Posts from the ‘History’ Category

Defiance, The True Story of the Bielski Brothers

Bielski family and friends sm

During WWII three brothers did an amazing thing. They saved 1200 Jews from the the hands of the Nazis by living and hiding in the forests of Belarus. It was an amazing the true store of survival and sacrifice. The three brothers were the Bielski brothers. Their names were Tuvia, Asael, and Zusia (Zus).  They were experts at survival and knew the forests of Belarus like the back of their hands.  They began hiding in the forests after the villages of Belarus were raided by the Nazis during WWII.  Soon, they found themselves hiding other Jews in the forests.

I first heard of these brothers and the Jews that they saved while watching a documentary on the History channel(“The Bielski Brothers: Jerusalem In The Woods“).  It is truly amazing that they were able to hide so many people in the forests and survive for so long!

Bielskis

The movie, Defiance, is an excellent portrayal of the struggle that they went through as they tried to save the lives of fellow Jews and themselves.  Defiance, is an amazing movie, I highly recommend it!  Below is the movie trailer that will give you an idea of what to expect from this amazing movie and true story! Enjoy!

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490 Years Ago…

With rush of Halloween and the excitement of the harvest season (And Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner) a very important and pivotal anniversary often gets overlooked by us protestants.   Just in case you didn’t know, 490 years ago, on October 31st, Martin Luther initiated what we refer to as the Protestant Reformation.  Our daughter goes to a Lutheran School and so she has been focusing on the Reformation this month; which her dad and I love!  (if fact the other day I overheard our kids playing “Martin Luther”, pretty cute!).  So, this Halloween, instead of focusing on costumes and candy, maybe you could teach your children about how some very brave men and women stood up to the Catholic church and brought needed change and reform to the Church.  OK, I’ll admit that the reformers weren’t perfect, but what they accomplished is something that we can be thankful for today!  Click!

*If you want to see a good movie that portrays Luther’s struggle to bring needed change to the church, I suggest seeing “Luther”.

Aliya-“The Ascent”

 Isaiah 11:11-12 NIV – “In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.”

 Although most of us know about the migration of Jews to Israel, we are not familiar with the  technical term for it.  It is called Aliya, which literally means, “the ascent”.  Since the Diaspora, Jews have been returning to Israel, sometimes in mass numbers and at other times in small trickles.  Check our this site from Israel’s Foreign Ministry which outlines the various Aliyas throughout history.  Perhaps the most famous would stand out as the returning of Jews from Europe after WWII.  In the first three years of its existence, Israel took in over 500,000 new immigrants. These included displaced persons (DPs) who had survived the Nazi Holocaust and were concentrated in camps in Europe…taken from, click.  Here is how Israel’s Foreign Ministry defines Aliya:

The ingathering of the exiles to their ancestral homeland is the raison d’etre of the State of Israel. Aliya (literally ascending) is the Hebrew word for immigration to the Land of Israel. The meaning of ascent in this context is spiritual as well as physical; all Jews are educated in the belief that this ascent is an essential part of Judaism. It is the ultimate form of identification with one’s people, the Jewish people, whose life and destiny are inextricably tied to the Land of Israel. Since the beginning of the waves of aliya in the late 19th century, many hundreds of thousands of immigrants have arrived in the Land. The background, traditions and expertise brought by each wave have been of immeasurable value in the development of Israel’s pluralistic, democratic society and modern economy.

Why is Aliya significant to Christians?  Well, the returning of Jews to their homeland of Israel is a a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.  The verse at the intro to this post is a clear foretelling of this return of Jews to the Promised Land!   Aliya is not so much a political statement as it is a literal fulfillment of God’s plan for his people Israel.   Aliya is also exciting for Christians, as it is a sign of the last times, the nearing of the time when Jesus will return for all his people, Jew and Gentile alike! 

I am fascinated by the migration of Jews to Israel, so much, that if I were Jewish, I would probably migrate!  To be a Christian Jew and live in the Promised Land!  How exciting!  So, I hope you have learned a little today!  Thanks for reading!

Ezekiel 20:34 – “I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered — with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath.”

Isaiah 43:5-6,21 – “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, `Give them up!’ and to the south, `Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth…”

Psalm 107:2-3 NIV – “Let the redeemed of the LORD say this — those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.

Apostle’s Creed

I decided to post the Apostle’s Creed because our daughter is currently memorzing it for her 1st grade class.   I love the Apostle’s Creed and all the history and richness urrounding it and what it means to all believer’s in Jesus Christ!

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. AMEN.

Where Were You?

September 11, 2001 is one of those days that every one of us will remember.  I’m sure we all remember where we were or what we were doing when we heard of the attacks on the World Trade Center.  I remember it vividly.

My husband and I were living with his parents in Southern California.  We woke up to Bobby’s brother bursting into our room and telling us that the United States was under attack, he had a sense of urgency in his voice.  Still trying to shake of the fog of sleep I jumped out of bed, envisioning military tanks rolling up and down the streets.  I scooped up our 11 month old daughter and hurried to the living room.  The television was tuned into the Today Show where they were broadcasting the horrible events of that day.  As we all remember everyone was confused and disturbed by what we were seeing and hearing.  It was a nightmare. 

As the day progressed our disbelief turned to horror and fear.  I remember that Bobby had to go to work and how scared I was to be left alone.  Bobby’s parents were out of town and they could not fly home, so they rented a car and drove back to California from Washington State.  I remember having to run an important errand.  The streets were empty and people were afraid.  What a horrible day.  You could feel the pain of those who suffered in those attacks, even on the West Coast.

For all of us our pain and fear quickly turned to anger and vengance.  The United States acted swiftly and decidedly.   Our country united in a common goal; to avenge the lives of those senselessly taken on that dark day. 

When I think of September 11, 2001 and the senselessness of it, I can quickly become discouraged.   But it is reassuring that God is in control and he will enjoy ultimate justice.  I am so happy to know that we worship a God grace, justice and fairness.  He is all powerful and holds the universe in his hands!  Amazing.  So, as you remember Sept 11 today, remember that God is in control and nothing that happens is out of his perfect plan for you and for the entire universe!  Thanks for reading!

The Stigmata Lie

“Stigmata is a phenomenon observed in a number of Christian saints and mystics for which no satisfactory natural explanation has been offered yet. It consists of the appearance, on the body of a living person, of wounds or scars corresponding to those of the crucified Christ. The first and most celebrated stigmatization of this kind is that of St. Francis of Assisi.” Encyclopedia Britannica.

Stigmata is a phenomenon widely purported in the Catholic church.  This post is not for the purpose of arguing whether stigmata is real or imagined.   I believe that it could very well be real.  There are so many instances of stigmata (which are carefully documented by the Catholic church) that one cannot help but believe in the existence of this phenomenon. I, however, believe that it is not the work of Jesus Christ, it is clearly the work of Satan. 

Stigmata, the bearing of Christ’s wound’s on one’s body springs from the Catholic church’s faulty teaching of salvation, atonement and the sacraments.  In Holy Communion, Catholics believe that Christ is being offered up as a sacrifice, again and again.  Thus, the belief that Christ’s wounds are still being suffered by him.

Whether or not stigmata is physiological, psychological or spiritual, it is a distraction used by Satan.   The only one who carries the wounds of the crucifixion is Jesus Christ, the One who died for the sins of the world(I Peter 2:24).  I am not sure what purpose it would serve for Jesus to allow humans to manifest his wounds.   I can only deduce that it is the work of Satan as a deception to humanize and minimize the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. 

Further, stigmata is a state that is worshiped in the people who have manifested it.  The “saints” who have suffered with stigmata are venerated.   This is also a work of Satan to distract people from focusing on the One (Jesus Christ) who truly suffered on the Cross for our sins and still possesses the scars on his hands and feet.  Christ’s wounds, unlike the stigmata wounds, are healed and no longer bleed.  His wounds are finished!  He no longer suffers and bleeds for mankind!  He was victorious and bares the wounds as a testament of his sacrifice on the Cross!   To say that humans bare these wounds is sacrilegious and blasphemous. 

So, whether or not you believe the stigmata wounds are real or imagined, they are the work of the great deceiver who prowls around like roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.(I Peter 5:8)  The awesome truth is  that Jesus currently sits in heaven at the right hand of God the Father and he bares his wounds as rememberance of the sacrifice he made and the blood he shed for me!(Acts 2:32-36)  Thanks for reading!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer a Confessor of Christ

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an incomparable man.  He was brave, courageous, brilliant, strong in his convictions and loved his God.  Dietrich Bonheoffer was the catalyst of the Confessing church of Germany during World War II when there were few who would stand up for Christ!  Religion was institutionalized by Hitler and basically became a venue for Hilter’s hatred toward Jews.  Dietrich Bonhoefer, however, went underground to lead the church in confessing Christ!  I love this quote by Bonhoeffer:

Bonhoeffer himself wrote to a friend about this time, “Christ is looking down at us and asking whether there is anyone who still confesses him.”

In an effort to combat Hilter’s control over the church, Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth drafted the Barmen Declaration.  The declaration basically asserted that the state had no business in “the business” of the church.  The declaration states that the church “is solely Christ’s property, and that it lives and wants to live solely from his comfort and from his direction in the expectation of his appearance.”

Bonhoeffer provided much needed leadership in the Confessing Church as there were few pastors who would take a stand.   Prior to World War II Bonhoeffer was a pacifist.   However, after seeing pictures of the injustice and carnage of the German concentration camps, Bonhoeffer realized that there are times when warring against injustice is biblically justified.  Bonhoeffer was also an active member of the resistance and participated in an plan to assisinate Hilter.  Unfortunately, the plot failed and Bonhoefer was arrested.  For the next two years Bonhoeffer was imprisoned.  During his time in prison, however, he ministered to the other prisoners who were awaiting execution.  This is what one prisoner said of Bonhoeffer:

Captain Payne Best, an Englishman, survived to bear tribute to the prison-camp pastor: “Bonhoeffer was different, just quite calm and normal, seemingly perfectly at his ease. . . . His soul really shone in the dark desperation of our prison. He was one of the very few men I have ever met to whom God was real and ever close to him.”

Next, Bonhoeffer was taken to Flossenburg, an extermination camp.  However,  just three weeks before American soldiers liberated the camp,  Deitrich Bonhoeffer was executed.  If you visit the place of his execution here is what you’ll find:

Today the tree from which he was hanged bears a plaque with only ten words inscribed on it: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a witness to Jesus Christ among his brethren.

I love the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  He was truly a man who lived for Christ.  And he knew that living meant dying.  He was educated in the Word.  He was a pastor and a theologian.  But he lived it out practically.  He in no way lived in an ivory tower.  He was real!  He was brave and he stood for the Lord!  He was victorious in his confession of Christ and I know that he wears a beautifully bejewled crown in Glory!