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Monday, December 28, 2020

FREE Vintage Scripture Graphic - John 14:27


Here is another vintage graphic edited by yours truly. I got the original graphic somewhere online. I made some changes and added the verse. You can save the image from here, but it will not be very high quality. You can get it in higher quality for printing purposes if you go and download it here. (Use the download button on the left.) 

If you wish to use this online, please do not link to the graphic from either of my locations. Save it to your own computer and then upload it to the place where you store graphics online for you own use. Thank you. 

[Note: It's OK to link the graphic from here only if you are sharing the link to this specific post on my blog - either on your own blog or in social media.] :-)


Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Wall and the Hedge - by Annie Johnson Flint

The Wall and the Hedge

Hast not thou made an hedge about him...on every side?...
Job 1:10

"The devil may wall you around, but he cannot roof you in."
Dan Crawford

The devil may wall you round
But he cannot roof you in;
He may fetter your feet and tie your hands
And strive to hamper your soul with bands
As his way has always been;
But he cannot hide the face of God,
And the Lord shall be your Light,
And your eyes and your thoughts can rise to the sky,
Where His clouds and His winds and His birds go by,
And His stars shine out at night.

The devil may wall you round;
He may rob you of all things dear...

First published here in 2017.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Evening Song - Sunshine In My Soul

Malachi 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. 

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Friday, December 25, 2020

Jesus Knows Thy Sorrow


This may be a repeat post here, but it is a good poem for this time of year. There are usually a lot of hurting hearts around this season, but this year is especially so. Jesus knows and understands if you are hurting right now. Take your burdens and struggles to Him.

Psalm 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Jesus Knows Thy Sorrow

Jesus knows thy sorrow,
Knows thine every care;
Knows thy deep contrition,
Hears thy feeblest prayer;
Do not fear to trust Him --
Tell Him all thy grief;
Cast on Him thy burden,
He will bring relief.
Trust the heart of Jesus,
Thou art precious there;
Surely He would shield thee
From the tempter's snare;
Safely He would lead thee,
By His own sweet way,
Out into the glory
Of a brighter day.
Jesus knows thy conflict,
Hears thy burdened sigh;
When thy heart is wounded,
Hears thy plaintive cry;
He thy soul will strengthen,
Overcome thy fears;
He will send thee comfort,
Wipe away thy tears.
--Rev. W.O Cushing

Isaiah 53:3-5 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Painting by Childe Hasam

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Songs of Comfort and Peace

There are a lot of sad and lonely people right now for various reasons. This is a common time of year for some people to feel alone or depressed. Most of all this has been a very hard year for a lot of us. Here is a collection of hymns and spiritual songs to lift you heart and mind up in the name of the Lord.

Psalm 42:6-11 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. 

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Sunday, December 20, 2020

Letters to My Friend - Thoughts On the Need for Entertainment


Dear Friend, 

Just some rambling thoughts this time.

I was talking to a friend recently and I mentioned something that stuck with me, namely that I think one of the problems we're having with people going a bit crazy over COVID is that so many people in the U.S. (and other countries, I'm sure) are addicted to entertainment. It is actually "the drug of choice" for many people. I admit that I have to examine myself when I say this because I enjoy a good read and some videos myself at times. These are things that are available at home as much as anywhere. But there are many people who feel compelled to go out somewhere to do something to be entertained. Whether it's eating out, going to a movie, participating in sports, shopping, going to a specific place to be seen, or whatever else, there are many ways people seek entertainment outside their homes.

When my grandpa was a boy their neighbors would sometimes sneak up to their back door, open it, and push a large tub of pop corn through. Then they would walk around to the front door and knock. When someone answered the door they would say they had come over to play games. They knew my grandpa's family was poor (his father was dead) and so they thoughtfully made sure to provide the "refreshments" for the evening. My grandpa remembered those times with genuine fondness. I wonder how many people sit down with neighbors to play games now - not their own specific friends, but their neighbors. A few, I'm sure. But, the need for something more exciting is there for a lot of people. This would be far too tame and "boring."

Continue Reading.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Evening Song - How Tedious and Tasteless the Hours

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 

How tedious and tasteless the hours
When Jesus no longer I see!
Sweet prospects, sweet birds, and sweet flow'rs,
Have all lost their sweetness to me.
The midsummer sun shines but dim;
The fields strive in vain to look gay;
But when I am happy in Him,
December's as pleasant as May.

His name yields the richest perfume,
And sweeter than music His voice;
His presence disperses my gloom,
And makes all within me rejoice;
I should, were He always thus nigh,
Have nothing to wish or to fear;
No mortal so happy as I;
My summer would last all the year.

Content with beholding His face,
My all to His pleasure resigned,
No changes of seasons or place
Would make any change in my mind.
While blest with a sense of His love,
A palace a toy would appear;
And prisons would palaces prove,
If Jesus would dwell with me there.

Dear Lord, if indeed I am Thine,
If Thou art my sun and my song,
Say, why do I languish and pine?
And why are my winters so long?
O drive these dark clouds from my sky;
Thy soul-cheering presence restore,
Or take me unto Thee on high,
Where winters and clouds are no more.

- John Newton

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Tennessee Memories - One Frosty Morning


Psalm 147:17 He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? 

All photos taken near Kingston, Tenn. These ice formations were on the windows of my dad's truck.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Harden not Your Heart

Hebrews 4:6-10 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus [Joshua] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

Harden not Your Heart

There is a time, I know not when,
A place, I know not where,
Which marks the destiny of men
To heaven or despair.

There is a line by us not seen
Which crosses every path,
The hidden boundary between
God’s patience and His wrath.

Continue Reading.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Evening Song - Have You Counted the Cost?

Romans 1:20-32 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. 

 Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 

Note: This song mentions exhausting the love you God. Yon can't exhaust the love of God (Romans 8). But it is possible to sin away the day of grace and reject God's truth repeatedly to the point where He gives one over to a reprobate mind.

There’s a line that is drawn by rejecting the Lord,
Where the call of His Spirit is lost,
And you hurry along with the pleasure-mad throng—
Have you counted, have you counted the cost?

Have you counted the cost if your soul should be lost,
Though you gain the whole world for your own?
Even now it may be that the line you have crossed—
Have you counted, have you counted the cost?

You may barter your hope of eternity’s morn
For a moment of joy at the most,
For the glitter of sin and the things it will win—
Have you counted, have you counted the cost?

While the door of His mercy is open to you,
Ere the depth of His love you exhaust,
Won’t you come and be healed, won’t you whisper, “I yield—
I have counted, I have counted the cost.”

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Tiny Watercolor Vignettes Tutorial

Here is a tutorial from Ellen Crimi-Trent for some cute little watercolor vignettes. These are quite easy to do and they would be nice for adding to a greeting card or scrapbook or other paper craft. Use your imagination.

Enjoy! :-)

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Is It Our Christian Duty to Wear A Mask?

This article has not been easy to write. It is one that I have been hesitating over for awhile. I have tried to be reasonably straightforward without being too harsh. Please know that I have tried to restrain my feelings quite a bit in order to hopefully make this more useful. This is a subject which I'm actually feel very deeply because it affects so many of us in ways that it ought not. I have seen few, if any, churches that take this seriously and require masks for services regardless of what the local laws say. This makes me sad because it keeps some of us from the fellowship of the believers that we otherwise might enjoy. Please prayerfully consider what I have to say.


Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

In the book of Genesis after Cain killed his brother Abel, we read, "And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?" Genesis 4:9 In verse 10 the Lord answers him, "...What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground."

One of the outstanding and well known facets of Christianity is that we are supposed to be our brother's keeper. In addition, we are meant to do good to those who are not even of the household of faith. That was the point of the story of the Good Samaritan, wasn't it? And yet, we hear people regularly making excuse for disregarding the basic kindnesses that will help to stop the spread of a terrible sickness. Worse, there are too many who are denying the seriousness of it, mocking those who do the responsible thing, and even claiming that COVID-19 is a hoax and doesn't exist. (Some of those people are ending up in the hospital now terribly sick and confused how it could happen to them since it wasn't even "real." Yeah, true story.)

The thing that eats at me and gives me grief is how people who profess to love God and His word have strayed so far from it in the matter of basic Christian love and kindness. I know, you have your rights - maybe your "American rights" - to do what you want to do and no government can stop you. But what if Someone higher than the national or local government has spoken to this issue? Because He has, and it is dumbfounding how quickly and completely so many have turned their backs on Him and sought their own way and will (Prv. 14:12).

Continue Reading.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Evening Song - I Would Love to Tell You What I Think of Jesus

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 

Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Benefits of Fewer Toys for Children

1 Timothy 6:6-8 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 

We don't have kids, but as I've looked sometimes at the possessions of other people's children, I've felt that there was a serious problem with how many toys they own. This video makes a lot of sense to me. I had quite a bit as a kid, from my perspective, but compared to some kids now my family didn't have a lot and we were told "no" on a regular basis. We were also encouraged to think long term as we got older. We were told to think about saving for something more expensive rather than spending our little money on cheap junk. We were encouraged to ask for gifts that would last us into our teens and possibly beyond rather than age-limited play toys.  That might be something you could add to your thoughts, if you haven't already. 

And kudos for the point about parents dealing with their own clutter first. The best way to lead is by example. Child hearts need a leader, not someone who just wants to throw out their stuff because they're in charge. My grandmother was pretty much scarred for life by parents who threw away all her stuff except one doll every time they moved - and they moved often.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Benjamin Franklin (Updated article)

Careless exalting of the “founding fathers” of the United States has become a real problem among U.S. believers. In their misguided zeal to “restore America to its Christian foundation” there has been a tendency to justify the wicked and overlook serious sin in the men both past and present. I say “misguided zeal” because there is a strong tendency to imagine that we should go back to something in the past that would be better than what we have now. This is forgetting that history repeatedly shows us that nations rise and fall by a given pattern and, once past a certain point they never return to their former “glory” or power. It is also ignoring that some of these men fit altogether too well in what Romans chapter one says. Romans 1:28-32  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. 

Here is one example of a less-than-great “founding father.” (This article was updated this year.)


Benjamin Franklin is an iconic figure in American history. As one of the "Founding Father" of the United States as well as the publisher of Poor Richard's Almanac and a "man of science" in the amateur sense he created a rather expansive reputation for himself. But, is he worthy to be raised as a "hero"? Even more, should he be called a "Christian" as some have boldly proclaimed in recent times? The answer to these questions is an absolute "no." In fact, it is beyond my understanding how some people can claim these things for him when history is so unavoidably clear on the subject and so readily available in this day. Even in his own day his less-than-stellar reputation was generally known. He was neither a God-honoring hero nor a Christian. 

Here's why:

Continue reading here.

Painting By Joseph Wright, 1782.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Evening Song - The Mercy Tree

Psalm 118:1-4 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever. Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever. 

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Friday, November 27, 2020

Planning NOT to Buy Too Much

1 Timothy 6:6-8 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 

This is an interesting video that explains what is called "the Diderot Effect." This is the odd tendency that people have that leads to chain purchase. By that I mean, you buy something and then need something else to go with it, and something else to go with that, and so forth till you've made a whole string of purchases based on that first purchase. The first purchase may actually be needed, but often the following purchases are not. At the end, Becker suggests that instead of trying to impress people with things, you should try to impress them with how you live. I understand why he says that, but in the biblical worldview that isn't what Christians should be trying to do either. We should be living to glorify God. Keeping the excessive and unnecessary consumption and purchase of things under control is one way that we can glorify God. Learning to be content with what God has given us is one way to achieve that.

It seemed especially appropriate to post this now as so many people are focusing on buying at this time of year. Please consider your purchases prayerfully. Truthfully, folks, using Jesus' birth as an excuse to fill your homes (or "stockings") with junk is at the very least tacky. At worst it is dishonoring to the name that you claim to honor. Don't let yourself be caught up in the covetousness and hyper-consumerism of the season.  [For further reading: Spend Less, Don't Buy Stuff, Plan Ahead]

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Thursday, November 26, 2020

A Blessed Thanksgiving!

Psalm 107:21-22 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. 

Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 

How blessèd to enjoy the gift,
To taste of mercy here below;
In humble thankfulness to lift
Our hearts to Him whom now we know.
To know His love, how great it is,
To own and feel that we are His.

T. Kelly

Lord of glory, we adore Thee!
Christ of God, ascended high!
Heart and soul we bow before Thee,
Glorious now beyond the sky:
Thee we worship,
Thee we praise—
Excellent in all Thy ways.

Richard Holden

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Worth Repeating - A Thanksgiving Meditation by Martha Snell Nicholson


Since man apart from God is but an abnormal creature, our greatest joys, our deepest satisfactions, come in our relationship to Him. So I thank Him this Thanksgiving season for sins forgiven, for a great High Priest touched with a feeling of my infirmities, for the privilege of being a tool in His mighty hand, for His guidance, for His ear that hears my prayers, for His arm on which to lean, for His precious Word in which He speaks to us explicitly, and for the blessed, blessed hope of His soon coming!

I thank Him, more than all else, for utter safety. In the past I have known what it was to be afraid, but now I know that I am entirely and perfectly secure. I feel that I have come into a safe harbor. Nothing, absolutely nothing, not my own deeds nor those of others, not the works of devils, not circumstances, not so-called fate -- nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. Pain, sorrow and bereavement can come, shattered nerves and body can be my lot, death can even put my body in the grave; but whatever comes, it passes first through His tender hands, and so I can love it because it comes from Him!

Nothing can keep me out of heaven. I am as safe now as though I were already there. Just these few hard years to live, these few burdens to bear, and then to be forever with Him, our daily portion glory beyond infinite glory! Thankful? My cheeks are wet with happy tears. Why He gives all this to a poor creature like me I do not know -- but I know that I shall need all eternity in which to thank Him for it!

by Martha Snell Nicholson 

Romans 8:35-39  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

First published here Nov. 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Evening Song - I Just Want to Thank You, Lord

Psalm 75:1
Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare. 

Psalm 107:1-2 O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; 

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Autumn Roses, A Poem, and Some Thoughts on Quietness


Ecclesiastes 9:17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. 

Psalm 4:4-5 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

Isaiah 30:15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.

Isaiah 32:18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; 
2 Thessalonians 3:12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. 

1 Timothy 2:1-2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 

Sometimes in a world where there is so much noise, so much talking, so much activity, so much commenting, and so very many opinions it can be hard to find quiet let alone appreciate it. We can become accustomed to the clatter and chatter and forget the value of quiet. Yet, it is spoken of a number of times in scripture as a good thing. I find it curious in these present times that so many people are resentful and angry about having to physically "sit down and be quiet" - so to speak. This is especially disappointing coming from Christians who claim to know the word of God. When we fail to value quietness, we are failing to value something that God likes, that He has spoken well of, and that He has even commanded at times and in places.

Did you ever stop to think that one of the outstanding aspects of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ on this earth and of the new heaven and new earth is that we will dwell quietly? As I consider how many Christians, especially in America, complain and chafe against living a quiet life with less excitements and external activities, I can't help but think how much they are going to have to be changed in the resurrection in order to enjoy the quiet God has in store for us. And I would say that most of us are affected by the allure of activity and the busy life to some degree. But should the thought of a quiet life be so shocking?

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 

What does a godly, quiet, contented life look like? How can we live a quiet life today that glorifies God and rests in His strength? How can we alter our thinking and our expectations so that we can be content with less excitement and entertainment, so that we can appreciate the enforced quietness that we find ourselves in sometimes?

Jesus! I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For, by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

Oh, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea:
Oh, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart,
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings,
Thine is love indeed.

Ever lift Thy face upon me,
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

- Jean Sophia Pigott

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

A Walk Through the Michigan Woods In November

painting by Childe Hassam

Another great walk through the woods in Michigan, this time in November of this year when the colors were gorgeous. [I used a painting illustration because I couldn't share any of her photos. :-) ]

Fall Color at Ottawa County Parks November 2020

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Court of the King - A Poem by Annie Johnson Flint


The Court of the King

With the staff that had failed in my need
Where the road had been stony and steep;
With the lamp that was smoking and dim,
Though the darkness was growing more deep;
Weary, too weary to pray
And too heavy-hearted to sing,
Faint with the toils of the way
I came to the court of the King.

There where the fountains fall cool,
Their waters unfailing and pure;
There where the ministering palms
Stand like His promises sure,
Oh! there was peace in its shade,
Oh! there was rest in its calm;
And its sweet silences lay
On my bruised spirit like balm.

Long did I kneel in His court,
And walk in His garden so fair;
All I had lost or had lacked
I found in His treasuries there;
Oil to replenish my lamp,
His kindness a crown for my head,
For the staff that had wounded my hand
The rod of His mercy instead.

A garment of praises I found
For the sullen, dark garb I had worn,
And sandals of peace for the feet
That the rocks and the briers had torn;
Joy for my mourning He gave,
Making my spirit to sing,
And, girded with gladness and strength,
I passed from the court of the King.

Annie Johnson Flint

Psalm 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.


painting by Abbott Fuller Graves

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Evening Song - In the Garden

John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 

John 20:11-18 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Aged Hot Pepper Sauce Recipe from Sister in the Mid-west

Peppers grown by my dad in Tennessee.

Sister in the Mid-west at Simple Inspirations posted a recipe recently for aged or fermented hot pepper sauce. My dad loves this kind of sauce and he recently figured out how to make his own using Tabasco peppers that he grew. I don't know if he has a recipe or not as he tends to "fly by the seat of his pants" when cooking. (Yeah, that's partly where I got it.) This recipe sounds similar to what my dad probably did, so I thought it would be interesting to share it. I'll ask my dad about his recipe later, if I remember. :-)

My Aged Pepper Hot Sauce "Recipe"

Please let her know if you try her recipe. :-)

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Thoughts from the Past - A Song of Death and Life - A Poem and A Thought

Photo taken in Cade's Cove, Tennessee, 2003.

A Song of Death and Life

Death is the breaking of a fragile cup
Filled with God-given life. -- A passing song
Borne on the breeze of Time across the wave
That laps the shore of long eternity,
And echoes endlessly in Heaven or Hell --
Such is our Life. -- How oft we long for Death
With its sweet promise of oblivious rest!
We turn from Life, heart-sickened by its woe
Forgetting why that Life was give us;
God gave us Life that we might learn to die --
And makes our Death an entrance into Life --
Not the Life-ending that we vainly seek,
Weeping and wailing that we find it not.
We long to end our troubled round of toil
And cease for ever from our love and hate:
Peace for our struggling hearts, and calm after tears;
If Death but bring us this -- then welcome Death!
Oh! poor, weak, human longing! Satisfied
In God's deep pitying love, far otherwise.
Rest can be found in Death's great Conqueror,
Deep calm of soul in His unchanging Light,
Peace for a troubled heart upon His breast,
And Lethe's draught in His sweet stream of love.
Come Life, come Death, the soul that trusts in Him
Cares not -- for endless, higher life is his --
It matters not what changes shake the soul
For Christ's redeemed are immortal men!
Seek not to die, but seek to live alway,
Begin on earth the long, sweet task of Heaven;
Fill well thy fragile cup that when it breaks
Life's golden stream may flow eternally.

Eva Travers Poole

People will sometimes say when some suffering person has died that they are now "better off", and they find comfort in that thought.  The truth is, though, that they are only better off if they put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and drank of His living waters before they died.  If they did not, they cannot and will not have eternal life, and it can never be "better" for them once they have passed the dread portals of Death.  Only those who have made peace with God through Jesus, the Conqueror of Death and Hell, will find a "better place" beyond that point.

Revelation 1:18   I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Only the One who liveth and was dead and is alive forever more and who holds the keys of hell and death can give eternal life!  There is no other Way, no other Truth, no other Life.  Anything less than salvation through Jesus Christ will leave a person without hope and without Life after they have fallen to Death.

John 3:16-18  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

How is it with you?  Do you have the Life of the Son of God in you?  Do you have that eternal life that only comes through believing on the the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, was buried and rose again, triumphant over Death?

What about your friend, your loved one, your neighbor?  Do they have a knowledge of the great Life-Giver that they might have the opportunity to believe and Live also?

God grant us to be attentive to the need around us that we might focus on those things that pertain to eternal Life and not be so focused on this world that we forget that it is only a vapor that passes away. May we be faithful to speak of that Life in Jesus before we and others step into that vast thing called Eternity - an eternity of either eternal Life or eternal Death.

John 7:37-39   In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Revelation 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Originally published here Aug. 2016

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Evening Song - How Can I Keep from Singing?

Psalm 96:1-13 O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. 

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Monday, November 2, 2020

Letters to My Friend - Your Conscience, Not Someone Else's


Dear Friend,

Things have been tense lately as election day approaches in the U.S. Emotions are running high. People have been pressured and even attacked by their family, church family, and friends in ways that feel invasive and lacking in Christian grace. I find it all rather appalling and overwhelming at times.

I was lying in bed thinking about something I had seen myself and just feeling kind of sad and lost in the maze of unkind assertions, when a portion of a verse came to mind.

"the answer of a good conscience toward God"

And something that I already knew in theory struck me more fully, namely this: that my conscience is meant to answer to God, not another Christian. To God. No one else.

Continue Reading.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Evening Song - O Listen to Our Wondrous Story

1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 

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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Tennessee Memories - Color Tour

Isaiah 30:15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength...

All these photos were taken in or near Kingston, Tenn.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Unfruitful Works of Darkness

An Australian friend of mine brought this statistic to my attention recently. Americans are expected to spend $8,000,000,000 on Halloween this year. Yes. That says 8 Billion dollars. Think: enough money to put a big dent in involuntary homelessness if it were donated appropriately.

I also found this:

Percentage of Americans who plan to decorate their homes for Halloween: 53%.

Those who plan to dress up (in spite of Covid limitations): 46%.

Are you getting a picture here? There is no remorse or repentance going on due to the COVID19 drama this year. Based on those numbers, I would guess that very few of the Christians who celebrate Halloween have even bothered to re-evaluate their behavior and make changes that honor Christ. This despite all the calls for us to follow 2 Chronicles 7:14 (If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Do you know what true repentance looks like? It looks like turning from wicked ways. It looks like renouncing evil deeds and discarding the works of darkness.

Acts 19:17-20 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. 

Just to be clear, fifty thousand pieces of silver in that ancient economy was a tremendous amount of money, each piece of silver representing a day's wage. Based on an average day's wage today of $247 that comes to about $12,350,000. Definitely not pocket change. Yet they willingly burned those things for the glory of God. They cleared themselves from their previous involvement in Satanic arts and practices. 2 Corinthians 7:11  For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 

By the way, this is the New Testament church equivalent of the 2 Chronicles passage, but the two are not exactly the same thing. 2 Chronicles was written to the Jewish nation. We, the church, don't seek to heal our land. We strive now to show ourselves approved unto God. It isn't the same thing.

But, I digress.

For years and years now there have been people crying out against the Satanic history of Halloween. My own parents were confronted with it when I was a child and made the choice to leave it behind. Many of their generation would not make that choice.

Yet here we stand, in 2020, with nation in decay and Christians of various persuasions calling for America to turn back to God and become a "righteous nation," but so few who are willing to give up the works of darkness and lead the way by example.

And it isn't just Halloween. I poke around the web. I see and hear things. People often tell you a lot more about themselves than they probably wanted you to know.

For example, there are professing Christians who claim they are not bothered by the violent sex scenes in shows like "Game of Thrones." Really? That makes me wonder what sort of stuff they watch that has anesthetized them to such vile filth. I guarantee you that it isn't the Holy Spirit doing this, who guides us into all truth (Jn. 16:13-14) and glorifies Jesus Christ. Jesus is not making them comfortable with scenes of rape and sex that are so disturbing even one of the actresses is reported to have been bothered by it. No, I've never watched it. I don't have to. There is plenty to read about it without filling one's mind with the visual depravity of it. And, may I just say? I'm not really that keen on having men (or women) like that being "on my team" in allegedly bringing the U.S. to a righteous place. In fact, to be blunt: it isn't possible for people with those proclivities to bring anything or anyone to the righteousness of God because they don't understand it themselves.

Many Christians have embraced the adventures and wizardry of Harry Potter and justify it as good reading for kids because "good wins out over evil in the end." But it isn't God's good winning over Satan's evil, no, it's Satan's good wining over Satan's evil. Much as in the Star Wars movies. 

Oops. Did I just say that? Yes, at the risk of being told I'm no fun and too picky. It is definitely not popular to say this among today's Christians, and yet it's still true. The golden calf of Star Wars is a shrine at which many bow. But have you ever considered that the "the Force" can be used for both good and evil? That both good and evil are supposed to be different sides of the same entity? That isn't God. That is Satan. That is the basic principle of so-called "white" and "black" magic or witchcraft. It all goes back to the same "source," and that is the devil. So, yeah, Harry Potter and Star Wars are Satanic at the most basic level. How can I say that?

How can I not?

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 

Psalm 5:4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. 

Any entity or power that has "two sides" - both dark and light - isn't God. Never has been. Never will be.

And while I'm on this little jaunt, may I bring up the subject of Superheroes? Especially Thor? Oh, yeah. The  heathen god of thunder from Germanic mythology who has become a Marvel superhero. And, to be clear, all of the superheroes portray god/goddess-like attributes that remind one of the idols of various religions - counterfeits of the one true God and Jesus Christ, His Son. Isaiah 42:8  I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

Now I understand that it can be easy to pick up something not realizing the origins or connections it may have. I have learned the hard way to check the other books of authors that are new to me to see what other types of books they may be writing. Sometimes we may accept something that seems innocent only to find out later that it has evil connections.

But how hard is it so figure out that Harry Potter is about witchcraft and is essentially dark in its origins? How hard is it to realize that Thor is a heathen god? Or to figure out that Game of Thrones is a vile show? Or that Halloween is a festival of death and darkness? Not that hard, really.

Ok, I'm done venting. But, just let me finish with this. I find it very strange to hear and see Christians talking about turning the U.S. around for God and making it a God-fearing nation again, a righteous nation, when they aren't willing to give up the patently evil things in their very own lives. Halloween is just one of many.

Hosea 10:12  Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

Ephesians 5:8-11  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Evening Song - Fear Not Tomorrow

Psalm 32:7-11 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about. Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. 

John 10:4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 

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Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Thousand Word Project - Liquid Jewels

Proverbs 3:19-20 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

In A Garden - A Poem by Martha Snell Nicholson

In A Garden

God walks in my garden
In the early dawn,
But when I rise to greet
Him He is always gone,

Though I can trace His footprints
In beds of violet,
And in a lily's perfume
His presence lingers yet.

Hush, my soul, be patient
For yet a little space --
Some day you will see Him,
Will meet Him face to face;

Some day, earth forgotten,
You will fare abroad,
And in heaven's gardens
You will walk with God.

Martha Snell Nicholson

Hebrews 10:37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 

Revelation 3:4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Evening Song - Praise the Lord

Psalm 150:1-6 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD. 

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Sunday, October 11, 2020

The Threefold Work - by Annie Johnson Flint

The Threefold Work

Three things the Master hath to do,
And we who serve Him here below
And long to see His kingdom come,
May pray or give or go.

He needs them all...

Continue Reading.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Evening Song - Seeking the Lost

Mark 16:15-16 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 

Romans 10:13-15 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 

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Thursday, October 8, 2020

The Thousand Word Project - Grass

1 Peter 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.
The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Turkey Ham Special

This is an original recipe of my own as far as I know. I started making it years ago. You can make changes according to your preferences as it's very easy to make and switch up for variety or personal taste. You could use avocado or pickled beetroot in place of the tomato. You could also pop it into a bun or pita bread and eat it as a sandwich. 

This dish can be used for a quick lunch or for the meat dish of the main meal. If you use it for the main meal, you could slice the turkey ham a little thicker than you would for a lunch. Also feel free to change up the meat. It could also be made with sliced turkey or ham or roast beef or chicken breast. Just be sure it is fully cooked before hand. (Maybe a new use for leftovers?)

You will need:

Sliced turkey ham (or other meat)
Sliced tomatoes 
Sliced cheddar or cheese of your choice
Onion and garlic powder (optional).

Place a slice of turkey ham on a microwave-safe plate. Sprinkle lightly with the onion and garlic powder if you are using them. Place slices of tomato on top of this, and top with slices of cheese. Cook in microwave till the cheese is melted to your satisfaction. This is one serving. Repeat until you have a serving for each person being served.

If you don't use a microwave this could be done in a frying pan on the stovetop with just a little water and oil in the pan and a close fitting lid to hold in the steam. It will take a little longer than the microwave. 

If you are making this for a larger family you may want to try laying the turkey ham slices, etc. in a greased baking dish or pan, and baking it in a conventional oven. I have not tried this so, you will have to experiment. You probably should put the cheese on after the turkey ham and tomatoes are partially cooked.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

What If God Meant COVID for Good?


It's a curious thing, but Romans 8:28 gets taken out of context a lot and used by itself. This isn't necessarily bad, but I think sometimes we fail to appreciate its context in the passage. As we are living through such a strange time right now, it might be a good idea to consider how and why God might be using the coronavirus and the disruptions of life for good to His children.

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

We often don't know what to pray for as we should. We don't always know what God would have for us. But, His Spirit does. This is a very comforting thought if we remember that He's working for our good. It can be quite frightening when we start to question if God's intentions are good, or if we are afraid that what He thinks is good for us is something we don't want to experience. (Ouch.)

Continue Reading.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Evening Song - The Lord's My Shepherd

Psalm 23:1-6 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Just for Fun - Write Gooder

This humorous list has made its rounds on the internet for quite a few years. I'm sorry to say that I don't know who the original author is. I may have added one or two items myself. I can't remember now. :-)


1. Avoid alliteration always.

2. Prepositions are no words to end sentences with.

3. Avoid clichés like the plague.

4. Employ the vernacular ad nauseam.

5. Eschew ampersands & abbrev., etc.

6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

Continue Reading. 

artist unknown

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Evening Song - What Kind of Man?

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Hebrews 12:2-3 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 

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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Hard Questions - Is It Your Christian Duty to Vote?

This article was first posted in 2016. I had planned something else for today, but after revisiting this it seemed like maybe it was time to put it up again since the elections in the U.S. are fast approaching again. I edited it and made a few changes.

Is It Your Christian Duty to Vote?

Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good;
and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly,
and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

This was an article that I wasn't sure I wanted to write this year (2016). There has been so much said by so many that I hesitated to add my thoughts as it seemed like there was too much already. The thing that made me reconsider is all the drama I've seen and heard about how it is supposedly the American Christians' duty before God to vote. The misuse of scripture in some instances has bothered me. Added to this is the overwhelming pressure that various Christian people and groups are putting on others to try to force them to vote for the person they deem to be "the right one." In the hopes of helping a few people get a little peace about this, I decided to venture forth into a topic that is generally odious to me. So, here we go.


American Christians have been told for years that it is their "duty to vote." The preachers, pastors, and evangelists have stomped up and down this country in and out of election years, telling people that if they don't vote for  the "right" candidate (meaning the one of that man's choice) or for a specific issue then it will be their fault when this country goes to the devil. Prohibition was passed largely based on this type of pulpit politics, and after some years and total failure, it was repealed and, strangely enough, we are not all drunkards now. (Yeah, the nation is a mess, but you can't honestly blame all of this on alcohol.)

Continue Reading.