Thursday, December 29, 2016

For Such A Time As This

It is always darkest
 just before the Day dawneth.
-Thomas Fuller

" The choice before us is plain:
Christ or chaos,
conviction or compromise,
discipline or disintegration.
I am rather tired of hearing
about our rights and privileges
as Americans.
The time is come
-it is now-
when we  ought to hear
about the duties and responsibilities 
of our citizenship.
America's future depends
upon her accepting and
demonstrating God's government."
 -Reverend Peter Marshall Sr.

GOD, give us men!
A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, 
true faith and ready hands,

Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;

Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty, and in private thinking; 

For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.
-Josiah Gilbert Holland 

 “A truly humble man is sensible 
of his natural distance from God; 
of his dependence on Him;
 of the insufficiency of 
his own power and wisdom; 
 and that it is by God's power 
that he is upheld and provided for,
 and that he needs God's wisdom
 to lead and guide him,
 and His might to enable him 
to do what he ought to do for Him.” 
-Reverend Jonathan Edwards

Has the year brought sadness?
Joy is yet in store.
Has it given gladness?
Next year giveth more.

Let your Father measure
All your pain and care,
Let Him weigh the burden
That your heart must bear,
Sending light or shadow
As He deemeth best,
For in His sure wisdom
You can safely rest.

Peace for all the morrows,
Strength for all the days,
These shall be your portion
Through the New Year's ways.

Annie Johnson Flint

If I can endure for this minute
Whatever is happening to me,
No matter how heavy my heart is
Or how dark the moment may be-
If I can remain calm and quiet
With all the world crashing about me,
Secure in the knowledge God loves me
When everyone else seems to doubt me-
If I can but keep on believing
What I know in my heart to be true,
That darkness will fade with the morning
And that this will pass away, too-

Then nothing in life can defeat me
For as long as this knowledge remains
I can suffer whatever is happening
For I know God will break all of the chains
That are binding me tight in the darkness
And trying to fill me with fear-
For there is no night without dawning
And I know that my morning is near.
-Helen Steiner Rice 

Sunrise at Virginia Beach

 God is more concerned with our character
than with our achievements.
Achievements have importance only
in the realm of time.
Character is eternal.
It determines what we will be
through eternity.
-Derek Prince

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Prayer For Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel

"Many a time and much have they
afflicted me from my youth up
-let Israel now say-
Many a time and much have they afflicted
me from my youth up, yet,
they have not prevailed against me.
The plowers plowed upon my back;
they made long their furrows.
The Lord is uncompromisingly righteous;
He has cut asunder the thick cords
by which the wicked enslaved us.
Let them all be put to shame and
turned backward who hate Zion.
Let them be as the grass upon the housetops,
which withers before it grows up,
With which the mower fills not his hand,
nor the binder of sheaves his bosom-
While those who go by do not say,
The blessing of the Lord be upon you!
We bless you in the name of the Lord!"
Psalm 129

The LORD is righteous: 
He hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked.
The Lord is righteous,.... Or gracious and merciful;
 hence acts of mercy are called righteousness
 in the Hebrew language;
 the Lord has compassion on His people
 under their afflictions, and delivers them;
  is faithful to His promises of salvation to them,
 and just and righteous to render tribulation
 to them that trouble them,
 and take vengeance upon them;
 He hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked:
 alluding to the cords with which
 the plough is fastened to the oxen,
 which being cut, 
 they cannot go on ploughing;
 or to the cords of whips, 
which when, cut cannot be
 used to any purpose: it designs
 the breaking of the confederacies
 of wicked men against the people of God; 
 confounding their counsels and schemes, 
and disappointing their devices; 
so that they cannot perform their enterprises,
 or carry their designs into execution, 
or go on with and finish their intentions. 

Let them all be confounded,.... Or "ashamed": 
as all the enemies of God's people 
will be sooner or later,
 in this world...
 when Christ shall come in the clouds of heaven;
  let them be disappointed of their views, aims, and ends,
 when they will be confounded, as disappointed persons are..."
"Psalm 129"
 Gill's Exposition on the Bible

 “Arise, O Lord, into Thy rest; 
Thou, and the ark of Thy strength.”
 Psalm 132:8

Arise, O Lord, our God, arise
And enter now into Thy rest;
O let this house be Thine abode,
Forever with Thy presence blest.

Thy gracious cov’nant, Lord, fulfill,
Turn not away from us Thy face;
Establish Thou Messiah’s throne
And let Him reign within this place.

Thy Zion Thou hast chosen, Lord,
And Thou hast said, I love her well,
This is My constant resting place,
And here will I delight to dwell.

I will abundantly provide
For Zion’s good, the Lord hath said;
I will supply her daily need
And satisfy her poor with bread.

 Words: The Psalter
Music: Herr Je­su Christ (Bach),
 Pen­sum Sac­rum,
 Arranged by Johann  S. Bach

The Eastern Gate
Jerusalem, Israel 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

In Defense of "Little House"

Author Laura Ingalls Wilder

 During a recent interview with the
   National Museum of the American Indian Magazine,
 Native American writer, Louise Erdrich 
claimed she wrote childrens' books
 "out of frustration" with the
 "Little House On The Prairie" series of books
 written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Ms. Erdrich believes these books, 
much beloved by generations of 
American children and adults alike, 
are "full of racism" and
 "the valorization of those who took 
Native lands without a thought."

 While I am familiar with Ms. Erdrich's work,
 it seems she is not even vaguely familiar
 with the story of the Ingalls family
 or the "Little House" series of books,
or many of the other prolific
 writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Pa Ingalls building the "Little House On The Prairie"
Illustration By Garth Williams

Here is the letter I  recently e-mailed
to the Editor of NMAI Magazine
in defense of Laura and "Little House"

Dear Ms. Thrasher,
  As a supporter of the National Museum of the American Indian, I always look forward to receiving your magazine in my mailbox. However, after reading the interview with writer Louise Erdrich in your Winter 2016 edition, I was truly disappointed by her insinuation that the "Little House" book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder are "full of racism". 
The reference made by interviewer Phoebe Farris in regards to the Ingalls family  as "European settlers" is also inaccurate.
Laura Ingalls Wilder was an American citizen. She was born on February 7, 1867 in Pepin, Wisconsin. Her parents were American citizens. Her father, Charles Ingalls, was born in New York State, and her mother, Caroline Quiner Ingalls, was born in Wisconsin.
 In the second book of the series,"Little House On The Prairie" the Ingalls family left their home in Wisconsin and traveled to Kansas, or what was then called "Indian Territory"  because Pa Ingalls had learned that the government had recently opened up the land there to settlers.

Throughout the entire "Little House" series, Pa Ingalls is presented as a fair-minded man who sought to be on friendly terms with his neighbors on the frontier, including the local Indians, despite the fact that he realized too late that he and his family were actually squatting on land belonging to the Osage tribe.
 Nevertheless, Pa sincerely hoped for a peaceful co-existence with them.  Early on in the book, one of his concerns was that he had unknowingly built his family's log cabin too close to a trail frequently used by the neighboring Osage tribe.

However, as a result of the expanding population of white settlers on their land, some of the tribes in Indian Territory grew increasingly angry and wanted to wage war against them.

 In the book, the lives of Laura and her family and the other white settlers were saved by a noble Osage chief named Soldat du Chene.  (There was an actual Osage chief by that name.)
After preventing a massacre of the white settlers,  Soldat du Chene led the people of his tribe along the trail by the Ingalls cabin, having been forced out of Indian Territory by the government. The entire Ingalls family sadly watched them go, especially Laura, who wanted to adopt a little Indian baby riding by on a pony.  Only a few weeks later, she and her family were also forced out by the government.

  In addition to making Soldat du Chene the unlikely hero of "Little House On The Prairie", in the sixth "Little House" book entitled, "The Long Winter" an elderly Sioux warrior comes to warn the white settlers in DeSmet, Dakota Territory (now South Dakota) of the impending brutal winter weather which would last from October to April.

Whether the story of the Indian's warning is actually true or not, that Laura would include this dramatic episode in her book, I believe says something about the prolific mindset of this much beloved American author.

Pa and Laura twisting wild hay
to burn as fuel to keep warm after
the town's supply of coal
ran out during 
"The Long Winter"


The "Little House"  books were written as part of the history of America's westward expansion as seen through the eyes and memories of someone who lived through it. Laura believed that the stories of her close-knit, pioneering family should be preserved and shared with future generations.  And, although these books do reflect the cultural and societal norms of that time and place, which includes the fear and prejudice expressed by some of the white settlers on the frontier, I do not believe these books were written to promote or to encourage racism against American Indians or anyone else.

Thank you for reading this e-mail. 

Sincerely Yours,
Pamela Kelly

*Often called the ninth "Little House" book,
 "The First Four Years" 
was not a part of the original series. 
 The outline of this
unfinished autobiographical novel, 
found among Laura's personal papers after her death,
 was published just the way it was written, in 1971. 

On A Personal Note...
As someone with Cherokee ancestry
 flowing in my veins,
I am very proud of a museum 
in our nation's capitol which honors
the histories and unique cultures of
 America's many indigenous peoples.  
  While much of what happened in
the last centuries between white Americans and
the American Indian tribes, which once vastly
populated this nation, was downright
ugly and disturbing, we cannot change
 what happened in the past. 
 What we can do in our 21st century
tech world of today is learn from the past,
 appreciate the lessons-both good and bad-
which the past teaches us, and try hard, as both
individuals and as citizens of this great nation,
not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Sometimes, all it takes is a change of heart,
and a willingness to see that although someone is
of a different race or skin color or culture,
beneath the surface of every one of us is a
hopelessly flawed human being.

"There but for the grace of God, go I."
-John Bradford

 Suffering passes,
while love is eternal.
That's a gift you
have received from God..."
-Laura Ingalls Wilder

The original site of the
"Little House On The Prairie"
Independence, Kansas

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Merry Christmas Everywhere


In A World That Seems Not Only To Be Changing
By Reverend Peter Marshall Sr.

Byers Choice
Scottish Santa Claus

In a world that seems not only to be changing,
but even to be dissolving,
there are some tens of millions of us
who want Christmas to be the same...

with the same old greeting
"Merry Christmas"
and no other.  

We long for the abiding love among men of good will
which the season brings...

believing in the ancient miracle of Christmas
with its softening, sweetening influence to
tug at our hearts strings once again.

 "God bless us all, every one!"

We want to hold on to the old customs and traditions
because they strengthen our family ties,
bind us to our friends,
make us one with all mankind
for whom the Child was born,
and bring us back again to the God Who gave
His only begotten Son, that
"whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life."

Fontanini  Nativity

So we will not "spend" Christmas...
nor "observe" Christmas.
We will "keep" Christmas-keep it as it is...
in all the loveliness of its ancient traditions.

" Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing!"
-Issac Watts

Byers Choice
Christmas Caroler Dolls

May we keep it in our hearts,
that we may be kept in its hope.

Reverend Peter Marshall Sr.
Twice-elected Chaplain of the Senate
of the United States of America

The Heart of Christmas

And God said,
"Let there be light"
and there was light."
Genesis 1:3    

  "In the beginning was the Word.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
All things were made through Him,
and apart from Him nothing was made
that has come into being.
In Him was life,
and the life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overpowered it."
John 1:1-5

Moses' Christmas Card

"And I will put enmity between 
you and the woman,
and between your offspring
and her Offspring;
He will
bruise and tread your head underfoot,
and you will lie in wait and
bruise His heel."
Genesis 3:15

 Into this lost and fallen world,
God in His great love and mercy
sent His Beloved Son,
through the seed of a human woman,
to be the Savior of mankind.
Messiah, through His victory
over the forces of satanic darkness
and death on the cross, fulfilled the
wonderful promise of God
spoken here.

Sweet Majesty

Sometimes in the night it comes to me
That God, enthroned in awesome majesty,
Revealed in tend'rest, sweet simplicity
His love for man.

Did He, compassionate, know from the start
That I could take a baby to my heart;
That from a manger bed He could impart
His perfect plan?

And did He know, with the shepherds in the night
My soul could take exultant, winged flight
And follow, joyously, a radiant light
To Bethlehem?

Here, as I kneel, with heart too full for speech,
I ponder how an angel choir could reach
Throughout all time, to all the world to teach
Peace! Peace to men!
-Marion Lien

"Mary Took Her Baby"
Cecily Mary Barker

"Now there were shepherds in the same region,
living out in the fields and guarding their
flock at night.
Suddenly, an angel of Adonai stood before them,
and the glory of Adonai shone all around them;
and they were absolutely terrified.
But the angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid! For behold, 
I proclaim Good News to you,
which shall be great joy 
to all the people.

 Angel Announces The Birth Of Jesus
To The Shepherds
Harold Copping

A Savior is born to you today
in the city of David
Who is Messiah the Lord.
And the sign to you is this:
You will find an infant wrapped in strips
of cloth and lying in a manger."
And suddenly a multitude of 
heavenly armies appeared with the angel,
praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth, shalom to men of good will."
Luke 2:8-14

"He makes His angels winds,
and His servants a flame of fire."
Hebrews 1:7


 Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.


Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.
Shepherds, in the field abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing;
Yonder shines the infant light:

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
Ye have seen His natal star.

Saints, before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear;
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear.

Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you; break your chains.

Though an Infant now we view Him,
He shall fill His Father’s throne,
Gather all the nations to Him;
Every knee shall then bow down:

All creation, join in praising
God, the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising
To th’eternal Three in One.


Lyrics By James Montgomery
Music By Henry T. Smart

"But regarding the Son He says,
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
and a scepter of uprightness is the
scepter of Your Kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and
hated lawlessness;
therefore God, Your God, has
anointed You with the
oil of gladness
above Your companions."
Hebrews 1:8-9

Yeshua cried out, "Whoever puts
trust in Me believes not in Me
but in the One Who sent Me!
And whoever beholds Me
beholds the One Who 
sent Me.
As light I have come into the world,
so that everyone who trusts in Me
should not remain in darkness."
John 12:44-46