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.

A Reward with Added Dimension

Her name was Naomi, but she said, “Call me Mara”. Mara means bitter. Her husband and her sons had died and left no heir. She was impoverished.

Ruth saw the great sorrow of her mother-in-law and chose to stay with her. She was willing to travel from Moab to Judea, to leave her own country and go to a foreign place. The two widows had to walk north along the east side of the dead sea until they could cross over to Judea on the west.

When they arrived in Bethlehem Ruth had to work hard to provide food for them to survive. Widows were allowed to glean grain that was left over after harvest, so she spent long hours gathering grain.

A man named Boaz noticed her and spoke to her. Ruth was surprised because she was a foreigner in Judea. 

But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and your mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Ruth 2: 11-12 

Ruth eventually married Boaz and had both a home and a son. The blessing extended to Naomi, because she had a grandson. Ruth was rewarded, but did she know that she would be the great-grandmother of King David? Did she know that the Savior would come from her line of descendants?

We have the Bible now and we can see the promises that God has fulfilled, but we see in part. We don’t know all that God is doing. There is always more.

NOTE: I took the picture of the Dead Sea when I was in Israel in 2012. We were on the west side of the Dead Sea, looking east.

The prompt for Five Minute Friday is: REWARD. Join in the fun and inspiration. Click here to visit this community.

Sharing this post with Inspire Me Monday.

The Church: A Place for Spiritual Growth

In the Old Testament of the Bible we see how God guided the Israelites through the tabernacle with Moses speaking for him. God demonstrated his desire to speak to his people and teach them how to live in peace.

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? Deuteronomy 10: 12-13 ESV

The tabernacle and later the temple in Jerusalem gathered the people together to worship God.

In the New Testament Jesus reminds us of the importance of gathering together.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.” Matthew 18:20

My husband I have been blessed by a heritage in the church. I was brought up in the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church and my husband in the Dutch Reformed Church. Recently I found a picture book that was given to him by the Sunday School when he was four years old.

We met in a Reformed Church on the campus of the University of Michigan and we were married there.

When we established a home in Illinois we became members of the Evangelical Free Church. We have also had encounters with the Baptist and the Catholic Church.

Because the church is made up of humans with a tendency to sin, we need to pursue truth and forgiveness, We need to bring difficulties before the Lord in prayer. In our walk of faith we need the church. The church is the place where we can grow.

Put on then as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive . . . And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians: 12-13, 15-16

This post is participating in Five Minute Friday. Today’s prompt is: PLACE

I am also linking up with writers at #GraceFullTuesday.

The Good Shepherd: A Story to Share with a Child

My husband and I are book lovers and book collectors. We have books in most rooms of our house. Over the years we have gone to library book sales, used book stores, bought books on line and at conferences.

We need to reduce and pass books along. I have been going through some of my stacks of books and came a cross a yellowed copy of a book that was first published in England in 1948. It was published by Moody Press in 1951.

The Tanglewoods’ Secret was written by Patricia St. John. I opened the book and read the first few pages and decided that I would read the whole book before I decided what to do with it.

It is a tender story about two children that love to explore nature—trees, wildflowers and birds.

The author shows us that they need a Savior and she weaves the Bible account of the good shepherd into her story. It is a clear description of a relationship with Jesus that a child can understand. It is a book to read with a grandchild. I am glad that I rediscovered it.

Sharing this post with Literary Musing Monday and Booknificent Thursday

Sunrise of Hope

Many years ago I worked the night shift in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Michigan. We had 12 hour shifts, and I worked from 7 pm to 7 am. Around 5:00 am as daylight crept across the sky, we were weary and needed to get our second wind. 

We would take turns, going to get coffee and a muffin from the hospital cafeteria. But what we most appreciated was walking down a hallway of windows that looked out to the sunrise. Morning had come and we would complete our nursing care and documentation. The light of a new day sustained us and promised rest.

We have challenges and a spiritual battle taking place in our world. The battle requires focus on God’s word and obedience to his commands. We must stay alert and look for God’s touch on our life. He will renew our spirit and give us rest.

photo by Cristina Gottardi via unsplash

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.

My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen wait for the morning, more than the watchmen wait for the morning.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. Psalm 130: 6-7

It is Friday and I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community. Kate’s prompt today is: MORE

Faithful Poet and Hymn Writer

Commit your way to the Lord:trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:3

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

These verses are true of Fanny Crosby. Some years ago I read her autobiography and was inspired by her life.

Fanny Crosby was a poet and hymn writer in the late 1800s who pointed many people to God. Some of the hymns that I sang growing up were written by Fanny Crosby

When she was six months old the treatment prescribed for a mild infection of her eyes left her legally blind. With the guidance of her mother and grandmother she overcame this handicap. She wrote, “But why should the blind be regarded as objects of pity? Darkness may indeed throw a shadow over the outer vision, but there is no cloud, however dark, that can keep the sunlight of hope from the trustful soul.”

Fanny’s mother made arrangements for her to attend the New York Institute for the blind when she was fourteen. Her gift for poetry was recognized at the school and she was directed to study the classical writers and poets.

Following her years of study she became a teacher at the Institute. She attended lectures and had occasion to meet political leaders. Her poetry was published in newspapers and books. She wrote hymns for a number of evangelists. Later in life she was called to serve at city missions.

Fanny Crosby’s preaching was gentle and winsome as she pointed people to the Lord through song. Several hymns written by Fanny are among my favorites. Here are the lyrics to All the Way My Savior Leads Me

All the way my Savior leads me; What have I to ask beside?

Can I doubt his tender mercy, Who through life has been my guide?

Heavenly peace, divinest comfort, Here by faith in him to dwell!

For I know, what-e’er be-fall me, Jesus doth all things well. 

This post is the final one in Write28Days. All of the posts are listed here.

It’s Okay to be Different

Currently I am studying the book of Deuteronomy. The nation of Israel was about to enter the promised land and Moses was giving instructions to the people.

In the book, the word— fear— appears 29 times. Israel is instructed to fear (revere) God and NOT to fear man.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

Fear has the ability to paralyze or control a person. We might be afraid to speak up and go against the politically correct view. Politically correct views are determined by men. Instead we should follow the standards set by God.

It is good to become comfortable being different. When I was a child we didn’t always have a TV, and when we did, I didn’t watch programs very often. Sometimes I didn’t know what my classmates were talking about. I invested time in reading books.

My daughter had a funny experience being different. When my children were young they were on allergy diets. At the time it was unusual for a child to avoid wheat and sugar, even for the classroom parties. When a first grade boy brought cupcakes for the class on his birthday, he brought my daughter some raw carrots and cauliflower. He really liked her! She was impressed and amused.

Some of the choices we make may go against current trends. It is okay to stand for something that is not popular. Our relationship with God, our reverence for him is more important.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Vesper Service

This post is part of #Write28Days. To view more posts in this series click here.

A Mother’s Role

It is a blessing to participate in the Five Minute Friday writing community. We write on the prompt that Kate Motaung gives. Visit the site to meet other writers and to read their posts. Today’s prompt is: JUST

The dictionary offers these definitions for just: conforming to a standard of correctness, morally upright or good.

When I read the news about things taking place in our country or around the world I can be overwhelmed. What is my role?

As a mother and grandmother my first responsibility is to my family and church. As I spend time in prayer, I need to be sensitive to God’s guidance in interactions with the wider community. When we have a willingness to serve, God works through us to accomplish his purpose.

Micah 6:8

This post is part of #Write28Days.  


Two Are Better Than One

Today is my wedding anniversary. As I reflect back on 42 years of marriage I am thankful for my husband and the way our relationship has refined us.

There have been seasons in our marriage. At first we had to learn to live with each other. Children came early in our marriage, and we helped each other parent. When our son developed leukemia we worked hard as a team to support him and get the medical care he needed.

That was followed by a season of grief. Our marriage had been drained of energy and we needed to begin again.

God has been faithful in guiding us and renewing our love.

We have been blessed to see each of our adult children marry. We are thankful for the son-in-laws and daughter-in-law that have increased our family joy.

Now we are grandparents, fully enjoying the blessing of family. Through the years we have learned about ourselves and each other. We know each other’s strength and weaknesses. We have helped our spouse to make changes.

My husband has helped me react to situations with greater patience and thought. I once wrote an angry letter and mailed it immediately. After discussing it with my husband I was ashamed. I went back to the mailbox and inserted a colorful note, requesting that postman send the letter back to my return address. To my amazement and relief the letter came back to me.

We have different ways of doing things—even the simple task of making coffee. While I will measure the coffee grounds after grinding the coffee beans (8 tablespoons for 11 cups of water), my husband puts a generous amount of beans in the grinder. Then he dumps all the ground coffee into the filter lined basket.

He is certain that he has the right amount. He adds a dash of salt (my suggestion) and some cardamon seeds (again, my suggestion) and turns the brew on. I am thankful to have fresh brewed coffee ready every morning. Sunday mornings he brings me a cup with cream and coconut oil when I am still in bed. 

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10a

Marriage

If you are married, how has marriage refined you? If you are single, do you have a friend that challenges you and encourages you to develop new perspectives?

This post is part of #Write28Days.