Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Praise the Lord!

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” Psalm 28:7

I'm thankful for a wonderful year. God is so good to me; He gave me the best family in the world and a wonderful life. He made a way for me to have eternal life and has blessed me with his joy. And when trouble comes my way, I know He is with me, hears my prayers, and sees me through.
Praise the Lord!
Aunt Esther used to say that life is like a dressing room. Our time on earth is the time where we decide where we're going to spend eternity. We either start living for Jesus and begin our eternal life with Him, or serve the Devil. The Devil doesn't want us to choose eternal life, so he tries to trick us into thinking that our time on earth is the main show and we need to have all the fun we can possibly cram into our life.
We need to stay in God's presence so we can see the truth.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Book Report

    On September 12th, Papa, Mama, my sister, and I were in town for a viola recital and took a few moments before finding our seats—or actually even the parking lot—to stop at the library to drop off books and get new ones. I thought we had allotted ourselves plenty of time to browse before picking out the books we found interesting, but when we got to town, we discovered we had taken a long time driving there. Well, I wanted to get my limit of books, so I took hurried glances at the shelves, trying to spot the fascinating ones by covers and titles. I always let a few books slip through this first process of selection because I have found fascinating books hidden under an uninteresting title. The next thing I do when selecting books is to quickly flip through the pages for an interesting bit of dialogue or a captivating passage. (Even with this selection process, a few dull books always slip through.) As I was in a hurry, these were the only ones of my book-choosing methods that were employed, and I didn't give careful thought to even these! So, I grabbed a book, flipped through it: uninteresting, put it back. “This looks interesting: keep!” Grab another, look, flip through it: “Yes, this looks fascinating.” A name of a book looked familiar: Wallenberg. “Hmm...It seems to me that many years ago I was reading a book of ours with many short stories and one was about him. I suppose a book about him would be interesting,” and so I picked out one of the books on Wallenberg and reached my limit of ten books.  
     We arrived at the concert with plenty of time to spare, and had an enjoyable evening. At home, I started looking over my books again with the intent of finding the first to read. I opened Lost Hero: The Mystery of Raoul Wallenberg. It was interesting, as I had expected, and Mama asked if I would read it aloud. So I read whenever I could.
   The book starts out with a background to the Wallenberg story. The Nazis' Final Solution had touched all the Jews in Europe except for the Hungarian Jews. Hungary, a member of the Axis, had wanted to keep some of their Jews, and did not want to go along with all the Nazis' ideas.
The Germans knew that Hungary was considering negotiating a separate armistice with the allies. Fearing that the buffer of surrounding countries would be deflated, the Nazis marched into Hungary and took over the government. Adolf Eichmann, the head of the Gestapo's Jewish affairs section, was sent by Himmler to Hungary with orders to get rid of the Jews as quickly as possible and let none escape.
   By June 30, 1943, 7000 Hungarians had been deported to Auschwitz and the Hungarian countryside was free of Jews. Right before Eichmann could start deporting Jews from Budapest, the Hungarian regent, Admiral Miklos Horthy, ordered the deportations stopped. Horthy didn't want to lose all the wealthy and important Jews. Meanwhile, the Allies had learned of the Nazi atrocities toward Jews, and even though they appointed committees to see what could be done, no measures for halting the extermination of the Jews were taken. Finally, in January of 1944, a report, which charged the State Department of being fully capable of rescuing the Jews but so callous that it used its capabilities instead to prevent the rescue of Jews, was handed to the President of the United States. A week later, the War Refugee board was established. One of its plans was to send in a neutral diplomat into Hungary to try to put some Jews under the protection of a neutral government. 
    They chose a Swede named Raoul Wallenberg. He was from an important banking family in Sweden. His grandfather was a diplomat. Raoul had visited the United States to study architecture at the University of Michigan and had also traveled to Palestine to work in a bank for a trading company. He was currently working for the Middle European Trading Corporation.
   Wallenberg was patriotic, calm in the face of danger, and greatly disturbed by the persecution of the European Jews. He knew how important time was in saving as many lives as possible. He immediately formed on organization to distribute Swedish protective passes to the Jews.
Other neutral countries also permitted a specific number of protective passes to be given to the Jews, but the Swedish passes were more respected. Wallenberg knew if there were too many Swedish passes, their value would lessen, so he had to distribute them wisely, but he wouldn't order those counterfeiting them to stop. He would go right to the leaders of the opposition, and amazingly, it seemed they would bow to him. At a meeting with Wallenberg, Eichmann even offered to ship the protected Jews out to Sweden for him, but he did not accept the offer, knowing that as soon as those Jews were gone, his chances of saving any more would also vanish.  After Wallenberg left the meeting, Eichmann ordered him liquidated. But Wallenberg didn't give up. He worked tirelessly and barely slept. Once, Wallenberg's car was crushed by a military vehicle. His life was in danger, but he still gave his all. He succeeded in stalling the Hungarians when they decided to give in to the Nazi's demands for the deportation of the Jews.
    But Eichmann would not be deterred from his goal either, he also knew that time was key. He started death marches to Germany without Hungarian permission. These marches contained mostly the young, old, and weak. The healthy, strong Jews were in a battalion of workers whom Wallenberg had persuaded the Hungarians to keep in the city. 
   When Wallenberg heard of the death marches, he immediately got together a caravan of trucks full of food and workers, and headed out to the group farthest away at the train station. He had to pass many tired, hungry, and rugged Jews on the way, but he knew that those at the station would need help the most.  When he got to the station, he persuaded the officer in charge of loading the Jews onto the trains to let him take some off. He said that he was sure some of the Jews had protective passes and that some might have been stolen from them. He told all the Jews with protective passes to form a line and get into his truck. He looked at a blank page in his book and started calling out common Jewish names. He knew he couldn't rescue all of them, so he went through whispering, “I want to save you all, but they will only let me take a few. So please forgive me, but I must save the young ones because I want to save a nation.” He was able to save 300 of 3000 gathered at the train station on November 23rd. He unloaded most of his food for those he left behind to make room in his trucks. On the way back he would stop to grab children from the dying and hide them on the floor of his car, and also to hand out more passes. His trucks were too full to take any more adults back with him, so they would have to try to make it back on foot. He set up a soup kitchen to dispense the last of his food and medicine, but he knew it was hopeless for these marchers; even if they were permitted to go back, they were too weak to walk back to Budapest. 
    But then Eichmann seemed to come to a dead end. The SS didn't want the Jews Eichmann had brought to the border. The Hungarian Nazis (Arrow Cross) didn't want to escort the marches anymore, and Himmler closed the death camps. It seemed as if only Eichmann and Wallenberg cared passionately about the fate of the Jews. 
   Eichmann decided to take the work brigades. Wallenberg rushed down to the station, and once again, the officer in charge capitulated to his authority. But he was only able to save about 300 of the 17,000 in the work brigades, because the next time Wallenberg went down to the station, the officer in charge had been replaced by a senior officer who chased Wallenberg from the station. This failure made Wallenberg very miserable.
     But the Russians were coming and he worked to keep as many Jews as he could until then. The invasion was imminent, so he also made plans for a foundation to help the Jews after the war. The Germans pulled out, but that seemed only the beginning of terror. The Arrow Cross (Hungarian Nazis) now roamed free, scorning laws and authority.  While the Germans were in charge, at least there was order and some respect of authority, but now it was just chaos. The Arrow Cross would randomly pick a house of Jews and bring them to their torture chambers and then march them down to the Danube and shoot them. Arrow Cross leaders who may have kept order went into hiding, and evil had free reign.
   This seemed the most dangerous time; still, while traditional authority and power was crumbling, Wallenberg seemed to be a powerful force.  When Wallenberg's driver was taken, he got a new driver and told him to drive to the place where the old driver was held, Wallenberg walked in and took him back. He saved many of his people with ingenious methods. It was amazing that amongst such lawlessness, he still was able to exercise authority.
     For the last few days, everyone went into hiding. The Russians started going through the town. Wallenberg was the first neutral diplomat to be liberated. He was planning to go to the temporary Russian headquarters in Debrecen to propose his plan for post-war aid to the Jews and to discuss the liberation of the Jewish Ghettos. He was never seen free again.
     Some think he was one of the first victims of the Cold War. Others believe that he may have been killed in the chaos immediately following the invasion. Years later, Soviet officials claimed that unbeknownst to them, he was captured by some of their men and died of a heart problem in prison in 1947. But by then, all the people involved in this claim had already died. Wallenberg did not have heart problems, so the Soviet's explanation seemed unlikely to the author of the book. The most convincing theory of his disappearance is that the NKVD arrested him, and he remained a prisoner for the rest of his life. Sightings lead many to believe that he was imprisoned up to the mid-1960s when he was believed to have died.
      I really enjoyed reading this book, but the end of the book is quite sad, as the mystery of his disappearance was never fully solved. It was encouraging to read that one man was able to do so much to save lives, and would do it even though there were so many against him.
    But if God was for him in rescuing Jews, who could be against him? 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

God will see me through

   It was a rainy June day, and we had just finished music practice. I was up in my room when suddenly I heard running through the house and excited voices calling me and saying something about a tornado. It sounded like the real thing to me, so I ran downstairs to the mudroom. On the way down, I wondered what would I take with me to the storm room if I knew that all my other possessions would be gone.  
   Well, I looked out the window with Mama and saw the wind rotating on the other side of our grain bins. It looked like the tornado was coming toward us. I felt afraid, and so I prayed. I felt God's peace, and I felt that everything was fine.
    Later, while surveying the storm damage, we saw that our nearest neighbor to the southeast lost his barn and had some tree damage, and our neighbor to the northeast also had trees damaged and a shed missing. It wasn't a big or strong tornado, but God was with us and protected us. 
   No matter what may threaten, I can look back and see what God has done and know that God will see us through.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Good Example

In chapter two of Malachi, God is angry with the priests because they departed out of His way. The priests were supposed to hear from the Lord, know the law of truth, be the messengers of the Lord, and turn many away from iniquity. But the priests had departed out of the way and made others to stumble, so God cursed them. Today, Christians should remember that they are the light of the world. As a Christian, you have taken the name of Jesus to yourself. If you say you are born of God, but do not act like God's child, some might decide not to follow Jesus because the Bible says that Jesus changes lives and your life isn't changed. If your parents are Christians, that doesn't make you a Christian. You must know Jesus personally. Make sure you, like the priests, do not make others stumble by not being determined to give glory to Jesus' name. If you are a real Christian, you will act like one. Give all to Jesus, and he will purify you and purge you, that you might be a pleasant offering unto the Lord. Spend time with Him every day and really set your heart to seek Him. He is the very best friend you could ever have.

“Going to church doesn't make you a
Christian any more than going to a
garage makes you an automobile.”

--Billy Sunday

Seek the Lord, and you will find Him

I was recently reading in the book of Psalms, and Psalm 73:17 really stood out to me. The author of Psalm 73, Asaph, writes about how he was feeling confused "Until I went into the sanctuary of God: then understood I their end." When Asaph was with God, everything was so clear; there was no more confusion. Isn't it wonderful that we also can be in God's sanctuary? When I'm in God's presence, everything is just right. I don't want or need anything at all from this world. All I want is more of Jesus. He takes care of all my needs. When I'm not in His presence, temporal things hold more attraction, and consequently I might waste my time. But everytime I'm in His presence, I learn from His point of view. The more I'm with Jesus, the more I want to be with Him. Seek to enter into His presence. He said, "Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord. " Jesus will lead and guide you into all truth.
“He that dwelleth in the secret place
of the Most High shall abide under
the shadow of the Almighty.”
--Psalm 91:1


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Have Faith!

    Hello everybody! It’s spring and I’m happy! There may still be snow and chilly weather, but the sky is blue and the sun is shining! A while back I was thinking about faith and works. Here is a short story to illustrate my thoughts.

Three o’clock! School out! Matilda closed her books and yawned, and started thinking about all the things she had to get done: laundry, cleaning rooms, an essay she had to write, extra studying for a test coming up...She yawned again, “If I were diligent, I could get them all finished. Oh, if only I had diligence!” So she prayed, “Dear Lord, please help me to be diligent...” Then she went outside to enjoy the sunny day. At the end of the day, as she was getting ready for bed, she noticed her checklist had no checks. “I didn’t get anything done!” she wailed. “Why can’t I be diligent?” She had prayed for diligence, and she knew it was God’s will for her to be diligent, but what happened?
    Matilda had faith that God wanted her to be diligent, but she must not have believed that He would help her, or she wouldn’t have left her work. If she had faith, she would have started working, confident that God would help her to be diligent to get it all done.
    The Bible says in James that faith without works is dead. Have faith...and show it!

Trust God!

Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.”
-- Psalm 128:1-2
   A few days ago, we were reading the gospel of John, and I noticed this verse:
Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”
 -- John 6:27
   Isn’t it comforting to know that we don’t have to worry about the needs of this earth? If we trust in God and work for eternal treasure, He will provide all our needs.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
–Matthew 6:19-21
   Now of course that doesn’t mean you can be lazy! God might be providing your needs by giving you a job. Since God provided the job for you, you should do your best at it; but you shouldn’t worry about your paycheck. God will take care of that. Remember, it isn’t you working that takes care of you, it isn’t any effort you make that provides for you, it is God! If it wasn’t God who was taking care of you, your labor would be in vain.
“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” 
-- Psalm 127:1
   Trust God!
“They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.”
   -- Psalm 125:1-2
   It is so wonderful and easy to trust God. It seems strange that we might want to make it hard for ourselves by trusting in our own strength, our earthly smartness. We must try not to get caught up in the world’s affairs and fix our eyes on Jesus instead. He’ll take care of me; I know!
“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat?
Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
-- Matthew 6:25-34
   As I continued my studies in the gospel of John, I noticed something quite interesting. The Pharisees would try to understand what Jesus said, but it was impossible. Their carnal minds tried to fathom God but failed miserably. They couldn’t hear His words because He was from God; they were from the Devil. No one can hear God’s words with his carnal understanding. He must be born again and receive the mind of Christ.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
-- Proverbs 3:5-6

A Day in my Life

Saturday, January 26, 2013
I got up with the hiccups at around 4:45 to get ready for the day. We were planning to leave for a chess tournament at 5:50. We were also going to deliver 30 propane pads to a propane company before the tournament. When we were all ready and our lunches were packed, we said goodbye to my eldest sister and my only brother and headed out the door. We put most of the things we were bringing such as coats, books, food, and chess clocks in a container in the back of the truck to save room for us in the cab. Papa got in on the driver’s side; I sat next to him in the way of the shift, then my little sister, and… “Scoot over for Mama!”… We just barely got the door shut. As we endeavored to give each other enough room to get buckled in, someone noted that we were six minutes late.
So, we drove away into the clear night with Papa calculating aloud how that since we lost six minutes we would have to drive at 120 mph for six minutes at some point in our journey. We were all glad we had to forgo that particular adventure! We soon were embarked on Highway 20 traveling towards a brilliant moon. When the moon was about to set, a cloud covered the middle and made it look like a Big Mac. It was quite the sight! We decided not to take I-35 because of the heavy load of concrete. I was appointed navigator and was quite happy that the maps and directions were not left in the back of the truck. We took the an exit and started south. We had calculated that we would get to the prpane company on time, and we probably would have. But when we got to a small town about 18 miles away, we saw that a long train was halting our progress. We were the second car in line waiting for the train to end. It zipped on past, the guard arms lifted, the car in front of us crossed, and right as we were going to cross, a light blinked and the arms came back down. Another train was coming from the other direction! We were glad to see it was also a fast one. I was surprised to find myself dizzy from looking at the product labels on the cars. We found the place where we were going to drop the concrete pads off and were glad someone was there to unload us. Now we were free to eat breakfast. We stopped at McDonalds for McMuffins and hotcakes and visited a gas station for doughnuts. Now back to my navigating…My printed directions had some missing steps and differed from its accompanying map. I had to do some guessing, but I must not have done too badly because we ended up where we were supposed to be. We drove around the building looking for where we should enter and finally found the right place.

We walked in and found a table on which to set our things. There was quite a bit of time before the tournament started, so we read a chapter from the gospel of John. Papa then gave us some pointers, and we went to play our first round games with me on board two and my sister on board three. She and I both won, but I noticed I definitely played some wrong moves. Then it was lunch time. I ate a doughnut and a wonderful turkey sandwich. Then the hiccups with which I awoke set in again and I remedied them by drinking water. After lunch, I walked about and was disgusted with all the liberal propaganda that adorned the walls such as “Celebrate our differences!” They also had exhibits of different students’ papers of their dreams in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s day. The papers definitely seemed liberal. It seems a bit strange that I once was so ignorant as to believe that schools are where students learn math, English, and science. I now think that while they do have some of the 3R’s, their main purpose is to keep the children occupied and brainwashed in the liberal way. To think that someday the authors of those papers and people like them will be in charge! They dream of good things: you won’t need guns or money; everything will be free, etc. But this would only work if this were heaven and all people were saints. They forget that it is impossible to have heaven on earth. It is interesting to note that when our government was founded, the federal government was split into three parts, judicial, executive, and legislative, so that no one part could take all the power without the other two checking it. It’s called the system of checks and balances. It’s based on the fact that people are naturally greedy. Humans have been naturally sinful ever since Adam’s fall. The Founding Fathers tried to use this fact to create our government. Democrats seem to believe that people are naturally good, which, I believe, is one major difference in the ideology of liberals and conservatives. Oh well, why be frustrated with the problems of this world? It’s not my home, and it will all be destroyed when Jesus comes back to judge the world. I should focus on laying up eternal riches in a place that will never pass away. Let’s see, where was I? Oh yes, this is supposed to be about a chess tournament!
It took quite a while for the next round to start, so I had a fun time playing catch with some friends until everyone was ready. I got hiccups again, right before my next game! So, I had to drink more water. At other times, when I’d get hiccups, I’d try to make them last as long as possible—part of my “scientific” experiments—but, in all my years of study, I’ve never had them so reoccurring. This round I played the girl who won the tournament. My dear older sister had told me a week or so before to remember the song “Don’t Fence Me In” and not to let my pieces get trapped, but somehow that’s exactly what happened! I lost. When my little sister finished (she won), we had fun playing more catch in the hall. Round three started, and my sister also play the girl who won. I played a girl who played quite well—until she gave away her queen. I won, but my sister drew. Round 4 pairings were up, and we were a bit sad that we had to play each other. If she could beat me, she would have a point-tie with the girl in the lead. Sadly, we drew. We now had to wait for the tourney to be over, so we went back to playing catch. The winner won the tournament with a 200 point upset in the last round. My sister got 3rd place.
So we set out for home. We stopped for supper and milkshakes, yummy! Away we drove towards home. The sky looked just like when we left home, except a bit cloudier, and the moon was on the other side. We arrived safely home and were happy to be reunited with the rest of our family!