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Monday, December 31, 2018

Hard Questions – Have You Done What You Could?

This was first posted here six years ago. As I was thinking about what to post for the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 I wondered about something new or reposting something from the past. Among the old posts that I considered for revisiting, this one eventually stood out as a good one for the turning of the year. I needed the reminder as much as anyone!


Dec. 8, 2012

I was going through some of my photos when I came across  a couple pictures that made me think – again.

My husband and I were walking on a riverside walkway in North Carolina with some of his family the day we found these notes. I was touched and blessed to see that some child with a zeal for lost souls had put these notes (at least one had a tract with it also) on benches along the walk. The printing was not perfect, the syntax was not perfect, but the spirit of the thing – how precious it must be in God’s sight! Whoever this young boy or girl was, they were using what skill they had to do what they could for the Lord Jesus.

Do you remember this story from the Bible? Mark 14:3-9  And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.  And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

I sometimes get frustrated about the energy and concern that I see Christians put into things like rescuing dogs and cats, fighting genetically modified foods, “saving” America, supporting “our” troops, and righting numerous great wrongs in the world. It isn’t because there isn’t a point to some of these needs, because there is. For example, we are reminded to “remember the poor” in Galatians 2:10.  And, “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast…,” Proverbs 12:10. But, sometimes all these earthly good deeds are pursued at the expense of the heavenly good deeds – glorifying the Lord Jesus and rescuing precious souls from eternal damnation.

What good does it do to rescue a child from abortion or a girl from a slave brothel and then not give them the Gospel of Jesus Christ? (That one qualifies as a hard question!) What good is it if we give to the poor and take care of hurt animals but don’t spend time worshiping the Lord Jesus Himself? (And, I don’t mean just “going to church.” Too many people think that warming a pew for a couple hours a week qualifies as doing what they “should” for God.)

1 Corinthians 13:3 says,  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. This is another consideration. Charity is an ability all believers can and should cultivate.

I know some of us sometimes we feel like we don’t have a lot to work with. Maybe you are “stuck” at home for days on end. Maybe you struggle with some physical or emotional disability that makes it hard for you to do what others do. Maybe you feel like your skills are small. Maybe you are financially limited for one reason or another. But, what are you doing with what you have that you can use?

Look at this video of these people who live on a landfill - a garbage dump. [I have no control over advertisements or recommended videos shown.]

Most of us are not in this position I’d dare say! Yet, see what amazing musical instruments these people have created from other people’s garbage! Think about how they are turning the off cast rubbish of others into beautiful music which is in itself a form of giving back.

Do you really and truly have nothing to work with for the Lord? I don’t think any of us could honestly say that. I know I fail often to use the tools that I could as efficiently as I could or as wisely as I could. I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

Martha Snell Nickolson who was bed ridden and wracked with pain for years wrote this:

How handicapped, how bound are we
When Christ was bound on Calvary?
He could not move a hand nor foot,
And He was wracked with anguish, but
He gave Himself to earnest prayer
For those whose weight of sins He bare.
"Father, forgive, they know not what they do."
O child of God, say not,
"I am too handicapped, too bound,
Too busy, and I have not found
A service I can do for Him."
O Shame! Let us, with eyes grown dim,
Look back to Calvary.
Bound helpless there,
The suffering Saviour gave himself to prayer!
At the very least, we can pray. Or is that “the least”? James 5:16  …The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

It is easy to imagine that our small contribution in the work of the Lord is not much and not worth a lot in the big picture. But, one of the great things about our God is that nothing is too small with Him. Consider the attention He gave to the construction of snowflakes, of DNA, of atoms, and more. We should not think that what we have to offer in His service is too small or useless. He has a purpose and use for every life that He sustains!

When the Lord appeared unto Moses in the burning bush to call Moses to go to the Hebrew people, Moses did not believe that the people would listen to him. 

Exodus 4:1-4  And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:

Moses’ rod was the tool of his occupation as a shepherd. It was not some special thing nor talent, it was a common everyday thing that he used to work. Yet, under the miraculous touch of the Lord God Almighty, it became something by which he could prove that the Lord had appeared unto him.

Now, I’m not anticipating having any of our common tools turn into snakes. :-) It’s the Jews that require a sign anyway, 1 Cor. 1:22.  But, what are the tools that we have – the common, everyday things that we use in our daily work – that could be used to the glory of God? With His enabling power not just the common things, but even the things humanly considered to be “trash” can be transformed into something for His glory.

One young lady I had the privilege to meet had almost nothing to use but her stunning smile, and yet she used that for the glory of God. (See Violet’s Story.)

Think of that child who used his/her “poor” writing skills, some paper, a pencil, a stick, and a rock for Jesus. Think of those folks who literally used the garbage and cast-off junk of others to make beautiful music. Perhaps it is a bed of anguish as with Martha Nicholson. Perhaps it is “just” a smile as with “Violet”. What are you using for the Lord? What are you overlooking as “too insignificant” to be any good? This is something that we all need to consider. One of the greatest things that ever could be said of us is that we did what we could!

1 Peter 4:10-11  As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Evening Song - It Will be Worth it All

2 Peter 3:11-14 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 

Please know that I apparently no longer have control over the other videos advertised by YouTube. I formerly could shut that off, but apparently they have changed their policy and features.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Be Not Anxious - A Poem by Annie Johnson Flint

Be Not Anxious

I cannot change the yesterday when I distrusted Thee,
Though all my fears unfounded proved, and shame me now as then;
I cannot promise that my faith will last throughout the night,
Or that, when Thy tomorrow comes, I will not doubt again.

But grant, O faithful Lord and true, that I may trust Thee now,
Just now, each moment of each hour of this Thy present day;
That, looking backward, I may read the record of the past,
And, forward, see Thy steadfast word light all the future way.

With Memory to guard the rear and Faith to lead the van,
And all Thy tested promises like beacon lights to shine,
How can I dread that demon shape of anxious, faithless fear?
For he shall lose his power when I fully trust in Thine.

Annie Johnson Flint

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 

First published here 1/2012.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Evening Song - Day by Day

2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Sew Happy Friday - Scrappy Jelly Roll String Quilt Tutorial

This quilt is a version of the jelly roll race quilt. It's a great way to use up scraps. If you enjoy making this type of quilt but don't like cutting all the 2" strips at one time, you can cut the strips ahead of time by cutting up your scraps from other projects as you do them. You might store the strips in containers by color. This way you can later select a pleasing mix of colors, or if you have many from on color group you can make a quilt from one color as this lady does in her demonstration.

If you don't want to do all the trimming of angles, you can make this quilt by just sewing the strips end to end. However, if you do that be sure to trim away any selvage edges first. Also, the angle cuts are what give the interesting points in this.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Sexual Abuse in the Church - Warn, Report, Resist

Luke 22:25-26 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

On Sunday, Dec. 9 (2018) the Star-Telegram of Ft. Worth, Texas published a long overdue article on the cover-up of sexual abuse in Independent Fundamental Baptist churches. 

I say overdue because I've heard rumors and undocumented reports of such goings on for years, and things have repeatedly been swept under the rug, ignored, or denied. A few notable cases have been dragged out to the light of day and been prosecuted, such as Bob Gray (of Jacksonville, Florida) and Jack Schaap (son-in-law of Jack Hyles) There have been others as well.

In July this year, Pastor Stacey Shiflett of Calvary Baptist Church in Dundalk, Maryland called out a former pastor of that church after reportedly doing a considerable amount of research and investigation with the leaders of his church into an allegation of sexual abuse against the said former pastor. This former pastor happened to be Cameron Giovanneli who was then president of Golden State Baptist College in Santa Clara, California, a Bible college noted among IFB churches. The college is part of the campus and ministry of one of the few well known IFB mega churches, North Valley Baptist Church which is the kingdom of Pastor Jack Trieber (that wasn't a mistake, it is his kingdom, not Christ's). Sadly, although Giovanneli resigned from his position at Golden State, he was warmly received in a church in Florida and is now working with youth again. The monstrosity of this defies all sound reasoning - Christian or secular. [Also see Brother Shiflett's update statement here.]

The reporters at the Star-Telegram did an extensive research and exposed the massive cover-up and how it is accomplished within various IFB churches. The threats, the shuffling of men from one church to another, the vile abusers' ability to continue on in ministries simply because they belong to "the club," the pastors' fear of having their reputation "ruined" by exposing the guilty to their just punishment - it is all very enlightening, but sadly not surprising.

Continue Reading Here.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Evening Song - God Will Take Care of You

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

FREE Scripture Graphic - ...wash me and I shall be whiter than snow

Here is a vintage graphic that I edited. I got the original graphic from The Graphics Fairy. This one is as it was originally but I went over it carefully and cleaned it up. You can save the image from here, but it will not be very high quality. You can get it in higher quality if you go and download it here. (Use the download button in the lower right corner.)

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 9, 2018

Not All the Blood

Not All the Blood

Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain,
Could give the guilty conscience peace,
Or wash away the stain.

But Christ, the heavenly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away:
A sacrifice of nobler name,
And richer blood than they.

My faith would lay its hand
On that dear head of Thine,
While like a penitent I stand,
And there confess my sin.

My soul looks back to see
The burden Thou didst bear,
When hanging on the accursed tree,
And knows its guilt was there.

Isaac Watts

Leviticus 4:33 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering.

Revelation 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Evening Song - Are You Washed In the Blood?

1 John 1:7-9 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. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

As far as I can tell, I no longer have control over the "suggested videos" being added at the end to try to get you to watch more things on YouTube. I used to be able to turn them off, but apparently this has been discontinued.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Illustrated Poem - Winter Morning by Ogden Nash

Winter Morning

Winter is the king of showmen,
Turning tree stumps into snow men,
And houses into birthday cakes,
And spreading sugar over lakes.

Smooth and clean and frosty white,
The world looks good enough to bite.
That's the season to be young
Catching snowflakes on your tongue.

Snow is snowy when it's snowing

I'm sorry it's slushy when it's going.

by Ogden Nash

Top two photos: Michigan in the 1960s. Taken by one of my grandparents.
Bottom two photos: Tennessee in the first ten years of 2000. Taken by me.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Four Things List - About Me

Here I am writing on my iPad in our living room. My husband bought it and a keyboard for me to help
make writing more comfortable. It has been a very useful tool in several ways.

Four names people call me other than my real name.

May-may - A nickname given to me by my brother who is 3 years younger than I am and couldn't say my name properly at first. He still sometimes calls me that affectionately.

Mary Ellen - My brother sometimes calls, "Good night, Mary Ellen," when we are parting at night - in reference to the Walton T.V. show which we watched sometimes as children. I usually answer, "Good night, John-boy." :-)

My husband has a nickname for me, but he seemed like he would prefer to keep it our own private treasure, so I've decided not to share it here. :-)

Occasionally someone will call me Elizabeth, which is my middle name but, since it is my mother's first name, I don't think of it in relation to myself and it feels odd. :-)

Four jobs I've had.

Of course, the earliest paying job I had was baby sitting, as was the case for many girls in my generation.

I taught piano lessons to a hand full of students when my family lived in Arizona. I also was a church pianist for quite a few years, although that was strictly volunteer.

I helped my parents with their online business off and on for a number of years.

Being a home maker has always been the main one ever since I was in my teens and started really helping my mom.

Four movies I've watched more than once.

Well, there are a number I can pick from, but here are four:
Dr. Jack (Harold Lloyd and Mildred Davis)
The Wrong Trousers (Wallace and Gromit)
Lions of Etosha (actually a documentary)
Captive Faith (based on Georgi Vins' real life experiences while in prison for his faith under the USSR)

Four books I recommend.

In the Arena by Isobel Kuhn
The Jungle Doctor books by Paul White
Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick
Strawberry Acres by Grace S. Richmond

Four places I have lived.

The Mojave Desert in southern California
Western Michigan

Four places I have visited.

Niagra Falls, Canada.
Amboseli National Park, Kenya.
Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The Glasshouse Mts. in Queensland, Australia.

Four places I would rather be right now.

I'm a home body for the most part. The only other place I'd like to be right now is heaven, but I believe my family and friends would like to keep me around awhile longer! :-)
I would like to be taking a nice hot bath at the time I'm writing this. However, the accommodations of our house in that regard aren't too great. Ho hum.

Four odd things that have happened to me.

I lost my purse in Volendam, Netherlands when I was six years old.
When I was in my later twenties a reader from Canada sent email through The Home Maker's Corner and commended me for being a "wise aged woman." (I never answered it as far as I recall. I didn't know what to say. LOL)
I was with my grandparents at Disneyland when my grandma accidentally threw the ice from her pineapple drink in the ticket receptacle instead of the trash can. (Complicated story. LOL) My grandpa rushed us away before anyone noticed.
I was with my parents when they had to evacuate from Ethiopia because of the Communist coup. I don't actually remember this, but it was a pivotal point in our lives.

Four things I don't eat.

Only four? Most of my food issues are with intolerances and allergies.
Raw carrots
Sweet Peppers
MSG (monosodium glutemate) (Do you know how much food has MSG and closely related ingredients?!)
Corn in any form. (Do you realize how much food has corn in it?!)

Four of my favorite foods.

Ethiopian food (I'll throw that in free of charge.) ;-)

Four of my favorite flowers.


Four of my favorite colors.


Four things I'm always saying.

Good grief.
For crying out loud!
Thank you.
I love you.
(My husband would probably add - "What did you say?" He's a very patient man being married to a writer! LOL)

Four of my favorite things to watch.

Our cats.
People I love having a good time visiting together.
Tree leaves blowing in a gentle wind.

Four animal or bug experiences I have had.

I was with my family in a guest hut at Amboseli National Park when the elephants came to raid the trash cans (or try to) and also when the zebras came to graze in the yard.
In Ethiopia I was in an out house with my mom one night when a leopard coughed outside. (My mom decided we would use a can in the house at night until Daddy came home!)
I remember my parents using a coffee can to trap a spider - not the biggest size can, but still a spider of impressive proportions.
My brother and I owned pet ground squirrels for awhile when our family lived in the Mojave Desert of California.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Evening Song - I Love to Tell the Story

Colossians 4:3-4 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.