Friday, January 19, 2018

The Israel Visual Faith Community

On our recent pilgrimage to Israel 
we were able to once again meet with the 
Israel Visual Faith Community 
at the Dan Hotel in Jerusalem.
Members from our tour group joined us too.
 Thanks- Tina, Teresa, Jen, and Kathy.
Visual Faith Coach Diane Marra
 was thrilled to share a bit 
with the group gathered there.
Thanks to our friend Hadassah 
who gathered the group with the help of Renee.
 It was a time to listen and hear 
what their needs were for Visual Faith tools.
 It was an honor to hear the stories of the 
ministries they support 
and the women they mentor.
There was a group that joined us from 
Haifa- some live on Mt. Carmel.
I believe they are planning a "kidnapping"
  to have a Visual Faith event on Mt Carmel.
Thanks Diane for helping us 
to think and pray 
about adding Hebrew resources
 to our Visual Faith Ministry website.

Good News!
We know we have 2 more Visual Faith
 coaches headed to Israel!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Mere Christianity- Revisited

October 2006 was when I picked up
 my first C.S. Lewis book.
I had overheard a conversation
 at a Graduation reception 
as a Harvard graduate told the story
 of his "loss of faith" while at the University.
Then he was assigned to read 
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
He began to move back toward the cross.

Intrigued by this story,
 I put it on my stack of books to read.
A challenging read, yes,
 but some sentences 
just kept coming back over and over.
On October 15, 
I gave up my struggle to remember the words. 
In the middle of the night I grabbed a canvas,
 slathered paint on,
 and waited impatiently for it to dry.
And began to write...
the sentences that were turning around in my head.
And my heart.
I believe that this was an integral point
 in my understanding that I needed to 
SEE things to make the connections.
Over and Over again.
It has hung on a wall 
in my house ever since that night.
And as I pass by, 
a sentence or two will catch my attention.
And I remember......
Recently a daughter said she was starting
 to read Mere Christianity.
I asked if she wanted a reading companion.
Then I noticed how faded the 
Sharpie pen had become on the canvas. 
Time for a do-over.
 So - today- January 16, 2018, 
11 1/2 years later- I wrote over the words again.
Yes, we live in enemy-occupied territory.
He is NOT a tame God.
God cannot give happiness and peace 
apart from Himself, because it is not there.
Faith- the art of holding on to things
 your reason has once accepted, 
in spite of your changing moods.

Perhaps, this will last till 2030, 
another 12 years.
And possibly, my need to SEE and Remember
 will still be an integral part 
of how the Lord makes connections 
in my spiritual formation.
 I am thankful for the journey.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

It is Well with My Soul

On this last Israel Pilgrimage 
we were able to visit the 
Horatio Spafford House.
Above is a wall in the room 
where we gathered to hear a bit of the story.
Horatio Gates Spafford (October 20, 1828,
 Troy, New York– October 16, 1888, Jerusalem)
 was a prominent American lawyer
and Presbyterian church elder. 
He is best known for penning the Christian hymn
 It is Well with My Soul, 
following a family tragedy
 in which his four daughters
 died aboard the S.S. Ville du Havre
 on a transatlantic voyage.
Horatio and his wife Anna 
were well known in 1860s Chicago.
He and his wife were also prominent supporters 
and close friends of evangelist Dwight L. Moody.
Spafford invested in real estate north
 of an expanding Chicago
 in the spring of 1871. 
When the Great Chicago Fire of Chicago
 reduced the city to ashes in October of that same year, 
it also destroyed most of Spafford's sizable investment.
Scarlet fever soon killed
 his four-year-old son. 
Two years later, in 1873, 
Spafford decided his family 
should take a holiday somewhere in Europe, 
and chose England knowing 
that his friend D.L. Moody 
would be preaching there in the fall.
 He was delayed because of business.
 So he sent his family ahead:
 his wife and their four children, 
daughters eleven-year-old Anna "Annie",
 nine-year-old Margaret Lee "Maggie", 
five-year-old Elizabeth "Bessie",
 and two-year-old Tanetta.
On November 22, 1873, while crossing the Atlantic 
on the steamship Ville duHavre,
their ship was struck by an iron sailing ship 
and 226 people lost their lives,
 including all four of Spafford's daughters. 
Only his wife, Anna Stafford, survived the tragedy.
 Upon arriving in England, 
she sent a telegram to Stafford
 beginning "Saved alone." 
Spafford then sailed to England, 
going over the location of his daughters' deaths. 
According to Bertha Spafford Vester, 
a daughter born after the tragedy, 
Spafford wrote 
"It Is Well With My Soul" on this journey.
Following the sinking of the Ville du Havre
Anna gave birth to three more children.
 On February 11, 1880, their son,
 Horatio Goertner Stafford,
 died at the age of three, of scarlet fever.
 Their daughters were 
Bertha Hedges Spafford (born March 24, 1878)
 and Grace Spafford (born January 18, 1881).
 In August 1881, 
the Spaffords set out for Jerusalem 
as a party of thirteen adults and three children 
and set up the American Colony.
The society engaged in philanthropic work among
 the people of Jerusalem 
regardless of religious affiliation,
 gaining the trust of the local Muslim, Jewish,
 and Christian communities. 
After Horatio died in 1888, 
Anna and the colony moved to a larger location
 that is now the American Colony Hotel,
 on Nablus Road.
 In 1904, Bertha Stafford 
married Frederick Vester,
 a German member of the colony.
The house that is now 
the Jerusalem Prayer Center
 was the home where they lived for 25 years,
raising their six children.  
Anna and Bertha continued
 to lead the American Colony’s 
philanthropic efforts through harsh, 
troubled times in Jerusalem.
  The hardships of war caused great suffering
 in Jerusalem and the American Colony
 fed more than 2000 people
 a day in a soup kitchen, 
and treated enemy soldiers 
side-by-side in their hospital facilities. 
After days of walking and lots of information,
 this spot was a respite to our tired souls.
We sang together and spent some time
 in the prayer room upstairs.

Imagine my delight when I saw 
sketchbooks and colored pencils
 waiting for prayer time.
 Time for Praying in Color.

It is Well with My Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

(Refrain:) It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pain shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

And Lord haste the day, when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Music P. Bliss

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Bell Caves of Beit Guvrin National Park

Eerily vacant on a cold rainy January day.
The Bell Caves of
 Beit Guvrin National Park in Israel.
 The park attendant told us the park
 was closed because of the wind.
Our guide, Yossi, told him- "not for this bus."

Maresha is the Israelite city 
where Micah was from in the Bible.

Local  Carob in the woodlands
 of the Beit Guvrin area.
 Along the pathways in the park

Who lived in these after the mining?
Who did these walls shelter through the ages?
One of the new places to visit
 on our recent pilgrimage to Israel.
Always more to see.
Our guide Yossi brought
 musical delight to a gray day.
Listen Here:
The lighting was a challenge
 but it is worth a listen.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Soul-Tending Reading- 2018

I normally post the photo 
at the end of the year 
with the books I have read.
(See previous blog post)
Then I got some questions 
about what I was reading for THIS year.
So I decided to share #mystack2018.
I usually start praying
 about this early December.
What do I feel the Lord is wanting me
 to take a closer look at for this next year?
I set out books and put others back.
There is always an overwhelming pile
 of unread books in this house.
So this is what I came up with.
A couple were on the stack from last year 
that I didn't get to read.
So they automatically 
got placed right on the next stack.
Intention doesn't count.
And then-- It happens- 
sometimes I go on a tangent
 and read a whole lot of books not on the list. 
(My mystery books from the library don't count.)
We will see how this year goes.
Want to see my reading from 2012 on?
Here is the list from the 
Soul-Tending page on this blog.
Soul-Tending Reading
If you are a Visual person like I am -
 here is the list of my reading books with pictures.

Sorry for the photos of earlier stacks. 
Can see how much better
 the cell phones are?
May you all have a BLESED Journey
 this year in your Spirit-tending reading.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Soul-Tending Reading - 2017

Spiritual Reading for 2017

Catching up with the Spiritual Formation
 reading list for 2017.
There is always a wide variety of topics.
This year spent more time looking at Israel
 and the life of Jesus there.
500th Anniversary of the Reformation
 brought some reading about Katie Luther.
 Stack is already waiting for this next year.
May you find reading material 
that blesses your soul 
and brings a depth to your thinking,
 living and praying.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 Best Nine

 Some fun with the end 
of the year BEST NINE.
Here are some favorite 
Bible Journaling pages.
 Some favorite Best Nine- VRSLY.
Flowers and Foliage- Best NINE.
Around the House- Best NINE

Blessed by all things visual and temporal,
with an eye toward eternity.
Thank you Lord, for your very good gifts.