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“Job and His Friends” by Georges-Auguste Lavergne, Ecole Nationale des Superieure Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, Author VladoubidoOo (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Behold, I am vile…” (Job 40: 4).

“One cheering word, poor lost sinner, for thee!  You think you must not come to God because you are vile.  Now, there is not a saint living on earth but has been made to feel that he is vile.  If Job, and Isaiah, and Paul were all obliged to say, ‘I am vile,’ oh, poor sinner, wilt thou be ashamed to join in the same confession?  If divine grace does not eradicate all sin from the believer, how dost thou hope to do it thyself?  And if God love His people while they are yet vile, dost thou think thy vileness will prevent His loving thee?

Believe on Jesus, thou outcast of the world’s society!  If, now, with all thy heart, thou wilt  say, ‘I am vile, wash me,’ thou shalt be washed now.  Oh, may the Holy Spirit give thee saving faith in Him who receives the vilest!”

–Charles Spurgeon


A Forgotten Story of Courage

Allied liberation of Paris, Source US National Archives and Records Administration (Identifier 531215) (PD)

Late in 1943, Huguette and Marion Muller – German Jews – made their way to the Alps in search of refuge [1A].  The Holocaust had already claimed their mother, Edith, who was gassed at Auschwitz.

The sisters fled to France, when Hitler came to power.  Now, they were headed to the small resort town of Val d’Isere, near the French/Italian border.

This choice was not without danger.  The region was Roman Catholic and highly right-wing.  Nazi soldiers there regularly pillaged and burned the homes of anyone who failed to report for assigned factory work.  Residents still refer to the Nazi occupation as la terreur.

The sisters found themselves in real peril when Huguette broke her leg.  The local physician, Dr. Frédéric Pétri, said the break was so severe the teen should be moved to a nearby hospital.

Their parents had baptized Huguette, so there was no “J” on her identity card.  However, the mere fact that she was born in Berlin would have been sufficient to send her to a death camp on arrival at the hospital.

Afraid their secret would be discovered, the girls resisted.  But Dr. Petri surprised the sisters by offering to take Huguette in, till her leg healed.

Unbeknownst to them, Dr. Pétri had already spent two years in a German prisoner of war camp.  Yet at the risk of his life, he cared for Huguette in his own home, while she convalesced.

Both sisters survived WW II.  Dr. Petri took their secret to his grave.

“He [Dr Frédéric Pétri] was driven by a passion, not for plastering broken legs, but for caring for people.  He was profoundly generous and all his life he did everything he could for others.”

-Christel Petri, daughter of Dr. Petri [1B]

From 1940 – 1944, about 75,000 Jews were deported from France to concentration camps.  It was not until 1995 that Pres. Jacques Chirac acknowledged French responsibility in the Holocaust.

[1A and 1B]  BBC News, “Val d’Isere:  The doctor who hid a Jewish girl – and the resort that wants to forget” by Rosie Whitehouse, 1/5/20,


Run for the Roses

Few animals on earth are as extraordinary or beautiful as the horse.  Few of mankind’s animal companions have proven as constant or significant.

Horses have been used for transportation, agriculture, hunting, herding, exploration, warfare, entertainment, sport, police work, and most recently therapy [1].  Apart from service, they have provided milk, meat, hide, hair, bone, and pharmaceuticals. Read more…

Wasted Time

Stopwatch, Author TheJosh (PD)

But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’  My times are in Your hand…” (Ps. 31: 14-15).

The practice of law involves a great deal of “hurry up and wait” – the rush toward urgent deadlines, conferences, trials, and other aspects of litigation then delayed by circumstance.  Whether in court or in traffic; with clients, adversaries, or witnesses, the waste of precious time can be infuriating.

The Bible is filled with examples of delay.  Abraham waited 25 years for the son he was promised by God.  Sold into slavery, Joseph spent over 20 years in Egypt before being reunited with his brothers.  The Israelites waited 400 years for liberation from bondage, then spent 40 more years wandering in the desert.  Anointed by Samuel, David had to wait another 20 years or so before ascending to the throne.

Alot of downtime, assuming it was pointless.

Our own lives are packed with delay – the “in-between” days, months, and years when nothing important seems to be happening to us.  We may have waited with anticipation for true love, that first big break, or our 21st birthday. We wait on job interviews and promotions; on exam results, verdicts, and diagnoses – good news and bad. Read more…

Smuggling Digital Bibles

A military spokesman for al-Shabab issues a statement south of Mogadishu. Feisal Omar/Reuters

The following article is excerpted from “Smuggling the Digital Word” in the April 2019 edition of The Voice of the Martyrs Magazine.  It drives home how precious the Word is.

“Al-Shabab militants came for Christian schoolteachers Philip Okumu and Daniel Wekesa in the middle of the night.  They surrounded the men’s house in their small Kenyan village…then tossed a grenade through a window.  As flames spread…Philip and Daniel ran for the door and were shot to death…for sharing the gospel with their students…

Although based in Somalia, al-Shabab terrorists move freely across the country’s borders with Kenya and Ethiopia…

Somali Bibles are impossible to obtain inside the country and… even difficult to find…in…Kenya, a majority Christian nation…[G]etting caught by al-Shabab with a Bible almost invariably results in immediate execution.  Christians, therefore, prefer digital versions…”

Read more…

Rural America at Risk

Dairy Barn at Malabar Farm State Park, Lucas, OH, Author OHWiki (PD)

  • 25% of rural American children live below the poverty line [1].  As of 2013, that translated to over 2.6 million children.
  • 25% of rural Americans are unable to obtain regular health care due to distance [2].  Over 100 rural hospitals have shut their doors since 2010.  Burnout among overworked rural physicians is high.  Family medical practices in small towns are closing down.
  • Nearly 25% of rural Americans – 14.5 million – still have no access to broadband [3].
  • Meanwhile, large retailers like JC Penney, Sears, and Macy’s are abandoning rural America in droves [4].  Apart from requiring longer drive times by shoppers, this has resulted in a loss both of sales tax revenues and jobs.

Rural communities are being stressed from nearly every quarter [5].

Overseas Markets

For the second year in a row, soybean farmers have been left without a buyer for 60% of their crop due a trade war with China [6].  America’s soybean exports (which fell more than 70% in 2018) recovered in 2019, but remained down more than 34% from their 2017 total.

Wheat growers are likely to face the next challenge [7].  Middle East tensions threaten wheat exports.

Farm Bankruptcies

Not surprisingly, farm bankruptcies rose in September 2019 to their highest level since 2011, even as the stock market soared [8].  They included Dean Foods, America’s largest milk producer. Read more…

Restoring the Earth

Sea otters, Authors Dave Bezaire/Susie Havens-Bezaire, Source flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

Mankind is failing at stewardship.  Around the globe, a million species face extinction [1].

But over the past 50 years scientists have discovered something of crucial importance to restoring damaged habitats.  The earth has the capacity to heal itself, if keystone species are allowed to return [2].

Keystone Species

Bob Paine, Prof. Emeritus of Zoology at the University of Washington, first coined the term “keystone species”.  These are animals of central importance to the ecosystems they occupy.

Jim Estes, Prof. of Ecology at the University of California/Santa Cruz, found that sea otters are the keystone species in the Aleutian Islands.  They prevent spiky urchins from devouring the kelp forests which support dozens of underwater species.  Without otters, urchin barrens result.

Role of Predators

Predators, it turns out, regulate the health of an entire community, from the top down.  This rule applies from the Equator to the Poles.  In North America, for example, deer overgrazing is threatening forests, in areas where wolves have been removed. Read more…


“Politics makes strange bedfellows” (Puck Magazine, 1899), Artwork by Louis Dalrymple, Library of Congress (Digital ID ppmsca.28593) (PD-old-70-expired)

The following excerpt is from an editorial in Christianity Today, which has caused a great deal of controversy [1].  The editorial addresses the character of Pres. Donald Trump, the actions from which his impeachment arises, and the impact on Christian witness.

“…the facts…are unambiguous:  The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents.  That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral…

Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president.  We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath…

To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this:  Remember who you are and whom you serve.  Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior…”

The hope among Evangelicals has been that an alliance with Pres. Trump – and silence with regard to his defects of character – would provide this country with a sufficiently conservative judiciary to restore the rights of the unborn [2].

Unfortunately, that hope is misguided. Read more…

A Growing Monster

Anti-Semitic graffiti in Lithuania, Author Beny Shlevich, Source flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

  • A Europe-wide CNN poll in November 2018 found a rise in anti-Semitism and a decline in Holocaust memory [1].
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in Germany rose by almost 10% in 2018, to a 10 year high [2][3].
  • In December 2018, a Greek Holocaust Memorial was desecrated for the fourth time [4].
  • In January 2019 a synagogue was vandalized in the Bulgarian capitol Sofia [5].
  • In June 2019 planned construction on the site of mass graves dating to the Holocaust came to light in the Ukraine [6].
  • By July 2019 anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom had spiked [7].  A video showing West Ham soccer fans singing an anti-Semitic fight song about rival club Tottenham Hotspur (which has a largely Jewish fan base) was posted to Twitter.

There is a monster growing in Europe.  Anti-Semitism has increased substantially since the 2015 immigration crisis [8].  France reported a 74% increase in violence against Jews.

“An alarming pattern of anti-Semitism is spreading across Europe, from France to Germany to Sweden and elsewhere on the continent… Antisemitism is not, and cannot, remain just a Jewish problem.  This is an issue that affects all Europeans, and Western society as a whole.”

–Ronald Lauder, Pres. of World Jewish Congress

[1]  CNN, “A Shadow over Europe” by Richard Allen Greene, 11/27/18,

[2]  France 24, “Anti-Semitic attacks rose sharply in Germany in 2018, report says”, 2/13,19,

[3]  New York Times, “The New German Anti-Semitism” James Angelos, 5/21/19,

[4]  Times of Israel, “Greek Holocaust memorial vandalized for 4th time this year”, 12/17/18,

[5]  The Jerusalem Post, “Synagogue in Bulgarian Capitol of Sofia Vandalized by Stone-Throwing Incident” by Zachary Keyser, 1/22/19,

[6]  Israel National News (Arutz Sheva 7), “Ukraine plans construction atop Holocaust-era mass graves” by Cnaan Lipshiz, 6/18/19,

[7]  CNN, “New report shows spike in British anti-Semitism” by Ivana Kottasova, 8/1/19,

[8]  The Guardian, “Anti-Semitism rising sharply across Europe, figures show” by Jon Henley, 2/15/19,

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!


No Room at the Inn

“The Nativity” by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale (Date Unknown), Author Bonhams, 3/19/08, Lot 420, Chester (PD-Art, PD-Old)

So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2: 6-7).

As this festive season reaches its climax, let us not forget that many still have no roof over their heads. The King of kings chose to be born in a stable to remind us of that.

Let us honor Him, by reaching out to those less fortunate.  That is the gift He desires.

Wishing you all a Blessed Christmas!