Wednesday, July 29, 2015

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH DEPRESSION AND WEIGHT?


By Janet K. Brown

The devil delights in causing depression for saints. He whispers lies in our ears. We repeat them over and over until our spirits are so defeated only a miracle can redeem us.

Depression isn’t new. Look at the prophet, Elijah’s words. 

“I’ve had enough,” he told the Lord. “Take away my life. I’ve got to die sometime, and it might as well be now.”
                             1 Kings 19:4 Life Recovery Bible
  
Jeremiah poured out his depression on the page:  
He has filled me with bitterness and given me a cup of deepest sorrows to drink.
                 Lamentations 3:15 Life Recovery Bible

 In that same chapter of Lamentations in verses twenty-one through twenty-three, Jeremiah tells us the answer to depression. “Yet there is one ray of hope: his compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness, his loving-kindness begins afresh each day.”  


Our only hope. 

God is strong enough to lift our burdens and loving enough to mend our broken heart.
                      Life Recovery Bible, note on page 843

 All forms of depression bring a wedge between us and God.

 Like Jeremiah, the only remedy is soaking in the Word of God, allowing it to soothe and encourage, and reminding ourselves of His faithfulness in the past.

 At the top of my Writing with God’s hope blog,  http://www.janetkbrown.com  I give an inspirational quote of the day. Here’s two I love that help depression.
  
“If God never sleeps, why should both of us stay awake?”
                       The Freedom of Letting Go
                        by Donna Clark Goodrich
                

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right."
                                                      ~ Henry Ford

 Janet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband, Charles. Writing became her second career after retiring from medical coding.
     Worth Her Weight is the author’s first inspirational women’s fiction, but it makes a perfect companion to her previously released, Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness. Both books encompass her passion for diet, fitness, and God’s Word.
Worth Her Weight marks Brown’s third book. Who knew she had a penchant for teens and ghosts? She released her debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, in July, 2012.
     Janet and her husband love to travel with their RV, work in their church, and visit their three daughters, two sons-in-law and three perfect grandchildren.
     Janet teaches workshops on writing, weight loss, and the historical settings of her teen books.

on Twitter at https://twitter.com/janetkbrowntx
E-mail:  Janet.hope@att.net

BACK COVER OF WORTH HER WEIGHT 

How can a woman who gives to everyone but herself accept God’s love and healing when she believes she’s fat, unworthy, and unfixable? Can she be Worth Her Weight?


     LACEY CHANDLER helps her mother, her sister, her friend, and then she binges on food and wonders is there really a God?
     BETTY CHANDLER hates being handicapped and useless, so she lashes out at the daughter that helps, and the God who doesn’t seem to care.
     TOBY WHEELER loves being police chief in Wharton Rock, but when the devil invades the small town, he can’t release control.


Book Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTotxQGtGn0

 This inspirational women’s fiction is available now at http://www.pen-l.com/WorthHerWeight.html

And on Amazon:
http://tinyurl.com/kkw94b6

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

FAITH IN TIMES OF GRIEF

Excerpt from Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of the Eternal
By Ada Brownell

I don’t know if there is any pain that equals the loss of a child. I do know I met mothers who lost children decades before and their eyes still filled with tears when they talked about it. I still cry sometimes myself.
Wave after wave of grief hit me in the hours, days, weeks, months, and years after Carolyn left us. At first, the impact almost knocked me off my feet, like the waves I loved to ride at Santa Cruz beach when we visited Michael and Carolyn. When I’d walk toward shore, often I’d forget to watch
Carolyn on her wedding day holding her first niece, Melissa
the waves and a big one would catch me with my back turned, nearly causing me to lose my footing. Grief had the same impact.
The first day back at work after I arrived home following the funeral, I interviewed some ladies I knew. They asked how the family was and didn’t know Carolyn was gone. I regained my composure while I told them about her death and how the other children were doing. Yet, as I walked to my car, my breath came in short gasps, the pain of loss almost consuming me.
On the other hand, I found that the Lord’s grace overwhelmed me periodically in a similar way. I’d be going about my business when suddenly the Lord would remind me of a scripture, or someone would minister to me, giving renewed strength and peace.
I began reading the book of Hebrews and it strengthened my faith so much I kept reading.
Oh, how sweet the Word is! To this day I’m still awed by Hebrews 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
Jesus tasted death for my Carolyn! Jesus tasted death for me! Because of Jesus, death is no longer bitter because He took the sting (the bitterness, the unpleasantness) from death (1 Corinthians 15:55). When He walked out of the tomb alive, death’s sting was left behind like the grave clothes cast aside.
I read Hebrews and continued my intense search. I was amazed to see how much of the Bible is devoted to death and eternal life.
Right in the middle of the “faith chapter” in Hebrews 11, the writer stops telling about the miraculous exploits of men and women of faith and says:
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them from afar off, and were persuaded of them and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country [of their own]. And truly, if they had been mindful of what country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city (Hebrews 11:13–16).

Even the book of Acts, written as a history of the church, has eternal life as its theme because the apostles’ message was Jesus Christ risen from the dead. Peter’s first sermon talked about what Jesus did to the process of death as he said, “Jesus of Nazareth…whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death” (Acts 2:22–24).
I followed the paper trail left in the Bible, the writings of godly men and even the songs from generations before us, and saw God did something about death and gives peace to those who face it.
Sure, death means sorrow. Oh, such sorrow! Yes, we miss our loved ones, and at times we feel our heart is cut out.
Carolyn when in high school
Those who’ve never stared death in the face are terrorized by it. I’m sure nearly everyone who knows he is dying feels fear. But one thing I’ve discovered in interviewing many people who have come close to death, especially if they know God, is the paralyzing fear disappears when they get close to crossing over.
I remember Janelle, who received a liver transplant. Before the liver donor was found, she came close to dying more than once.
I met Janelle right after the transplant. The new liver worked marvelously, providing strength and life for her formerly dying body. She’d just been discharged from the hospital. She looked so energized and talked about how much she loved hearing snow squeak under her feet and feeling the wind blow in her face.
But she found time to add how the fear of death vanished in those times of sweet communion with God as she lay on the verge of dying.
If we believe what Jesus said to Martha, “Whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die,” (John 11:26) everything about death changes.
Suddenly, some of the old songs have new meaning. I have new zest for singing: “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!”[1]
          My faith was returning. I now believed the exit from earth is only the entrance of our souls into our grand abode for eternity. But I wanted to know what happens between death and resurrection. I wanted to know what happens to the body. And I still wanted to look for scientific evidence that we are more than flesh. There were more things to investigate.
Interested in more? Chapter 4 is titled, "What do you See in A Raw Egg?"

Purchase Swallowed by life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal HERE
Only $2.99.




[1]Eliza E. Hewitt, 1851-1920., Mrs. John G. Wilson, 1865-1942, Worship and Service Hymnal, Hope Publishing Co., 5707 W. Lake St., Chicago,, 1966

Saturday, July 25, 2015

LIFE AFTER DEATH?

The following is an excerpt from Ada Brownell's book, Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death Resurrection and the Eternal

The end of Chapter three will be published tomorrow, July 25, 2015

Purchase the book Here


3. Carolyn

The music was the part that worried me.
When our daughter, Carolyn, suddenly became ill, she kept telling her husband, Michael, about the music.
As a toddler, Carolyn created songs on one of those little toy grand pianos like Schroeder plays in the comic strip Peanuts. She picked out “Jesus Loves Me” when she was three or four years old.
By the time she was five, she was playing her older brother’s piano lessons by ear. When he slid off one end of the bench after practicing the thirty minutes I required, she slid on the other and played all the songs by ear.
Her older brother, Gary, became an excellent musician, too, but he gave up trying to compete with Carolyn on the piano.
She was eager to have piano lessons herself. By the time she was eight or nine she was accompanying Gary when he played his trumpet.
Carolyn played difficult Bach and other great composers’ music when she was in the early elementary school grades. Her only restriction was her tiny hands, which couldn’t reach the span for some of the more advanced music. She not only could read the music, if she heard it, she could copy it.
It was when she was nine years old we learned she had perfect pitch. Not only was she able to identify any note played on a musical instrument or sung, she could tell you the pitch of the vacuum sweeper’s hum or the note that rings from a fine glass.
One time before we knew she had perfect pitch, she embarrassed us considerably when she approached the organist after a church service and informed her she was playing an E-natural where an E-flat should be. It was true!
Sometimes Carolyn would fill bottles with varying amounts of water, then show her smaller brothers and sisters how to play a tune with them.
 In her early teens, she accompanied the Damascus Singers, a gospel singing group of which I was a member. Much our music came from recorded albums instead of a book. Carolyn listened to the keyboard accompanist on gospel recordings and exactly copied what the keyboardist played.

In college, she majored in music. The hours of practicing and the hazards of roller-skating, however, set her back when she had a tendon injury to her hand.
Unless she was away at college and until she got married, our home was filled with her music—classical, jazz, and gospel.
Interestingly, she never realized what a special gift she had until she was in her mid-twenties. She didn’t want to be different or noticed because of her great talent. Often when she played a piano solo in church or another performance, she’d bow her head so her long hair would cover most of her face. She also had a deadpan expression on occasion. Once she was playing a whole orchestra of music on a synthesizer with a choir production and everyone kept craning their necks to see who was playing those instruments. They couldn’t even tell she was playing by the look on her face.
The flute was the instrument she played for band. She also had a wonderful soprano voice that could hit a high C with no effort, right on pitch because of her talent and wonderful ear.
After she married Michael Coney, a classmate at Bethany Bible College in Santa Cruz, California, she began playing the organ and was the organist at her church until her illness.
“She’s the only white person I’ve ever known who could really play soul on the organ,” said the church’s black music minister. He had just led the youth choir in a special production and she was the accompanist.
She thought maybe the workout using her feet (yes, both feet) on the pedals might have something to do with the pain in her side. Before the tests were completed that showed she had Burkitt’s lymphoma, her body began to swell from a huge tumor in her abdomen. She was taken to the hospital and when I arrived in California from where we live in Colorado, her normal weight of one hundred ten pounds had risen to about one hundred forty.
Michael told me she had been hearing beautiful music that no one else could hear.
“It’s not like any music I’ve heard,” Carolyn told Michael.
In the many nights I spent at her bedside in the hospital, sometimes she would ask me where the music was coming from.
I was expecting a miracle. I told myself I was just having hearing problems because I couldn’t hear it.
In the end, there was music I could hear. On Sunday, January 28, 1990, after two months of chemotherapy that was marvelously effective at first but also had horrendous side effects, cancer cells became immune to the drugs. The cancer cells made an immense attack on her body, this time causing leukemia and spreading cancer to the liver and spleen. Pneumonia developed in her lungs.
We were gathering blood samples from our other four children to find a match for a bone marrow transplant. But that afternoon, Carolyn told Michael she felt something was going to happen right away, and she was scared.
The family that was there gathered around her bed to pray. As I began to pray, I started to quote from Psalm 34, “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in thee Lord: the humble shall hear thereof and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
“What’s that you’re saying?” Carolyn asked. “It’s a song. Sing it.”
We began to sing, and she sang with us. She was so ill, but her high harmony blended with ours with amazing strength.
Suddenly she stopped and began encouraging us in a loud voice. She’d never done anything like this in her life. She was always shy about public speaking. She expressed her faith and gave us words of encouragement and hope, stressing the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ. I almost expected her to get out of bed, completely healed.
Instead, in less than twenty-four hours, she was gone. The next few hours were filled with shock and disbelief.
That night we gathered in Carolyn and Michael’s living room and found what is meant when God’s Word talks about peace.
The first night, the teenagers ministered to us by reading from the Bible. Our youngest daughter, Jeanette, and Carolyn’s stepson, Robert, found appropriate scripture passages for our needs.
The next day as other relatives came in, my oldest brother, Dr. Virgil Nicholson, and his wife, Mildred, who both taught at Evangel University for years, shared a long list of Bible verses with us. We wrote them down and began reading them and other passages God revealed. We read several times a day those first few days.
After I went home, when I could feel my peace slipping away, I’d go read the Bible and pray awhile.
I went to sleep at night repeating the name of Jesus or quoting, “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

Although I lost my mother when I was twenty-one, and other heart-wrenching deaths snatched loved ones in my husband’s and my families, I knew in the pit of my stomach this would be the time when I discovered whether or not I believed what I thought I did all these years.
THE REMAINDER OF CHAPTER THREE WILL BE PUBLISHED TOMORROW

Purchase Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of the Eternal: HERE

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mysteries of Life: When does life begin?

 By Ada Brownell


In the morning, take a good look at your egg before you fry it. The mystery of life lies before you. If the egg was fertilized, before you broke it there was enough information there to boggle your mind.
God put DNA into the clear and golden slime of a chicken egg that blueprints the breed,  the ability to eat and digest food, the machinery to make more chickens, what color the feathers will be, how big the chicken will grow, the cluck and the crow, and beady little eyes that see—all sorts of wonderful things, just as he put amazing things in the eggs that became you and me.
Life. What a mysterious gift.

We see life everywhere, but we have difficulty grasping what it is. Scientists appear to have found ways to define death; they have more trouble with life.
The abortion rights and pro-life groups are at loggerheads over when life begins—whether it’s when the egg is fertilized with the sperm, when the egg attaches to the uterine wall, at a certain trimester, or at birth.

I interviewed the director of an agency that dispenses morning-after pills who said a woman isn’t pregnant until the fertilized egg attaches to the womb. The morning-after pill causes the woman’s uterus to shed its lining, preventing a fertilized egg from attaching and living.

 Other developments surround life. Human pregnancy was reported from artificial insemination in 1799. In 1952, frogs were cloned from tadpole cells. In 1970, mice embryos were cloned, then other cloned animals soon followed. Sheep embryos were cloned in 1979 and cattle in 1980. An adult sheep, Dolly, was cloned in 1997.

Cloning is the process of making an identical copy of something asexually with DNA fragments, cells, or organisms. In 1993, George Washington University researchers cloned human embryos, but there are no documented cases of a living human produced through cloning.

Test-tube babies, though, are somewhat common today. The first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, was born in 1978 in Britain. A frozen embryo from test-tube fertilization produced a girl named Zoe in Australia in 1984. In 1986, surrogate mother Mary Beth Whitehead, who agreed to have an embryo implanted in her uterus so that another couple could have a child, refused to relinquish the baby girl and sparked a landmark court case.

In vitro fertilization sometimes helps infertile couples have children if they can afford the expensive procedure, and often the births are multiple.

 All this work with living cells, yet humankind has not been able to adequately explain life or create it. We always have to start with something living, such as sperm and eggs, a seed, tissue, or a cell.
According to Pasteur’s law of biogenesis, if  ‘life comes from life,’ then life’s information must come from its parent’s information.

“Biologists have long sought the laws that govern life, but it is only now that we see the molecular detail that these laws have appeared. What we discover is not a naturalistic phenomenon, but intelligent design,” says Alex Williams of Creation Ministries International in his article, “How Life Works.”

            The Bible says, “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his      nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7).

According to the Stanford School of Regenerative Medicine, the human body is estimated to have about one hundred trillion cells, a living community, with each individual cell having an assigned place to occupy and a specific role to play. Eventually something happens, even with all those living cells, that causes a person to die. Without life, every cell in the body dies and decays.

Death came because of sin (Genesis 3), but God promised a Redeemer. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”

That’s one big reason why I wrote the book, Swallowed by LIFE. “While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:3–5 NLT).

Jesus said, “Whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:26).
Do you believe?

Copyright © 2011 Ada B. Brownell

All rights reserved.
Discover many more of the mysteries surrounding the eternal, including evidence you are more than a body.
Buy the Amazon best selling book on Ada Brownell’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell

 Also available at Barnes and Noble on Ada Brownell's author page: 
http://ow.ly/PUWHO

 

Monday, July 20, 2015

THE ART OF SACRIFICE BY AUTHOR GINGER SOLOMON



In my latest release, a novella entitled Mr. Christmas and Miss Scrooge, part of the Love in Mistletoe Springs collection, my hero had to make some sacrifices in his life to move home and help his mother deal with her cancer. Often writers are asked how much of ourselves we write into our stories. In this case, I only wrote a bit. That may seem like a random change of topic, but in reality it’s connected.

In November of 2001, my mother was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Her biggest concern wasn’t for her own health, but mine. I was newly pregnant with my sixth child. The next seven months were some of the hardest in my life. She went in and out of the hospital several times. Toward the end of my pregnancy she developed an inoperable tumor on her spine which paralyzed her from the waist down. The doctor thought I would bring her to my home and care for her, but I couldn’t. No matter how much I wanted to sacrifice for her, I couldn’t provide her care to the detriment of the baby I carried or my other five children—the oldest of which was ten—whom I home schooled. So, with a heavy heart, we arranged for her to go into a nursing home where she died four days after the birth of my son. I believe she waited until I had my baby to allow herself to die.
To this day, over thirteen years later, I sometimes wonder if I made the right decision. Could I have made the sacrifice and made her last weeks on earth better surrounded by her family? And then I consider my children, and I know I made the best choice for them.
Sometimes the desire in our hearts wars with what is right. For my family, bringing my mother home with me would
Ginger Solomon
have been disastrous. For someone else in a similar situation it would have worked out fine.
First John 4:10 shows us about real sacrifice. “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” [NLT, emphasis mine]
And he asks us to make a sacrifice to Him as well. Hebrews 13:15 says, “Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.”[NLT, emphasis mine]
For the hero in my story, it wasn’t too much for him to sacrifice his lucrative job in the city to move back to Mistletoe Springs to help take care of his mom. And while there, he found something he wouldn’t have found otherwise…love.
Have you had to make a sacrifice for someone you love?


MEET GINGER SOLOMON:
Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer — in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest four, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre, some sci-fi/fantasy, and some suspense. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for two blogs. In addition to all that, she loves animals, likes to do needlework (knitting, crocheting, and sometimes cross-stitch), and is a fan of Once Upon a Time and Dr. Who.


Blurb for Love in Mistletoe Springs:
The Mistletoe Springs animal shelter loses their grant, endangering the lives of countless stray dogs, cats, even birds and turtles. The community attempts to save the shelter by running a Christmas in July fundraiser. Groups of volunteers scramble to get all the details together while managing their personal lives. For ten people, love gets in the way. 

Blurb for Mr. Christmas and Miss Scrooge:
Mitch Silverton agreed to be in charge of decorating for the fundraiser. And he needs his boss, Margaret Holberg, to donate her family's vast array of decorations to make the day unforgettable. BUT... 

She's not sharing. Christmas is not a holiday she wants to celebrate in July, and saving the animal shelter is not high on her list of important things to do. 

He wants her to share more than the decorations. He wants her heart. Will he succeed in changing Miss Scrooge into Mrs. Christmas?

My links:

Buy link for Love in Mistletoe Springs

Friday, July 17, 2015

THE TELEGRAPH AND FREEDOM: WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT?


    By Ada Nicholson Brownell

I brought my husband’s telegraph “bug” to illustrate one of the lessons when I taught “God in American History” to an after-school and summers class for elementary school children.
Wiggling the red “tail” of the instrument my husband used in his early years on the railroad, I told how the trembling hand of Samuel Morse tapped a telegraph key on May 24, 1844, in the Washington, D.C. capital building.
“Within seconds,” I said, “a crowd erupted in cheers forty miles away at the B and O Railroad Depot in Baltimore, Maryland, when the telegraph clicked there.”
Students’ eyes sparkled at the success. But I pointed out the message sent that day from the U.S. Supreme Court chamber, “What hath God Wrought?” might have greater significance today than the method of communication. Freedom was behind Morse’s ability to send such a message.
Every year I appreciate freedom more.
Last Christmas I rejoiced because carols celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ once again filled the airways. Often when my friends and I gather for Bible study and prayer, I thank God for a nation where we can invite anyone we choose and worship openly. I thank God when I see a dozen Bibles on the shelves in my office and others around the house.
I’m thankful today I was able to share a scripture on Facebook and send encouraging words to friends across thousands of miles without worry of censorship.
I rejoiced when I visited Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and other historic sites where I noticed scriptures scrawled on the Liberty Bell, in the Lincoln Memorial, and over George Washington’s tomb.
 Moses handing down The Ten Commandments hovers over the entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court Building and the commandments are engraved on the chamber doors and on the wall behind the Supreme Court Justices. At the laying of the cornerstone for the building on October 13, 1932, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes stated, "The Republic endures and this is the symbol of its faith."
On my shelves for decades I’ve had a little book, Documents of Democracy. The other day, I read once again these words in the Declaration of Independence from July 4, 1776: “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness….”
The Mayflower compact begins, “In the name of God, Amen. “
The First Amendment to the Bill of Rights says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of people to peacefully assemble, or to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address ends with “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
What a wonderful thing God wrought when He blessed the Pilgrims and other immigrants with the wisdom to build a nation on freedom.
Nevertheless, I know we don’t need to live in America to be free. Around the world, God’s people, even like the Apostle Paul, are in prison because of their faith—but their spirits are free.
 Jesus talked about freedom as he quoted this fulfilled prophecy from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:17-19). The Apostle Paul wrote about the freedom of God’s grace in Romans 6.
I’ve been amazed at how the gospel was wrapped in freedom at the beginning, Adam and Eve chose to sin because God gave them freedom to do so, and he gives the same freedom to us. But freedom to open the door when Jesus knocks and allow Him into our lives is only the beginning.
Old Gospel songs proclaim, “He Set Me Free,” telling the story of being released from sin and death’s chains mentioned in Romans 8. Yes, God “wrought a miracle” when America came into being with all its freedoms, but I know total freedom only comes from God.

I’ve experienced the joy unspeakable, even when things weren’t going well. For when the Son set me free, I was free indeed. (John 8:35-37).

FREEDOM: WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT?


                                By Ada Nicholson Brownell

I brought my husband’s telegraph “bug” to illustrate one of the lessons when I taught “God in American History” to an after-school and summers class for elementary school children.
Wiggling the red “tail” of the instrument my husband used in his early years on the railroad, I told how the trembling hand of Samuel Morse tapped a telegraph key on May 24, 1844, in the Washington, D.C. capital building.
“Within seconds,” I said, “a crowd erupted in cheers forty miles away at the B and O Railroad Depot in Baltimore, Maryland, when the telegraph clicked there.”
Students’ eyes sparkled at the success. But I pointed out the message sent that day from the U.S. Supreme Court chamber, “What hath God Wrought?” might have greater significance today than the method of communication. Freedom was behind Morse’s ability to send such a message.
Every year I appreciate freedom more.
Last Christmas I rejoiced because carols celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ once again filled the airways. Often when my friends and I gather for Bible study and prayer, I thank God for a nation where we can invite anyone we choose and worship openly. I thank God when I see a dozen Bibles on the shelves in my office and others around the house.
I’m thankful today I was able to share a scripture on Facebook and send encouraging words to friends across thousands of miles without worry of censorship.
I rejoiced when I visited Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and other historic sites where I noticed scriptures scrawled on the Liberty Bell, in the Lincoln Memorial, and over George Washington’s tomb.
 Moses handing down The Ten Commandments hovers over the entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court Building and the commandments are engraved on the chamber doors and on the wall behind the Supreme Court Justices. At the laying of the cornerstone for the building on October 13, 1932, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes stated, "The Republic endures and this is the symbol of its faith."
On my shelves for decades I’ve had a little book, Documents of Democracy. The other day, I read once again these words in the Declaration of Independence from July 4, 1776: “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness….”
The Mayflower compact begins, “In the name of God, Amen. “
The First Amendment to the Bill of Rights says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of people to peacefully assemble, or to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address ends with “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
What a wonderful thing God wrought when He blessed the Pilgrims and other immigrants with the wisdom to build a nation on freedom.
Nevertheless, I know we don’t need to live in America to be free. Around the world, God’s people, even like the Apostle Paul, are in prison because of their faith—but their spirits are free.
 Jesus talked about freedom as he quoted this fulfilled prophecy from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:17-19). The Apostle Paul wrote about the freedom of God’s grace in Romans 6.
I’ve been amazed at how the gospel was wrapped in freedom at the beginning, Adam and Eve chose to sin because God gave them freedom to do so, and he gives the same freedom to us. But freedom to open the door when Jesus knocks and allow Him into our lives is only the beginning.
Old Gospel songs proclaim, “He Set Me Free,” telling the story of being released from sin and death’s chains mentioned in Romans 8. Yes, God “wrought a miracle” when America came into being with all its freedoms, but I know total freedom only comes from God.

I’ve experienced the joy unspeakable, even when things weren’t going well. For when the Son set me free, I was free indeed. (John 8:35-37).

Thursday, July 16, 2015

IMAGINE AMERICA WITHOUT ITS JUDEO-CHRISTIAN HERITAGE



                                                            By Ada Brownell
           
Jews and Christians continually are criticized in the United States today, but the world would be a sorry place without its Judeo- Christian heritage.

Yes, evil things do occur in the name of God. Nevertheless, those who obey the Bible change the world for the better, and not only by bringing good news of redemption and eternal life.

Christian charities housed and fed the homeless and hungry around the world for centuries. Missionaries often bring free health care and medicine when they go to tell the world about Jesus. Christians are there, too, when disaster strikes.

Religion was the reason people learned to read. Since the Middle Ages, there has been near universal literacy among Jewish men because they were required to read the Torah by age 13.

In the early church, Christians copied the apostles’ writings by hand, as was done meticulously for centuries with Old Testament scriptures, and read them to churches. But with the Reformation came a desire for everyone to read scripture. Then Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press and the first book printed was the Gutenberg Bible.
Gutenberg Bible original cover

According to the Encyclopedia Americana, education in colonial New England grew out of the Reformation as well. Puritans made sure their children could read the Bible. In the Middle Colonies, religious sects birthed early schools. In the Southern Colonies, parents tutored their children or educated them in a private school, often so they could read God’s Word. In New England, teachers were hired because of their soundness in the faith. The home and church provided most education until the early 1900s.

Universities and colleges were started by religious organizations:  At first, Harvard to train preachers; Yale for training in church work, civil duties, the arts and sciences; Vanderbilt for teaching law, medicine, theology and the arts; Baylor was the fruit of the Baptist General Convention; Boston University was started by Methodists for training in theology; Boston College was Catholic, as was Fordham; Cornell College was Methodist; Rutgers University for 80 years included the New Brunswick Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church of America.

 The world still is being educated by Christians. Wycliffe Translators live with primitive tribes and give them a written language and teach them to read. Wycliffe translated the Bible into hundreds of languages, and brought literacy to many nations. In their “Last Languages Campaign,” Wycliffe’s translators hope to have the 2,200 last languages translated by the year 2025.  Currently, Wycliffe has 1,400 translation literacy and language development programs, touching nearly 600 million people in 176 countries.

The church birthed most of the hospitals in our nation.

Jews also established hospitals, some of the best in the world, such as National Jewish Hospital in Denver, and Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, Israel. The Israeli hospital was founded by Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, which still underwrites a large part of its budget. In 2005, Hadassah was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because of its equal treatment of all patients regardless of ethnic and religious differences, and efforts to build bridges to peace.

A Hadassah member told me the medical center treats Palestinians injured in the wars and conflicts between their states.

Christians visit those in prison, mental hospitals and nursing homes; care for orphans and speak for those who can’t speak for themselves, such infants in the womb.

The church teaches children to obey their parents--then they provide wholesome activities for youth—mostly for no charge.

Christians will come to our side when we’re dying, and comfort those left behind.

Yet, it is not because of works of righteousness that God saved us and gave us the promise of eternal life, but because of His mercy.