The Cherry Tree and Martin Luther: Life Lessons

My husband has offered to cut the cherry tree down. Several times.

I was thrilled when the tree offered a bountiful harvest of cherries, sweet with a little tartness.

Then came the year of brown rot and mold. We spent a week picking all the rotten fruit and cleaning up the mess. 

Another year a late snowfall came while the tree was in blossom. There were no cherries that year.

Over the past few years Japanese beetles have discovered the tree. They eat the leaves on the tree, weakening it. So I tried picking them off, dropping them in a bucket of soapy water, as some fell down my shirt. Last year I treated the tree with neem oil.

This year is a recovery year, but the robins honed in on the ripening fruit. I have to admire their zealous pursuit of the cherries. I hung a couple of garden shop owls in the tree and also shiny CDs.

The cherries were of such great worth to the robins that they played out a dramatic scene.  I can see the tree—it is just outside my kitchen window. 

The robins showed acrobatic moves, twisting their necks to reach a cheery hanging below a branch. They would fly in with a focus on a cherry, see an owl and flutter like a hummingbird. Then they would seize a cherry and speed away.

I picked a quart of cherries. The robins consumed the rest. I have been thinking about the focus and determination of the robins (and also my determined attempts to save the cherry tree lol). What are the things of great value, deserving my focus? //

During this time at home I have pulled some books off the shelf that had intimidated me by their length. Currently I am reading Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and changed the World by Eric Metaxas. 

Martin Luther was totally focused on understanding the Bible, learning the true meaning. He pursued faith in God with his whole heart. Luther demonstrated in his life the most worthwhile goal—an example for us to follow. The greatest treasure in our lives is a relationship with God through Jesus.

This post is linked with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: WORTH

The Cost of Steadfast Convictions

When I read the prompt for Five Minute Friday today, I immediately thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who wrote the book, The Cost of Discipleship. His life portrayed the cost of his convictions.

I have read Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas and more recently My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt. Both books describe Bonhoeffer’s steadfast adherence to the truth of the Bible as Hitler ascended to power in Germany. He had the opportunity to remain in the United States as WWII was about to begin, but he chose to return to Germany, hoping to have an influence for good.

It is hard to be steadfast in convictions when you are going against the current. When I saw the number of interventions in childbirth continuing to grow, I chose to take a position with a home birth group with a drop in wages. I was able to see the normal progression of labor with the support of doula, nurse and physician. We were careful to observe for problems, transferring 10% of patients to the hospital. I learned important lessons.

When I returned to the hospital, my goal was to be an advocate for women who desired fewer interventions. Labor is a natural physiologic process that can be negatively affected by interventions. As it turned out,I didn’t always get along with the doctors. It is a lifelong challenge for me to learn to speak up with grace.

My heart goes out to the nurses and doctors who have concerns about the vaccine schedule for children. They believe that too many vaccines are being given at one time, not all of them are necessary for all children, some vaccines could be delayed. But mandates are being passed in a number of states. Doctors, nurses and parents don’t have a choice.

Yet some are steadfastly speaking up, going against the current—and being penalized financially.

As a Christian I need God’s word as a guide for my convictions. I need to read it, study it, and make it my way of life. And I need to continue to grow in my ability to speak truth with grace. 

Being steadfast is not always financially rewarding, but it is spiritually rewarding.

I just finished a study of the book of Joshua. Here is the encouragement that threads all the way through this book.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

This post is shared with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: COST

American History: Revive Us

This past week my husband and I attended Revive Us, a live event at theaters. As a part of the presentation Kirk Cameron and Eric Metaxas took us to Independence hall in Philadelphia, where our nation began. Our founding fathers understood the importance of faith in God in the pursuit of liberty.

On March 23, 1775 Patrick Henry gave his “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech. Here is a portion of that speech: Sir, we are not weak, if we make proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people armed in the Holy cause of Liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us . . . *

Patrick Henry had a Bible verse for America.

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. Proverbs 14:34

The founding fathers were united by faith in God and knowledge of the Bible. The Bible teaches us that apart from Jesus Christ we have no righteousness. Righteousness is a key word in the book of Romans. God is righteous and holy and he extends grace to us.

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:22-24

As a nation, as a church and individually we need to confess our sins. We need to live in obedience to our faith. Kirk Cameron, along with his pastor, Ben Carson, Francis Chan, Jennifer Rothschild led in prayer, discussion and scripture reading. We had an opportunity to worship together.

Jennifer Rothschild shared these verses from scripture:

. . . the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to any one he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men. Daniel 4:17

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.      2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Revive us will be shown in theaters again on Monday evening, October 24. Click here to find a theater near you.

*Catherine Millard, A Children’s Companion Guide to America’s History, Camp Hill, PA: Horizon House Publishers, 1993 p. 39

Sharing this post with Word of God Speak,  Thankful Thursday, Aprons & PearlsThought Provoking Thursday and the Homemaking Party