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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Thoughts About Church Meetings and Behavior In the Midst of the Present Distress

This is a difficult time to write or post thoughts for me. This year has already been one of loss and sadness for me and my family, especially as my mother went Home to Heaven on March 5th. I don't feel like I have a lot in me at present to deal with this corona virus situation, and I especially am not interested in getting into debates with people who don't agree with our perspective. I don't have energy nor desire to engage in that way at all. I don't even have the energy emotionally at this point to engage much with those who do agree. :-)

Having said all that, I did write something to post today, but I didn't finish it and was wondering what I should put up. Some things came to my attention today.

I thought I'd start here:

There has been some chatter in various quarters about how the government has no right to close down churches for this present epidemic. Some people have tried to pose this as if it were persecution or a conspiracy to bring in martial law. Some have suggested that not meeting in the manner which we have come to accept as "normal" - in a church building on Sunday morning, evening, and Wednesday night - falls under the category of "forsaking the assembling of yourselves together." This is taken from Hebrews 10:24-25:  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 

First of all, this is not persecution. The bars/pubs, night clubs, fairs, amusement parks, sporting events, schools, restaurants, and so forth have all been closed too in most places that have closures. Churches have not been singled out. We are still permitted to preach the gospel and edify the saints through alternate mediums, whether online, in small groups or in a more socially distanced manner (drive-in churches, etc.)

Secondly, the verse in Hebrews is not talking about meeting in a church building specifically, nor is it talking about moving meetings or canceling meetings temporarily for a period of time. My understanding of "forsaking" is that it means to quit or abandon, to leave entirely, to depart from (Source). This is not what the compliant churches are doing. They are moving the meetings or services online, to small groups or to an open air environment (in some places). They are not "quitting on God," to use a cliche. They are not walking away from the gathering of believers for edification and instruction and saying they aren't coming back, or making continuous life choices that show that they have no desire to be with the saints. Suggesting such is neither kind nor charitable.

To perhaps clarify some points, here is a video that is helpful in explaining what is going on in the USA with this situation. It is not a "new thing," although it is strange to us. One clarification: When he says at the end of WW2 he meant WW1. He made that correction in the comments if you look at the video over at YouTube.

I do not know this pastor or much about him or his ministry, but what he says addresses some important points very well.

It's especially important to note the details relating to the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918-1919. I "happened" to watch a couple videos on that last fall/winter, and the numbers from that event were dumbfounding. We don't want to see that happen again in even a smaller proportion to our modern populations. We need to follow the mandates and directives to avoid people contact and going out more than is absolutely necessary. This is for the good of the public health. I am especially concerned for the healthcare providers and hospitals and the effects this could have on those services.

It will have an economic effect on nations, but thousands of deaths are worse than loss of money in the big picture, and that's something we need to consider carefully. Some Christians may have to decide how pro-life they actually are. Is economic security and prosperity more important to you than the lives of people? Don't answer that carelessly. Stop and think! Ask yourself what God's view would be. Does God value people more than money?

1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 


For your edification, to help you think about how we should live in this time as far as our interactions with believers and our actions, speech, and attitudes, here is a thought provoking message from scripture from our pastor. There has been too much high feeling and careless talk on social media between people who should be showing each other the love of Christ. We don't need to be experts or authorities. We don't even need to be "right." But, we do need to be honorable and Christ-like in how we behave ourselves, all of the time but, especially now.

1 Peter 3:8-11 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 

And, of course, it wouldn't seem quite right to make a post like this and not include an appropriate poem. :-) So:


I know not, but God knows;
Oh, blessed rest from fear!
All my unfolding days
To Him are plain and clear.

Each anxious, puzzled "Why?"
From doubt or dread that grows,
Finds answer in this thought;
I know not, but He knows.

I cannot, but God can;
Oh, balm for all my care!
The burden that I drop
His hand will lift and bear,

Though eagle pinions tire --
I walk where once I ran --
This is my strength, to know
I cannot, but God can.

I see not, but God sees;
Oh, all-sufficient light!
My dark and hidden way
To Him is always bright.

My strained and peering eyes
May close in restful ease,
And I in peace may sleep;
I see not, but He sees.

by Annie Johnson Flint

Psalm 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.   (Whether that safety is on this earth, or in heaven.)

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Evening Song - Near to the Heart of God

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. 

James 4:8-10 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. 

John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 

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Friday, March 27, 2020

FREE Scripture Coloring Pages to Print

Here are several coloring pages that I have published here on the blog. I thought someone might find them useful during this time when so many are stuck at home for various reasons. Follow the links to find the links to uncolored copies that you may download for free.

Please keep in mind that ink jet printer ink may not be compatible with alcohol based markers, so you should test them before using them on your printed pages to see if they dissolve the black ink or not. If they do, this could damage your pens. Water based pens and colored pencils should be fine.

Free Coloring Page - Stained Glass "Window"

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Just for Fun - You Might Be A Missionaries' Kid If...

My mother and her brothers. Tanzania, 1957.

Finding a beak in your chicken soup doesn't shock you.

You have to fight panic when people drive on the right hand side of the road.

You like Marmite, and you're not British by birth.

You've been lost in a large, foreign airport and knew what to do.

You can actually pronounce Welsh town names.

You know that skirts and robes are not exclusively women's clothes in other parts of the world.

Continue Reading.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

"Fear Not" and Comfort Verses and A Poem

Please take the time to go read the verses of
comfort and "fear not" at The Home Maker's Corner.

"Fear Not" and Comfort Verses

The Hiding Place

Have you ever wished, deep down inside
That you could find a place to hide?
To hide from folks who come your way
With endless problems day by day?
To hide from all that lies ahead,
The unseen foes and griefs you dread?
To flee decisions you must make,
Avoid the path that you must take?
To run away and find a spot
Where even self can be forgot?

Earth has no place as such you seek --
No place of refuge for the weak;
For ev'ry shelter here on earth
Soon proves to be of little worth
And we are left alone to face
The woes that plague the human race.

BUT WAIT!! The Rock of Ages -- He still stands,
A refuge from all life's demands;
A place to hide -- to weep -- to rest;
A place to hover and be blest.

For Jesus is that Rock Who stands
Holding forth His nail pierced hands --
A covert from the storm is He,
Saying, "Come, and hide in Me."

-- Author unknown

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Evening Song - What A Friend We Have in Jesus

John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Free Coloring Page - Bible Verse - 1 John 4:10-11

I was looking at adult coloring books on Amazon awhile back and I noticed how hard it was to find any that had King James Version verses on them. I enjoy various types of graphic designing, so I decided to see what I could come up with myself. (I have published one or two already.) It has been very enjoyable, if a little time consuming in some instances. :-)

This is one of my simpler efforts for you to enjoy. Please click HERE to get to the page where you can download the graphic to your computer. You will then be able to print it as you would other .jpg files. You should also be able to open it in a graphics program and color it in that, if you prefer. The original file as it should download from my Smug Mug account, is an 8x10 graphic and fits on regular printer paper. If you reduce the size it will probably lose part of the border and it will be harder to color as the spaces will be very small.

This one is more of a modern style of graphic. Some may not appreciate it as well, but it was easy to design, and I had a lot of fun as a kid coloring similar designs and young people may enjoy this one as well. Also, don't let the style hinder you. You can add flowers and textures to the spaces and make it your own.  See samples below. :-)

It's important to test your pens on the print before you color it with alcohol based pens. Some inks can be dissolved by the alcohol and may stain/damage your pens. Water based markers should be OK.

This one was done by me with water based markers.

This bottom one was colored by my sister-in-law using colored pencils.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Wait, and Murmur Not

O weary heart, there is a Home,
Beyond the reach of toil and care;
A Home where changes never come:
Who would not fain be resting there?

Yet when bowed down beneath the load,
By God allowed, thine earthly lot:
Look up! thou'lt reach that blest abode:
Wait, meekly wait, and murmur not!

If in thy path some thorns are found,
Oh, think Who bore them on His brow;
If grief thy sorrowing heart has found,
It has reached a holier than thou.

Toil on! nor deem, though sore it be,
One sigh unheard, one prayer forgot;
The day of rest will dawn for thee:
Wait, meekly wait, and murmur not!

W. H. Bellamy
No. 710 in Sacred Songs and Solos

Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.  

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Evening Song - Psalm 19 - The Law of the Lord

Psalm 19:7-11 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.  

This is one of my favorite Psalms put to music of this type.


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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Happy Floral Watercolor Greeting Cards Tutorial

Here is a tutorial for some bright cheerful floral cards from Sandy Allnock. You do not have to use the same greeting stamps that she did. You could use whatever you already have, or you could hand letter them with black pen or ink after you paint them. By the way, the flowers she calls snapdragons look more like celosia (cock's comb) or astilbe to me.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Not Growing Old - A Poem

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.

Psalm 71:8-9 Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day. Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. 

 Not Growing Old

They say that I am growing old.
I've heard them tell it times untold,
In language plain and bold -
But I am not growing old.

This frail old shell in which I dwell
Is growing old, I know full well -
But I am not the shell.

Continue Reading.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Evening Song - Getting Ready To Leave This World

John 14:2-3  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.

1 Peter 1:3-5  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,  Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Making A Man

Hurry the baby as fast as you can,
Hurry him, worry him, make him a man.
Off with his baby clothes, get him in pants,
Feed him on brain foods and make him advance.
Hustle him, soon as he's able to walk,
Into a grammar school; cram him with talk.
Fill his poor head full of figures and facts,
Keep on a-jamming them in till it cracks.
Once boys grew up at a rational rate,
Now we develop a man while you wait,
Rush him through college, compel him to grab
Of every known subject a dip or a dab.
Get him in business and after the cash,
All by the time he can grow a mustache.
Let him forget he was ever a boy,
Make gold his god and its jingle his joy.
Keep him a-hustling and clear out of breath,
Until he wins - nervous prostration and death.

Nixon Waterman

Maybe this is how we got to the point where boys grow up much too fast - or refuse to grow up at all.

Painting by Mary Casset

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Worth Repeating - Words of Courage and Confidence from the Mighty King

Psalms 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Joshua 1:9  Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Psalms 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

Proverbs 3:25-26  Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.

1 John 4:18  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

2 Timothy 1:7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Hebrews 13:5-6  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Psalms 27:1 and 3 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? …Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

Psalms 56:3-4 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

Originally published here in 2013.