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Maid of Orleans

“Joan of Arc” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1882), Author/Source Fitzwilliam Museum/University of Cambridge (Accession No. 685) (PD-Art, PD-Old)

We live at a time when terrorists (foreign and domestic) pride themselves on taking the lives of innocent men, women, and children then style themselves “martyrs” engaged in a holy war.

It may be worth recalling what devotion meant in the day and age of a real martyr.

During the Hundred Years War, an untutored peasant girl led a small French force to victory against a larger English army, lifting the siege of Orleans.  It was from this battle that Joan of Arc derived her title as the Maid of Orleans.

Captured by the English in 1430, Joan was placed on trial for heresy and witchcraft.  Questioned by church officials, Joan responded with amazing insight and unfailing faith.  Despite that, she was burned at the stake at the age of nineteen.

Her testimony, however, was preserved.  Here are a few excerpts:

A:  I was thirteen when I had a Voice from God for my help and guidance. The first time that I heard this Voice, I was very much frightened; it was mid-day, in the summer, in my father’s garden…

Q:  This Voice that speaks to you, it is that of an Angel, or of a Saint, or from God direct?

A:  It is the Voice of Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret. Their faces are adorned with beautiful crowns, very rich and precious…

Q:  What was the first Voice that came to you when you were about thirteen?

A:  It was Saint Michael; I saw him before my eyes; he was not alone, but quite surrounded by the Angels of Heaven…

Q:  Do you know if you are in the Grace of God?

A:  If I am not, may God place me there; if I am, may God so keep me. I should be the saddest in all the world if I knew that I were not in the grace of God.  But if I were in a state of sin, do you think the Voice would come to me?  I would that everyone could hear the Voice as I hear it… Read more…

Mayflower Compact

“Interview of Samoset with the Pilgrims” (1853), Source (PD)

A foundation stone for democracy on this continent, the Mayflower Compact was the first document under which the Plymouth Colony was governed.  The agreement, which established an elected authority all would obey, was signed in 1620 as the Mayflower rode at anchor in Cape Cod Harbor.

For the Sake of Freedom and Equality

The Pilgrims were actually comprised of two groups:  Separatists and non-Separatists.

The Separatists sought religious liberty, specifically the right to separate from the Church of England. They had initially emigrated to the tolerant Netherlands, but found the Dutch culture at odds with their own.

The non-Separatists — like many to follow them — sought economic and social opportunity, and the chance for a better life in America.

In the broadest terms, all risked their lives for the sake of freedom and equality. Read more…

World Day of the Poor

One of many poor African children, Ghana, Author Youssefbhy (CC BY-SA 4.0 International).

He raises the poor from the dust And lifts the beggar from the ash heap, To set them among princes And make them inherit the throne of glory” (1 Sam. 2: 8).

Today is World Day of the Poor, a Roman Catholic observance established in 2016 by Pope Francis via his Apostolic Letter, Misericordia et Misera (translated as “Mercy with Misery” or “Pity the Poor”).  Among other things, congregants are encouraged to speak with the homeless, and give alms to the poor.

The Bible is filled with instructions that we aid and protect the poor.  Here are just a few:

And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger…” (Lev. 19: 10).

If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him…that he may live with you” (Lev. 25: 35).

If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand…” (Deut. 15: 7).

Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Nor oppress the afflicted at the gate... (Prov. 22: 22).

Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy” (Prov. 31: 9).

But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.  And you will be blessed…” (Luke 14: 13-14).

In God’s eyes, everyday is a day of the poor, and an opportunity for us to help them.


Operation Christmas Child

Christmas presents under the tree, Author Kgbo (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

Each year, Samaritan’s Purse partners with Christians to send Christmas gifts to impoverished children worldwide.

Shoeboxes are filled with dolls, stuffed animals, crayons, toy cars, and other delights.  Most importantly, they contain Gospel tracts.

“In remote, unreached regions like Liberia and all around the world, Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes are opening doors for the Name of Jesus to be proclaimed and new churches to be planted.

These simple gifts are answers to the prayers of our local partners…who are called to bring the Good News to their home countries.

Shoeboxes become tools in the hands of these faithful believers, creating inroads to communities…that otherwise might remain closed to Christianity [1].”

The week of November 16-23 Operation Christmas Child will be collecting shoeboxes packed by loving individuals, families, and churches across the United States.  Donations can, also, be made online.

Please, consider taking part in this laudable project.

But a certain Samaritan…when he saw him, he had compassion.  So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10: 33-34).

[1]  “Inroads for the Gospel”, Maryknoll Magazine, September/October 2020.


Foreign Correspondent

Burning cross, Author Zachry Industrial (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

The WWII drama “Foreign Correspondent” (1940) concludes with a riveting radio broadcast from London by Joel McCrea as reporter, Johnny Jones.  The broadcast is interrupted by bombing.

“I can’t read the rest of the speech I had because the lights have gone out.  So I’ll just have to talk off the cuff.  All that noise you hear isn’t static.  It’s death coming to London.  Yes, they’re coming here now.  You can hear the bombs falling on the streets and the homes.

Don’t tune me out.  Hang on awhile.  This is a big story, and you’re part of it.  It’s too late to do anything here now except stand in the dark and let them come.  It’s as if the lights were all out everywhere except in America.

Keep those lights burning.  Cover them with steel.  Ring them with guns.  Build a canopy of battleships and bombing planes around them.  Hello, America.  Hang onto your lights.  They’re the only lights left in the world.”

There was never a Golden Age.  But America was once a bastion of hope and freedom for the world.  We have chosen to cede that position to others in recent years.

Today, the noise we hear from every quarter is a cacophony of angry voices; a confusing mix of commercials, celebrity gossip, and conspiracy theories – propaganda from both the right and left, leavened with lavish promises and dire predictions by politicians of every stripe.

Self-interest and financial gain have taken precedence over love of God and country.  Accusations and recriminations substitute for leadership. Read more…

Microchips, Monitoring, and the Mark of the Beast

RFID implant, Author James Wisniewski (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

Over the past few years, microchips equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) have become commonplace in animal shelters.  Implanted under an animal’s skin, RFID chips are a safe and reliable means of identifying and retrieving lost pets [1].

Now, a small number of companies have begun requiring that their employees implant microchips [2].

Designed to enable employees to gain access to secure areas and locked buildings, use copy machines, log into computers, and make purchases in the company break room, these chips are said to improve workplace efficiency.  Medical information can, also, be encoded.

Microchips (about the size of a grain of rice) are not large enough to contain current GPS hardware. The devices do not, therefore, have tracking capabilities…at least not presently. Read more…


Art in Prison: Prison Artist Creates Moving Images of Christ Passion

Image by “Noel”, a prison artist in the Oregon Dept. of Corrections.  See, Prison Fellowship at

Wildfires have ravaged the western United States this year [1].  Largely unheralded among those fighting the fires is a group of convicts.

The state of Oregon has a program in place which enlists the aid of willing prisoners to enlarge its firefighting force, in the process teaching them a trade [2A].

The aim of this program is to rehabilitate prisoners, many of whom are “adrenaline junkies”.  The program provides such prisoners a meaningful outlet.  Those who have committed homicide or sexual offenses are excluded from participation.

“This gives us a different opportunity, rather than going back to something that we already know, which is guns, gangs, violence and drugs.”

-Eddie Correia, serving 6 year term for assault [2B]

Like firefighters everywhere, these men risk their lives to protect the lives and property of their neighbors.  Some are assigned to pick up trash, serve food, and prove other support services.

Few of us give much thought to the rehabilitation of prisoners, particularly with government funds limited.  Scripture, however, makes clear that this is not God’s attitude.  Redemption is not limited, even if government funds are.

God considers every soul worth saving.

“ ‘…I was in prison and you came to Me…Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me’ ” (Matt. 25: 36, 40).

[1]  CNET, “Latest on wildfires in California, Oregon and West. Plus, how to help” by Jackson Ryan and Alan Mack, 9/17/20,

[2]  ABC News (Reuters), “Oregon prison inmates find redemption, adrenaline in fighting fires”, 9/30/20,

In what appeared an Islamic terrorist attack, a history teacher was beheaded this week in a Paris suburb for having discussed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in class.  Our hearts go out to the family of the victim.


Providence, Part 4 – Poverty

Beggar girl, Mumbai, India, Author Varun Chatterji (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

We conclude our series on God’s providence by addressing the subject of poverty.

Millions are born into abject poverty.  Is this a matter of random chance, perhaps the fate assigned them by a sentient universe?  Or is it karma, a consequence of their actions in a prior life, as Hindus and Buddhists believe?

And, if so, are the poor destined to live and die in poverty? Read more…

Providence, Part 3 – Crime

US Army CID agents at crime scene (PD as work product of federal govt.)

We continue our examination of God’s providence by turning to the subject of crime.

The victims of crime and their loved ones cry out to God for justice.  But, far too often, justice in this flawed world of ours is imperfect or delayed.

Depending on the crime, necessary proof may be difficult to come by.

A victim may not be able to identify his/her attacker or may not survive at all.  Witnesses may be intimidated or reluctant to come forward for other reasons.  Critical evidence may be lost or destroyed.  Perpetrators may relocate, or assume a new identity.  At times, the system, itself, is corrupt.

Yet, against all odds, impossibly “cold” cases are solved everyday. Read more…

Providence, Part 2 – The Holocaust

Child survivors of the Holocaust liberated at Auschwitz (1945), Source “A History of the Holocaust” by Yehuda Bauer (ISBN 0531155765), Author Alexander Voroncov (PD)

In our examination of providence, we turn now to focus on the Holocaust.

Six million Jewish men, women, and children – along with five million Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, disabled persons, and Roma gypsies – were systematically slaughtered by the Nazis.

Where was God while this happened?  Where was God’s providence?  Surely, He could have intervened to save His people.

As mentioned earlier in this series, God’s thoughts are not our own (Isa. 55: 8-9).  We can only surmise that He had a higher purpose to permit suffering on such a scale.  What we do know is that the Holocaust led to establishment of the modern state of Israel, and that God still loves the Jewish people.

As for the impossible act of forgiveness by Holocaust survivors, Corrie Ten Boom is among the prime examples.  Corrie forgave her guard at Ravensbruck.  She used as her example Christ, who forgave us.

“Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them.  Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more?  Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him…As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened.  From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand, a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.  And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His.  When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

-Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place

This series will continue next week with Part 3 – Crime