kindness and loving concern. 

After the movie we talked about Abby’s journey with our friends. It took eight years for her to acknowledge the reality that a baby was being killed. When she saw an ultrasound guided abortion the truth became clear.

Abortion has left a deep wound in our nation, but there are organizations that offer help and healing.

Care-net provides post abortion help for women who have had abortion, for fathers whose child was aborted, for grandparents and for abortion workers. Here is the link to their site.

Rachel’s Vineyard offers weekend retreats for post abortion help and healing. It is a ministry of Priests for Life.

Abby, the former abortion worker, now leads And Then There Were None, an organization that helps abortion clinic workers that want to leave the industry.

ATTWN seeks to end abortion from the inside out. We believe that the end of abortion starts with abortion clinic workers leaving their jobs and finding healing from their past work. That’s why, as former clinic workers ourselves, we’re committed to helping them through the ENTIRE journey.

Be sure to visit the Five Minute Friday writing community . Today’s prompt is: OFFER. Kate has an offer to check out!

When Spring Comes and the Flowers Appear Miraculously

For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. Song of Solomon 2:11

Snow Drops

The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtle dove is heard in our land. Song of Solomon 2: 12

Crocus

I watch my garden beds after they are sown, and think how one of God’s exquisite miracles is going on beneath the dark earth out of sight. I never forget my planted seeds. Celia Thaxter (1835 -1894)

Crocus


A Truth Beyond Measure

The prompt for Five Minute Friday is: MEASURE

I usually think about the prompt over night and then write in the morning. In bed I mused about all the ways I have made measurements.

As a mom I measured the height and weight of my children as they grew, the ingredients in recipes. I counted the candles on birthday cakes.

As a nurse I measured many things: the medications for each patient, the rate of intravenous fluid, urinary output, the cervical dilation of a woman in labor.

The Bible gives us many measurements: the length, the breadth and the height of the ark, the dimensions of the tabernacle, the number of men (20 years old or more) in each tribe of Israel when they entered the promised land.

Measurements inform us and provide order. They can guide our actions.

But the Bible tells us that some things are beyond measure. 

He [God] does not deal with us according to ur sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. Psalm 103: 10-12

The wonderful news is that God’s love and grace are beyond measure.

Parenting with Courage

As I looked through a local newspaper I saw an editorial cartoon that seemed to equate the measles with polio and Nazis. Something to fear. There is a hysteria about the measles that doesn’t jive with history.

Daily Herald: March 21, 2019

We cannot let fear control us. On this same day I received the scripture of the day in my e-mail from I-Bible.com.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frighted, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 ESV

As parents and grandparents we face many different challenges as we care for our family. We have the ability to seek wisdom from God in prayer. We can lift our concerns and assess the best way forward, honoring our faith in God. We don’t need to make decisions based on fear.

As a grandmother I am seeking truth for the sake of my grandchildren and others. I had to respond to this editorial cartoon.

I wrote this reply to the newspaper.

The editorial cartoon in today’s paper featuring an old man talking about fearing the measles puzzled me. I grew up in the 1950s and I had the measles along with my siblings. It meant that we stayed home from school for a week. It was uncomfortable, but we didn’t fear it. 

We developed lifetime immunity to the measles. And when I breastfed my infants I passed along my immunity to them in the crucial first six months of life.

Have you seen the recommendations that are given when measles is reported in a community? People are encouraged to get the vaccine or a booster, unless they were born before 1957. The people born before 1957 are assumed to be immune because everyone got the measles.

Proper nutrition is related to the severity of a case of measles. We know that vitamin A supplementation helps an individual overcome the measles. If there is an outbreak of measles we can meet the challenge, seeking God’s help.

Parents today need to have clear information on the risks and benefits of each vaccine. Parents must be able to consider their faith in God and their family’s medical history when deciding to vaccinate or not. #MedicalFreedom #InformedConsent

UPDATE: News Outlets around the country are reporting on a State of Emergency in Rockland County, New York. From USA today: Starting at midnight, anyone who is under 18 and not vaccinated against measles will be banned from public places. This ban will last until the declaration expires in 30 days or until people are vaccinated. . . . Noncompliance will carry penalties of six months in jail or a $500 fine, although Day said law enforcement would not be deployed at any location seeking proof of vaccination.