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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Tired of the Abuse and the Cover-ups

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?

In December 2018 I posted the article "Warn, Report, Resist" on the subject of sexual abuse and cover ups in the church. If you haven't read it, please do.

I referenced Pastor Stacey Shiflett's video in that article as he dealt with the Cameron Giovanelli situation (see update on that case here). This more recent video by Brother Shiflett deals with the way too many have responded to this situation - justifying the wicked; covering for Giovanelli; attacking the victim and Calvary Baptist Church of Dundalk, Maryland; and denying the truth even when it was confirmed. [The video link will ask you to go to YouTube to view the video. This is because Brother Shiftlett has set up his account to prevent people from embedding his videos on their pages. I'm not sure why, but judging by the way he has been attacked, I can't blame him. Please click the "Watch this video on YouTube" link to see the video. Or click here.]

Please know that there are people in churches who are tired of the evil and are standing for the truth, and be willing to stand with them. This wickedness cannot be covered and denied if the Lord's church wants to maintain a good testimony, regardless of "denomination," but it starts by dealing with it on the local level in individual churches. As long as people esteem the approval of men and acceptance into certain circles more than they desire to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, this wickedness will increase and destroy lives and testimonies. People talk a good deal sometimes about being a voice for the voiceless in relationship to abortion. There is another area where we need to be doing this, and that is in regard to sexual abuse of minors within the church and spiritual or sexual abuse of adults by their leaders.

Matthew 18:6-7 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Evening Song - Eyes Off the Waves

Matthew 14:28-31 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 

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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Thoughts from the Past – Who Do You Sound Like?

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. 

Written April 13, 2008 (edited Aug. 2020)
Who Do You Sound Like?

My parents ate breakfast yesterday at a local cafe, or perhaps more accurately, a "greasy spoon." One of the patrons was a local sports coach who was holding court with anyone who would talk with him. Plenty of people knew him and he was having a grand time shining on the willing audience.
My parents were listening to other people's conversations (a great way to pick up the local "news") and couldn't help hearing the coach's chatter as he held forth, no doubt on his favorite subject. My dad particularly noticed that the man's favorite source to quote was himself.

We've all heard people like this I suppose. Their conversation is peppered with remarks like, "I always say,..."; "As I told so-and-so,..."; "I always tell them..."; and so forth. To hear them tell it, you would think that they are the most useful and reliable sources of information.

Our family once saw a series of historical documentaries done by the droll Englishman, Alistair Cooke. In one of those films he made this clever witticism (clever for an Englishman, that is), "Someone once said, and it might have been me..." and thus imparted some appropriate quote upon the subject. This is unfortunately how some people seem to think, only they really mean it.  It isn’t a joke to them.

I was just thinking the other day that anyone who knew my Gramma Hoover very well would recognize that I had spent quite a bit of time with her by hearing me talk. I use her expressions and words, and no doubt use her manner of speech enough to betray the fact that we were close relatives as well as close friends.

In the gospel of Matthew we read that when Peter was warming himself beside the fire in the high priest's palace, the others there were accusing him of being with Christ. He denied it, but they could not believe him. Matthew 26:73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Peter's speech had betrayed him. Whether it was his Galilean accent or some other clue of his speech I don't know for sure, but he gave himself away with his mouth.

Later, after the apostles were filled with the Holy Ghost at the day of Pentecost, Peter and John were arrested and stood before the spiritual leaders of Israel (including some of the same men who had officiated at the trial of Christ). When Peter answered the men boldly in the power of the Holy Ghost, we are told in Acts 4:13, Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

Their speech showed that they had been with Jesus. They were not naturally men of this sort of boldness, speech and wisdom. If they had not listened, had not believed and had not desired to follow Christ, their speech would not have reflected His influence on them.

Our speech shows who we have been spending time with, who our companions have been. The coach mentioned above shows by his speech who he thinks is important and who is an excellent source of knowledge or wisdom - himself. My own expressions and some of my mannerisms reflect a person with whom I spent much time and who was a great influence on me - my grandmother. Many people are quick to quote their pastor or some other expert or "guru" whom they consider to be a "great source" of wisdom.  When some question or issue comes up, they will inform you, "Well, Pastor ________, says thus and so," as if he was a final authority. If you ask some people why they do such and such, they won't give you scripture, they will quote Michael Pearl, Jack Hyles, Bill Gothard, Elizabeth Elliot, Francis Chan, Paul Washer or whoever their favorite expert is.

What a wonderful thing, though, it would be to have it said of us that others knew we had been with Jesus because of our speech and our manner! I think there are few witnesses of His power in our lives that should be so sweet and so desired as this one. People strive for notice in soul-winning, in works of many kinds, in being noted for their "great deeds for Christ", in having a "deep spiritual life" and many such things. But, if we have spent so much time with Christ, hearing His words and listening to Him, that people can readily recognize it because our speech and our behavior is different, any other truly spiritual accomplishments should naturally, or rather supernaturally, follow.

A number of years ago my dad and a friend of ours had the distinct privilege of meeting a man who "had been with Jesus." He had obviously saturated his soul with the word of God, for his speech betrayed him. My dad and his friend were traveling from Canada back into the U.S. They had a large load of scripture plaques and there was some question as to whether they would be charged duty at the border. Since they were not prepared to pay a large amount of money for this, there was some concern about it. Before they left this brother from whom they had received the plaques, he  wanted to pray with them. As he prayed my dad and our friend came into genuine awe. The man's manner of praying was to quote passages of scripture easily and fluently, working them into his prayer without any strain to do so and talking as if it were the most natural way in the world to talk to God. And perhaps it is. It was not a stilted or forced thing, but simple expressions and requests regarding the trip and the need at hand. It was not pompous or puffed up, but sincere and as a man would talk to his friend. The man's normal speech had been well salted, but his manner of prayer made them realize that they had been visiting with a man who had spent much time with the Lord reading and absorbing His word. (Incidentally, though significantly, this man had also had a truly heart breaking experience which had changed the whole course of his life.)

[By the way, they got through the border without paying any customs because the inspector declared the plaques "religious icons" - though all that was on them were scripture verses. :-) ]

There are many Christians who live in fear or suspense about the coming of persecution to the USA.  There are many professing believers whose mouths are full of political ideologies, conspiracies, health dangers, the praise of man, the world, etc.  Would to God that if we are ever called upon to answer before a court of man for our behavior and speech that our testimony before men would be that they would take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus!

Deuteronomy 30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom...

This item was first posted here in June 2012.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Evening Song - Send the Light

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, August 20, 2020

Reader Comments - Dealing with Laziness and Low Motivation

Reader's Question:

I’ve been reading your blog and I currently work part time, but because of the virus, I am not technically working right now and this time has made me realize how lazy I am. I don’t want to be this way and I’m trying to change, but I feel the saying is true that old habits die hard. Do you have any tips on how to stop being lazy and get down to homemaking? Any advice would be appreciated.


I struggle with the issue of laziness in a somewhat different way because I have some chronic health issues that affect my stamina and ability to accomplish things. In my situation I tend to feel like I'm not accomplishing enough, but when I push myself too hard I often end up with a temporary injury, a migraine or abnormal exhaustion which then forces me to slow down or even stop for a day or more. Sometimes for weeks. Finding the right balance for not feeling lazy and also not overdoing things is challenging sometimes. This is very frustrating, but it also gives me a somewhat different set of issues to deal with. For that reason, I asked my friend, Elisabeth M. to answer this question because her experience comes from a healthy person perspective. :-) I think her advice can be used by all of us in whatever situation we find ourselves battling laziness, lethargy or lack of motivation. (I'll add some more observations farther on.)

Here's what she wrote:

Continue Reading.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Just for Fun - Watercolor Time Lapse of English Cottage

I enjoyed watching this painting being created by this very talented artist and thought I'd share it with you. :-)  Enjoy!

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Sunday, August 16, 2020

He Goes Before - A Poem by J. Danson Smith

Deuteronomy 1:30 The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes; 

He Goes Before

Dark is the sky, and veiled the unknown ‘morrow.
Dark is life’s way, for night is not yet o’er.
The longed for glimpse, I may not meanwhile borrow,
But this I know and trust, He goes before.

Dangers are near, and fears my mind are shaking.
Heart seems to dread, what life may hold in store.
But I am His. He knows the way I’m taking.
More blessed even still, He goes before.

Doubts cast their weird unwelcome shadows o'er me.
Doubts that life’s best, life’s choicest things are o'er.
What but His word can strengthen can restore me,
And this blessed fact that still He goes before.

He goes before, be this my consolation.
He goes before, on this my heart will dwell.
He goes before, this guarantees salvation.
He goes before, and therefore all is well.

J. Danson Smith

John 10:2-4 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Evening Song - Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus

Isaiah 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. 

Hebrews 12:2 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. 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Creatures Great and Small - Moths with Zinnias

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their little wings.

- Cecil Frances Alexander

Photos taken near Kingston, Tennessee, USA.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

FREE Printable Poem Graphic - God's Will Be Done - Annie Johnson Flint

Another free vintage graphic I've remade, this one with a poem by Annie Johnson Flint. Click Here to download a larger version. The download button is on the upper left, fifth from the top. Please save it to your computer for you own personal use.

Where I got the original graphic: The Graphics Fairy.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Evening Song - Heaven Came Down

John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 

Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Creatures Great and Small - Hummingbird Moth

Psalm 104:24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. 

These photos were taken in Tennessee when we lived there. This is a hummingbird moth and the flower is butterfly bush.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Refreshing Cucumber Salad

My mom made this salad often during the summer months when the garden produced a lot of fresh vegetables. It is a light, cold, and refreshing salad for summer. These will keep for a good while in the fridge, gradually becoming more pickles than salad. I am guessing that good probiotics will develop, especially if you use raw apple cider vinegar. You may reduce the water to taste.

Cucumber Salad

2 Cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 small onion, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
2 Tbs. sugar

Mix all and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Serve cold.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Thoughts from the Past – A Bold Foe

Photo from my grandpa's collection, I assume taken in a zoo.

Jan. 3, 2006 [edited 2020]

A Bold Foe

Over the weekend we had a guest - a fellow believer from California. Last night we showed him one of our lion documentaries (The Lions of Etosha, filmed by Des and Jen Bartlett). In discussing the hunting habits of lions they showed two different sequences in which the lions, in the process of their hunt, did not even bother to hide themselves. They boldly approached the prey in plain sight. Half of the strategy was to panic the prey by their very presence. The prey knew they were being hunted and could see all or at least part of the lions. The fear factor in this panicked the prey into going exactly where the lions wanted them to go so that they could catch one to devour.

I was again reminded that this is one of the tactics of our adversary the devil who is also described as a devouring lion. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Sometimes the devil, or his minions, will actually hunt for the saints, as it were, in our plain sight. There is no hiding of the fact that they are there to devour. The idea is much as the lion's - they desire to panic us into bolting directly into their trap.

It is amazingly easy to be panicked by this tactic, but the Lord has not left us helpless. He has told us what to do. The passage continues, Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 1 Peter 5:9 Steadfast resistance in the faith is the key. Unlike the helpless prey of the real lions, if we in faith steadfastly resist being panicked we can overcome the devil and his servants.

We read in Proverbs 28:1, ...the righteous are bold as a lion. We are righteous through Jesus Christ, Who is the lion of the tribe of Juda (Rev. 5:5). Another section of the video showed a confrontation between two male "stray lions" (lions not belonging to a pride), and the two big males of the pride. At first, the lone lion from the pride ran from the intruders, but when his friend - his brother - came to support him he turned around and confronted the intruders.

There is strength in the support of our fellow saints, but ultimately our support is Christ, the lion of Juda Himself. With Him no spiritual predator can overcome us. Our confidence and faith must be in Him, not ourselves. We must resist the urge to panic when the roaring devil shows himself.

Ephesians 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.


First published here in July 2011.
This post was written for my old blog in 2006. The guest we had that January is now my husband. :-)

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Evening Song - For All My Sin

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 

Isaiah 53:5 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. 

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