Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Deuteronomy 11:18, 19 (NIV)


Tomorrow begins my 25th year (more or less) of Camp Curry with my grandchildren.  Two sets of grandchildren have already grown up and will hopefully someday have their own version of summer camp with their children and grandchildren.  Camp Curry has two objectives:  First, I get to have my grandchildren all to myself and secondly, most importantly, I get to demonstrate godly principles set in an atmosphere of creative fun.

It seems appropriate during this political season to focus on our country:  its symbols, its patriotic music, the branches and functions of government, and our rights and responsibilities as citizens.  What better time will I have for emphasizing the need to pray for our country and invoke God’s protection (Psalm 127:1)?  What a great time to teach the grands that righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34).  And, with all the disrespect characterizing national discourse, I will remind the children that God sets up governments for his own purposes (Romans 13:1).  It is our responsibility as citizens to be obedient and to pray and work for change, when needed.

Of course, we will talk about our nation’s history and how we were birthed by many people seeking religious freedom.  So many of those early settlers and explorers were Christians and missionaries.  We’ll talk about the sacrifices that people made to give us the freedoms we enjoy today and what we must do to preserve those.

There will be videos and books and art and field trips to reinforce our learning times.  Actually, I shall use subversive means so that the children don’t even know they are being taught.  I’m hoping they go home just thinking they had a great time at Mimi’s while these little seeds continue to be watered and fed at home by Mom and Dad who are also subversive teachers.

We’ll have a trip for flag-spotting, a visit to the White House (yes, someone built a replica here in South Texas), and other surprises throughout the week. Did I mention we’ll have chicken, red/white/blue ice cream, hotdogs, French fries, red/white/blue cupcakes (with sprinkles), and lots of other goodies?  You get the idea.  Mom and Dad can do the organic healthy foods when they go home.

Jesus told us we should first be witnesses in Jerusalem (home), Judea (neighborhood),  Samaria (outreach), and the ends of the world—in that order (Acts 1:8).  Sometimes we skip right over Jerusalem thinking the ends of the world are more needful, but that’s not what Jesus said.  I’m taking off work this week to be in Jerusalem.

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Father, prepare our hearts for what you want to do in us this week.  May you be glorified.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.


Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…  Psalm 33:12  (NIV)


During the Civil War, there was an increase in “religious sentiment,” perhaps comparable to what we experienced right after the tragedy of 9/11.  Suffering tends to makes us look outside ourselves to see what God might be doing or saying and how we might respond.

And so it was that when our country was going through the most divisive time in its history, Rev. M. R. Watkinson from Pennsylvania wrote to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase asking that “Almighty God” be somehow recognized on our currency.  After all, from ancient times gods and rulers had their place of honor on the coinage of the land.  Why shouldn’t the United States acknowledge God’s rightful role in our national affairs?

Secretary Chase responded by instructing the Director of the Mint to prepare a motto, saying, No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.  Once the design was approved, it went to Congress, and the Act adding Chase’s notation passed in April 22, 1864.  Eventually, this saying was added to our paper currency.  On July 30, 1956, a Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress and approved by the President declared IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States.

On November 8, 2016, our country experienced a gut-wrenching upheaval as the results of our national election were announced.  For days analysts and pundits have tried to determine what happened.  Did anyone really anticipate the historic event that has provoked rioting among some citizens and hope among others?  And yet, we are one nation under God.

Did you take notice that in the late 19th Century one man, Rev. Watkinson, was compelled to act after having felt “our national shame in disowning God as not the least of our present national disasters?”  One man moved by God did what he could to make a difference in our country.  And now our national motto is IN GOD WE TRUST.

Let us, as good citizens of our beloved country and members of the Church, continue to rise in prayer on behalf of our nation:  for healing, for repentance, for spiritual renewal.  And let us pray for all our leaders that we would be established in righteousness (I Timothy 2:1-4, Romans 13:1).


Father, your grace has brought us safe thus far.  You established us as a nation for your purposes and have seen us through “many dangers, toils, and snares.”  In thanksgiving for your love and your grace, we ask you to forgive us for not loving our neighbors as ourselves and for choosing our own ways instead of yours; heal us; unite us in your love; be with all our leaders and give them wisdom to govern this great nation.  IN GOD WE TRUST.  AMEN.


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As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.  I Samuel 12:23  (NIV)

During the Enlightenment, the philosophes and many religious leaders embraced the “omnicompetence of human reason” (Alister E. McGrath).  What a disillusionment it must have been to see the human and moral failure of the French Revolution and intellect—even coupled with high ideals.

And then the Romanticists turned to feelings to liberate the human spirit.  The imagination was freed to soar to God, to turn to him to touch man’s deepest needs.  But feelings, too, were insufficient to bring us into satisfying, consistent relationship with the divine.

The Marxists propagated the notion that religion is a creation of the people and their response to social and economic conditions.  Essentially, addressing economic and social ills would, in time, eliminate spiritual hunger.

And so on…

Today, there are so many issues with few policy statements or resolutions proposed that do not in some way inflict harm on someone or some group.  It’s as if imposition of My Truth (whatever that may be) will resolve the suffering, the marginalization, the lostness we see in so many places around the world.

Several years ago, I was at a religious conference that was designed to explore problems in the church.  Guest speakers (recognized experts in their fields) dissected the concerns from every imaginable position but suggested no strategic plan or resolution.  During the break, I was so frustrated, I approached a couple of the “experts” and pointed out that these were the same issues with the same arguments that we’d heard at the last conferences.  Had it occurred to anyone that, since we don’t seem to have answers, perhaps we should gather to pray?  To seek Divine guidance?  To ask God for healing and wisdom?  There was dead silence until one of the clergy standing nearby said, “You can use my church.”

Yes, people are being killed, there is destruction in our land, there are divisions, in some places anarchy appears to threaten, but are we spending as much time praying about these situations as we are talking and grieving about them?  Are we praying for our leaders as much as we criticize them?  Are we helping our neighbors as much as we judge them?  Do we have a pile of rocks at the ready to stone those sinners among us whom we disapprove (before we look into our own hearts)?

God forbid that I should sin by ceasing to pray for you.  It’s a start.

Father, you have gifted us with an unspeakably wonderful country.  We’ve made some bad choices. We haven’t loved our neighbors as ourselves.  We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart.  We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us and heal our land; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.


Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…  Psalm 33:12

I have been privileged to visit almost every part of our beautiful country.  I’ve met many of our wonderful citizens and seen vistas that rival the most stunning scenes in any part of the world.  We have architectural structures that please and fascinate, and the bounty we experience is historically unprecedented.

This is still the land of opportunity, and we are blessed.  We are still a country where hard work reaps amazing benefits; where anyone can receive an education; where basic healthcare is accessible to all; and where dreams can come true.  Contemplating these blessings, I went to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ web page to see how I should respond to the benefits that are provided to me, a citizen of this great country.  This is what I found:

I am to support and defend the Constitution, which outlines the fundamental laws and basic rights of citizens of the United States, discusses the representational form of our government, and specifies the checks and balances of the three branches of government.  If we are Christians, the Bible tells us to pray “for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (I Timothy 2:2).

I should stay informed of the issues affecting my community.  We are to be informed in order to address the needs of those marginalized or to be change agents in matters of wholesome, right living.

I should participate in the democratic process.  The immediate thing we can do is become informed about candidates running for office, contribute time or finance, and then vote.  How can we complain if we don’t vote?

I must respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.  If we don’t like the laws, we work to get them changed.  Otherwise, we respect and obey.

I must respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.  Paul says in Romans 13:10 that “love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”  We don’t have to agree with others, but we do have to love and respect them.

I should participate in my local community.  There are always opportunities to help out.  In this nation that has more volunteers per capita than any other country, we don’t have to go far to find a way to get involved.  Love does.

I must pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.  Hebrews 13:17 urges us to “ Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves:”  Part of obedience is paying taxes.  After all, even Jesus made a point of paying his and Peter’s tax.

I should serve on a jury when called upon.  I always welcome and respond to the summons for jury duty knowing that I will never be chosen because of my husband’s long career as a state judge.  I once was a defendant in a civil suit, and I was grateful for all the people who were willing to give their time and attention to hear my story (and vote in my favor).

I should defend the country if the need should arise.  I am grateful for all the men and women who have given their lives for all the benefits and honor we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America.

May we all cherish this beautiful country for whom so many gave their all, and may we all do our duty as faithful citizens.  And may God bless America.

Heavenly Father, the blessings of being citizens of this great nation are innumerable.  Thank you for inspiring men and women of long ago to dream, to sacrifice, and to work that we might enjoy the benefits known to so few around the world.  We honor them, and we thank you for the great gift of our country, the United States of America.  AMEN.