this went thru my mind


Compassion, illness, prayer & service: Jesus My Patient [required reading]

“A prayer from Mother Teresa and used by her Sisters of Charity in their care for the sick, poor, and dying …”

Creation & faith: Seeing God in the Stars

“Dr. Jennifer Wiseman is an astronomer, author, and speaker. … As senior project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, she studies star-forming regions of our galaxy using radio, optical, and infrared telescopes. As director of the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, she helps improve communication between scientists and faith communities.”

Immigration & the poor: Do Illegal Immigrants Actually Hurt the U.S. Economy?

“Illegal immigration does have some undeniably negative economic effects. … Labor economists have concluded that undocumented workers have lowered the wages of U.S. adults without a high-school diploma — 25 million of them — by anywhere between 0.4 to 7.4 percent. The impact on everyone else, though, is surprisingly positive.”

National debt: Our Debt, Ourselves

“I want to present a calmer view, by emphasizing six facts about the debt that many Americans may not be aware of.”

Shane Claiborne: Ask Shane Claiborne … (Response) [essential reading]

“… non-violence doesn’t mean getting stepped-on. The call to non-violence is to disarm violence. A part of the way we do that is suffering with those who suffer.”

7 things you can do to bless those in the hospital


1. Consider visiting them during regular visiting hours. It’s exceedingly difficult to get any real rest while in the hospital, given all the necessary (and unnecessary) interruptions. This makes it very important to visit, whenever possible, only during visiting hours and to keep your visit brief, unless the situation deems otherwise. When you’re flat on your back, feeling weak and ill, a five minute visit can feel like twenty-five minutes. Your visit can help infuse strength and encouragement, so don’t drain away that energy by staying too long. I’ll have more to say about this at the end of this post.

2. Be clean for the patient’s benefit, not just your own. Many folks will use sanitizer or wash their hands following a visit to decrease their own odds of picking up an infection. This is a very good practice; just do it! However, go a step further: be one of those folks who does such before the visit, not only following. Do this specifically for the patient’s benefit. By visiting, you’ll be around a person whose immune system is likely somewhat compromised and can’t handle what you might be able to ward off with ease. And so, wash up or sanitize, just before you enter the room. Open the door with your non-dominant hand. Observe whatever directions are on the door or on the wall, too (i.e. – check with nurse’s station before entering, gown up, don a mask, wear gloves, don’t touch, or whatever). Don’t pick and choose which directions to follow; look for them and follow them all. They’re there for a reason. And I assume it goes without saying that there is no blessing in visiting someone who is sick when you are sick yourself. Bless the patient you’re visiting with your good habits.

3. Think allergies. Little things can make for big problems. That means don’t bring the patient flowers unless you’re certain the patient is not allergic to any of the flowers or plants in the arrangement. The same holds true for items aside from flowers and plants so don’t smuggle food in from outside for the patient. I’ve been personally aware of several instances across the years where severe health issues arose – even near death in one instance! – for failure to abide by this one simple rule. The culprit would likely be something you would have a hard time guessing. I had a friend who was hyper-allergic to eucalyptus plants. I don’t know how many times he had to wave off people who unwittingly tried to bring him one when he was hospitalized or confined at home. As for myself, I’m not only hyper-allergic to baby’s breath, but am quite sensitive to latex rubber, even just the powder on balloons or hospital gloves. Be aware of what most people think little about: allergies.

4. Put the patient first with the attitude you bring with you. Don’t dwell on difficult matters, continually sighing and wringing your hands. Similarly, don’t try to be a clown with everything you say, thinking by doing so you’ll bring a bit of cheer into the room. A patient is commonly exposed to both of those extremes so bless them with the gift normalcy by just being yourself with a “your needs come before mine” mindset and behavior.

5. Follow the patient’s lead. If they want to talk about their condition, talk about their condition. If they want to keep the subject on other things, respect them enough to do so. They have all day and night to dwell on their condition. For some people, that means they’d welcome the distraction for a while of thinking about other things during your visit. For others, it means they’d welcome a heart and ear that will listen and will allow them to vent off some of their pressure and stress. Be attentive and flexible, largely allowing the patient to be the one to chart the course you sail together.

6. Pray in their presence. Don’t be bashful and cop out of this by saying, “I’ll be praying for you.” Ask them if they’d mind if you’d pray for them right then and there in their presence. If they’re agreeable, don’t think you have to be original or make a speech. You can pray the Lord’s Prayer. Or pray you can simply pray: “Holy Father, in the name of your Son Jesus, I ask you to strengthen, heal, and bless this one you love so much. I ask in faith because of your great love and care. Amen.” You can do this. And as you pray, if possible, hold the patient’s hand or lightly rest your hand on their shoulder. Better still, have everyone who is in the room join hands as you pray. Spread the blessing around.

7. Respect their privacy. Not everyone wants others to know they’re hospitalized, so ask if they mind if you mention it to anyone else. Respect their answer. Some won’t mind others knowing they’re hospitalized, but will not want company. Respect their request. Others will be fine with visits from others, but would appreciate you not going into any detail at all as to why they’re hospitalized, their condition, their treatment, or their difficulties. Respect them in that. And some won’t care if the world knows all and they simply can’t get enough company. Respect their wishes and know full well that they’re in the small minority of folks who are that transparent. In all cases, the operative word is “respect.” Don’t substitute what you would want if you were in their shoes over their desires. R-E-S-P-E-C-T them; find out what it means for them.

journey thru James (18): twenty questions on James 5:7-20


This coming Sunday morning (Nov. 27) at MoSt Church, most of our adult classes will study James 5:7-20. This will mark the conclusion of our Journey Thru James. We’ll use the following two phrases to focus our mind on the meaning of this passage: persevering in patience in view of the Lord’s presence (5:7-11) and keeping your promises, offering your praise, praying in faith & pursuing the stragglers (5:12-20). To help you get ready for this encounter with God’s word and our discussion of it, here is the text and twenty exercises and questions.


Therefore, brothers and sisters, you must be patient as you wait for the coming of the Lord. Consider the farmer who waits patiently for the coming of rain in the fall and spring, looking forward to the precious fruit of the earth. You also must wait patiently, strengthening your resolve, because the coming of the Lord is near. Don’t complain about each other, brothers and sisters, so that you won’t be judged. Look! The judge is standing at the door!

Brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord as an example of patient resolve and steadfastness. Look at how we honor those who have practiced endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job. And you have seen what the Lord has accomplished, for the Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Most important, my brothers and sisters, never make a solemn pledge—neither by heaven nor earth, nor by anything else. Instead, speak with a simple “Yes” or “No,” or else you may fall under judgment.

If any of you are suffering, they should pray. If any of you are happy, they should sing. If any of you are sick, they should call for the elders of the church, and the elders should pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. Prayer that comes from faith will heal the sick, for the Lord will restore them to health. And if they have sinned, they will be forgiven. For this reason, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous person is powerful in what it can achieve. Elijah was a person just like us. When he earnestly prayed that it wouldn’t rain, no rain fell for three and a half years. He prayed again, God sent rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

My brothers and sisters, if any of you wander from the truth and someone turns back the wanderer, recognize that whoever brings a sinner back from the wrong path will save them from death and will bring about the forgiveness of many sins. (James 5:7-20 CEB)


1. Would you say this section (5:7-20) is rather random in thought or do you see a connecting thread? Explain.

2. James’ original readers clearly hungered (vs. 7) for the Lord’s return (10 on a scale of 10). How about you? Why?

3. How does James’ teaching to be patient (vs.7-8) fit in with the preceding context (4:13-5:6) and consequently, what
does it mean to be “patient” here in this context?

4. What can a Christian practically do to “strengthen” their “resolve” to wait patiently for the Lord (vs. 8)?

5. It’s easy for church to become “the complaint department” (vs. 9). How can a person break their habit of complaining?

6. What statements by Jesus come to mind when you read about how to avoid being ‘judged (vs. 9b)?

7. Does vs. 8b,9b teach that James expected Jesus’ return to be quite soon? It’s been nearly two millennium. Thoughts?

8. What specific prophets and events come to mind as examples of “patient resolve and steadfastness” (vs. 10)?

9. Read vs. 11. Knowing what you do of the book of Job, how is it exactly that it can be said that Job “endured?”

10. Read vs. 11b. What evidence in life speaks strongly to you that God truly is “full of compassion and mercy?”

11. Does vs. 12 forbid the taking of oaths by Christians in a court of law or saying the Pledge of Allegiance today? Explain.

12. What have you seen happen to peoples’ prayer life when they underwent suffering? (vs. 13a) What happen to yours?

13. The word “sing” (vs. 14) could be literally translated as “psalm.” What Psalm do you like to read when happy or what song do you particularly like to sing to God in praise?

14. Which do you think the illness spoken of in vs.14-15 is, physical or spiritual? Why?

15. Does vs. 14-15 speak of an experience limited to the time of the apostles or of one that is still valid today? Why?

16. James says “confess your sins to one another” (vs. 16). Why don’t we see and practice such more often than we do?

17. Working only from 5:13-18, what would you say are some essential qualities or traits of godly prayer?

18. How can you tell if someone has wandered (vs. 19), taken “the wrong path” (vs. 20) and is headed for death (vs. 20)?

19. Whose sins are being forgiven in vs. 20, those of the restored wanderer or those of the earnest seeker? Explain.

20. What is the best thing you’ve learned or been reminded of in this Journey Thru James?

Civil War & Stephens County, OK (19)

Reed, Bartley Hampton (1839-1913)

Far more men died in the Civil War from sickness than did from shot and shell. Falling ill enough to be left behind in a hospital was often a death sentence for a soldier during the Civil War, no matter which side on which they served. The experience of the USA, 29th Missouri Infantry Regiment serves as an example. During the war, three hundred and sixty nine men died in the service of the 29th. While 75 of that number were killed or mortally wounded, nearly four times that number (294) died due to the effects of disease.

Bartley Hampton Reed was one of those fortunate to emerge from a Civil War hospital alive and Bartley served as a Private in Company E of the USA, 29th Missouri Infantry. He enlisted on Aug. 18, 1862, mustered into service on Sept. 6, 1862, and served until he was mustered out of service on June 12, 1865, two months after what is generally recognized as the end of the Civil War. The scope of the experiences of his regiment stretched across much of the South and included their involvement in a number of the Civil War’s better known battles. Following is an excerpt from their regimental record:

“SERVICE … Sherman’s Yazoo Expedition December 22, 1862, to January 3, 1863. Chickasaw Bayou December 26-28. Chickasaw Bluff December 29. … Assault and capture of Fort Hindman, Arkansas Post, January 10-11, 1863. … Siege of Vicksburg May 18-July 4. Siege of Jackson July 10-17. … Moved to Memphis, thence march to Chattanooga, Tenn., September 27-November 21. … Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign November 23-27. Lookout Mountain November 23-24. Missionary Ridge November 25. Ringgold Gap, Taylor’s Ridge, November 27. … Battle of Resaca May 13-15, 1864. … Battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 25-June 5 … Assault on Kenesaw June 27. … Battle of Atlanta July 22. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. … Battle of Jonesboro August 31-September 1. … Operations in North Georgia and North Alabama against Hood September 29-November 3. … Regiment led advance of the 15th Army Corps on march to the sea November 15-December 10 [aka: Savannah Campaign]. … Siege of Savannah December 10-21. Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865. … Battle of Bentonville, N. C., March 20-21. … Occupation of Raleigh April 14 … Surrender of Johnston and his army. March to Washington, D. C., via Richmond, Va., April 29-May 20. Grand Review May 24. … Mustered out June 12, 1865.”

However, as trying as the experiences of combat must have been for the men of the 29th Missouri, perhaps the biggest test for Bartley is recorded in a brief entry in his personal record of service card that simply reads:

“Left sick at Memphis, Tenn, Sept. 21, 1863.”

Working in Bartley’s favor for his recovery was the fact that he was a young man (b. 1839 in Missouri) and that he was perhaps already a married man at the time (“Sarah Elizabeth;” b. 3/23/1843; d. 3/5/1904). Surviving his hospitalization in Memphis, Bartley would go on to become the father of at least two children, both sons, the first, Bartley Henderson Reed, being born one year and one week after his hospitalization (b. Sept. 23, 1864 in Madison County, Missouri; d. Sept. 18, 1891) and the second, Joseph L. Reed, being born four years and four months after he was discharged from military service (b. Nov. 29, 1869; d. Nov. 19, 1901).

When exactly Bartley moved to Oklahoma I don’t know, but he does show up in the 1910 Census, living as a widower in Pontotoc County, OK (1st Ward of Ada, Oklahoma [#13-13]).

Bartley died on Wed., Mar. 19, 1913. His body is buried in the Marlow cemetery (section 12, block 69, lot 4) in Marlow [Stephens County], Oklahoma. While there is no indication of his military service engraved on his gravestone, his name is listed on the veterans monument in that cemetery. His service as a Union soldier is also documented (under the name “B.H. Reed”) in N. Dale Talkington’s work The Long Blue Line: Civil War Union Soldiers and Sailors Buried in Oklahoma (p. 524).