12/17/2014

Is it important to learn about missions?

I can pronounce Cote d'lvoire and find it on a map.  That's because I teach about missions in Girls in Action, a children's program at my church.  I have been teaching GA for about sixteen years, but this is my first encounter with this African country.  We learn about such a variety of missionaries that we rarely study the same place twice.  Not only can I locate this country, so can most of the girls in my second grade class.


However, we not only know where a country is located, we learn about the people and the culture. Did you know that whole frogs are a delicacy in Cote d'lvoire?  Imagine getting to eat a whole frog, bones and all!

I have learned about everything from surfing missionaries to cowboy missionaries.  Some work in jungles and some have mystery names in mystery places because it isn't safe for the details to be published. Others work in cities with the rich or the poor.  They may help the homeless or children living in the inner city.  Some are doctors and nurses.  Some start businesses in other countries. Some are teachers and some work in offices helping missionaries get what they need. Recently we learned about chaplains and emergency relief workers.

In some areas of Africa, the people are so poor that the average life span is only thirty-two. Missionaries in these areas sense the urgency of telling every person about the love of God in sending his Son Jesus because the next day they may get sick and die.

Why do I teach about missions?  Because as Christians, we are called to go into all the world and make disciples. (Matthew 28:18-20)  The more children hear about missions and the great variety of opportunities, the easier it will be for them to make the decision to go and tell others as well.

Romans 10:13-15 says that we need to send preachers to everyone so they can be saved.  We need to SEND them.  That includes keeping them in prayer and supporting them.  Children can pray and bring offerings.  They also can learn to tell their friends about the good news of Jesus.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

During this Christmas season, I want to remember the missionaries who have given up the comforts of home to go and serve others.  I pray that I can do my part here in my own neighborhood as well!

8/30/2014

The Evil Plastic Bag

Well, unless Jerry Brown vetoes the bill, the one use plastic bag will soon be outlawed in California.

I'm not sure I like the idea of carrying cloth bags everywhere.  That is one more thing to remember, and then I'll have to do more laundry too!  My other option will be to buy the paper bags or heavier plastic bags that the store will now sell for my convenience for at least ten cents each.  This seems like a money grab to me.

I wonder where the money trail goes on this new law?  Or is is just a power grab?  I am a bit of a skeptic, but I remember when paper was banned in favor of the "better for the environment" plastic bag.  What a twisted world we live in!

Here is an article on the subject:

http://www.washingtonpolicy.org/publications/opinion/trendy-drive-ban-plastic-grocery-bags-does-it-really-help-environment

This is a serious study of the impact of all bags on the environment from UK.  I read this a few years ago when cities first started banning plastic bags.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/291023/scho0711buan-e-e.pdf

 Instead of banning bags, the government could encourage people to recycle them.  I personally either recycle or reuse the bags.  I use several disposable bags a day around the house, and I use them as small trash can liners as well.

I've been reading a little on plastic in the ocean, but I would like to see more facts on the subject.  Is that plastic from disposable bags or from other things?  Does it really cause a problem?  Will banning bags in the grocery store really make a difference or is it just a "feel good" thing to do?



8/25/2014

Memories

Jon is leaving for St Louis in a few days to work on his doctorate in philosophy.  I didn't realize it when he was little, but I guess he has always been a philosopher.

Noelle recently found this little memory I had written: 

At the age of four, Jonathan was playing a Monopoly game.  He began to look through the Community Chest cards to select the one he wanted instead of picking up the top card.  I told him he couldn't do that because it was cheating.  Then I realized his young age and said something like "No, it isn't cheating for a four year old.  When you do that at the age of nine, it will be cheating."

Jon drew himself up straight, looked at me and replied, "No, Mom.  When I am nine I won't cheat, I'll lie."

8/02/2014

Small Changes Starting to Add Up!

At the age of 23, Bethany is improving!  We started seeing Pamala Schwarz with the Schwarz Wellness Center about eighteen months ago.  She began doing NAET treatments for Bethany.  We learned that Bethany had severe allergies to eggs, vitamin D, vitamin B, and hormones.  She has now been treated for those allergies.

In addition, Pamala had done some study and learned that iodine deficiencies cause many problems, including mental retardation.  I learned that I am severely deficient in iodine and began taking supplements. Immediately, I noticed a change in my energy level and mental sharpness.  We decided to give Bethany iodine supplements too.  Also, included in Bethany's supplementation is vitamin C, Cell Food, silica (part of the Cell Food brand), and butter and cod liver oil.

Also, we began medical massage for Bethany, and Jacquelyn Little kindly agreed to come to our home and do massage on Bethany's terms (sitting up and being generally uncooperative!).  The results have  been amazing.  Bethany's scoliosis has improved, she can walk without losing her balance, her hands and feet are relaxing, and her range of motion has increased.  The massage seems to have helped with pain as well.

Bethany is much more alert and interactive in the last month.  She pays attention to what is happening in the house, talks more (She can say "Mom," "Dad," and "van.")  She will sometimes complete our sentence when we say something like "Play with _____."  Now Bethany notices where things are when I move them.  She actually followed my lead when I turned my head and looked where I was looking. She has never appeared to pay any attention to what I do, so this is a first!

In addition, she is moving around the house and looking for things to do.  She also can now make simple choices such as deciding whether to take a bath or eat.  When I call everyone to dinner, she comes too.

We have been seeing Bob Doman with NACD for many years and have done a program for Bethany based on his recommendation.  Now that Bethany is feeling better physically and some of the problems causing her mental condition are being addressed, we actually can do the program and see some results!

I am thankful to God for leading us in this direction, and I appreciate all the time and effort spent on Bethany's behalf by people who offer hope even for a young adult operating at a one year old level. Now the real work begins as I figure out how to use Bob Doman's advice to move her forward!

http://nacd.org/ Bob Doman

Pamala Schwarz

4/15/2014

Obamacare--avoiding penalties

I just ran across this post that I had seen in December and then lost.  I like it because it has a run down of choices for insurance, including a sharing program that does not require you to be a church attender.

Here it is:

http://politicalcalculations.blogspot.com/2013/12/how-to-get-real-and-affordable-health.html#.U04ClOZdUmI

3/28/2014

Noah the Movie

I'm not a big movie goer, and I don't know yet whether I will go see the movie.  I've heard enough about Noah from people who have seen it to know that it does not accurately depict the story of Noah as told in the Bible.  I would guess that we Christians have a picture of Noah and his family in our minds from the lessons we learned in childhood, and those may not be accurate either.

That being said, I have mixed thoughts about going to see the movie.  I understand not wanting to participate in supporting a movie that is not Biblically accurate, but I also recognize that the writers and producers are not Christians and they just want to tell a good story.  From what I have heard, the movie is a great action film filled with imaginative ideas of how things might have happened.  I've also heard that Russell Crowe is excellent as Noah.

It also contains dark material (after all, almost everyone and everything dies) which means that it really should be R rated instead of PG-13 according to Michael Medved, a professional movie reviewer. Truthfully, I don't care for action movies or gore and death, so that would probably keep me from seeing it more than anything.

On the other side, the movie at least will get people thinking about the Bible stories.  Perhaps they will pick up the Bible and read it for themselves.  In that case, it might be good to see the movie in order to be able to discuss the differences between the movie and the truth in the Bible.  All in all, I like seeing the Bible moved to the front and center of discussion.  I think as Christians, we need to be be salt and light, and share the truth of God's word with love.

Also, I wonder if we Christians really think about our motives in accepting or rejecting a movie.  The VeggieTales series tells great moral stories, but broad leeway is taken with the truth of what happened in the actual story.  For example, in the story of Jonah, a talking worm is added, and the people of Ninevah are considered evil because they slap each other with fish.  Many of the things that happened in the Jonah movie are not Biblical at all, yet we Christians happily buy VeggieTale movies and encourage others to watch them.  I am guessing that this is because they are made by Christians and they are cute and fun.

Remembering the Biblical admonition to demonstrate love first, I close with I Corinthians 13:1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

Here are links to a wide variety of thoughts and opinions--I'm sure there are many more!

Breitbart review  (excellent negative review about the twisting of scripture)

Thoughts from a Christian pastor who has a son playing Ham in the movie.  (positive)

Ken Ham--Answers in Genesis  (negative--He would be the best source for Biblical accuracy)

Michael Medved  (mixed)

Hugh Hewitt (positive)

Glenn Beck (negative)

Christianity Today (this link shares positive thoughts  but at the bottom of the post, you can go to negative thoughts)

Matt Walsh--excellent review--after reading this, I would definitely not want to see the movie.

Al Mohler--"If we don't tell the story, others will."

Interesting discussion of a Kabbalah theme used in the film

2/16/2014

Love and Math Book Review

Love and Math by Edward Frenkel

After hearing Mr Frenkel discuss his book on the Dennis Prager show, I was intrigued and knew I wanted to read it.  The book did not disappoint me!

Frenkel not only is a genius at mathematics, but he also is an interesting and entertaining author.  Although the book is filled with complex mathematical equations, it also contains numerous anecdotes about mathematicians in history as well as his own personal story.  

The book demonstrates a love for the objectivity and truth of math.  It is a subject that does not change, but is always there, waiting to be discovered.  Even though the author does not mention God, I immediately thought of God as the author of mathematics who has made the beautiful harmony and complexity in our world.

The main portion of the book discusses the Langlands program which is based on the mathematical theory of symmetry.  Frenkel tells the story of how this program has developed and what has been discovered.  He describes how the individual mathematical studies of algebra, geometry, and physics harmonize and demonstrates how a complex equation from one form of math can be inserted into another form of math to solve difficult problems.  

Obviously, Frenkel tells the story of his love for mathematics, and any reader with a desire to learn more about this discipline will be intrigued by this book.  I felt that I just barely scratched the surface of my understanding, so I will be reading it again later this year.
http://www.amazon.com/Love-Math-Heart-Hidden-Reality/dp/0465050743#