A Girl, a Baby and a Hopeless Situation


Thirty three years ago, President Ronald Reagan designated January 22, 1984 as National Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.

Forty one years ago I was in bed, by doctors’ orders waiting for the birth of my child.    Alone, scared, in poverty.   Abortion had just become legal.  Why in the world would I not go ahead and abort?   I had just recently become a Christian and most certainly it would have been easier in that respect, right?  I would not have to try to explain how I’m now a Christian, but also now pregnant and unmarried….to a small Missouri town.

I was entering my senior year of high school….the complications of a child would definitely affect that as well.   And an abortion could have secretly taken me out of the horrific shame I was about to endure.   Or so I thought.

As a new Christian, my faith was fragile.  However, I knew I could not take the life of my child.   I began praying that God would give me a father for my child.  I told God I didn’t care if he loved me or not, as long as he loved my child and would help me raise him in Christ.   I imagine God was smiling, thinking, “I think I can one up you on that.”

As the months went by, I got larger and larger, and the shame grew with my body.   I wanted to finish high school, but every day I walked in the school, I fought back the tears because I knew I would endure the stares and the whispers.

My parents had recently divorced, my dad had disowned me over the situation,  and my mother was trying to eek out a living for us as a retail clerk.   But I continued to pray.

January came and I began bleeding so the doctor ordered me to bed. On a cold morning in February the pains began and Dustin was born shortly before noon.  He was perfect, all 9 pounds and 3 ounces. Now I was even more scared.  I actually had a child I could see, for whom I was responsible!

Somehow, only by God’s power, I finished high school.  That was such a miracle, as 2 months after Dustin was born, he was hospitalized for a week and nearly died.   And again at 6 months!

I continued to pray for a daddy for him, but I was in a small town, with a bad reputation.  I knew I had to move.  I also knew I would probably never be in ministry, which was my original dream when I became a Christian.

Through God’s provision I got a job in Joplin, Missouri with a Christian street counseling ministry called His Place.  I was a secretary to the director.  But honestly, I think it was more of a charity case situation that he put me on payroll.

There was a His Place counseling center in Joplin on Main Street.   Once in a while, in the evening, I would go down there and I met some wonderful Christian people who worked there.

I met Tom, and it was love at first sight….between him and Dustin, who was now one year old.   Tom was  a student at Ozark Bible College (now Ozark Christian College), and he was just as poor as I was.   But eventually, we became an item and somehow knew God would take care of us.   I was living in a tiny little house on Jackson street in Joplin, making $65 a week and paying that much in rent.  Those were the days!
2116 jackson, joplin

I soon knew that God had brought us together and Tom loved, protected, played with and disciplined Dustin in every way.  He would bring over sack lunches from the college on weekends, so we didn’t have to buy food, as there was very little money.   He sold pop bottles to buy milk for Dustin.  He taught Dustin about God.   But he also seemed to love me.  This was confusing to me.   My dad had disowned me, guys had used me, but this man…he loved me.  He loved both of us.

Tom, me, Dustin age 2

So, we got married.  It just seemed natural to make ourselves a family.  We knew we wanted to have another baby soon, so there wouldn’t be a huge age difference, so 3 months later we announced another child on the way.  Jed was born in Hawaii a week before our first anniversary.  Tom had wanted to go into the ministry and we had moved there soon after we were married.  He served a church on the North Shore.  He lovingly adopted Dustin there also.

Tom, Dustin, Jed newborn

I would be lying if I said that this has all been easy.  There have been many tough times.   There have been seasons of desperation and doubt.   Life was rough in those first few years especially, but God fulfilled my hopes and dreams of a father, husband and even now…nine grandchildren.  Oh yes, I always have to add….we simply don’t get to see them enough and that is another rough season.

But we have always trusted God and He has always cared for us.   There are days we lean in hard on Him.  We know our Savior, Jesus, has taken it all for us.   And we will continue to trust.

Only God could receive the glory for taking  a little girl, a baby and a hopeless situation and infusing hope, redeeming it.  His hope, His future, His plans. Funny, there are days my faith is still fragile, and especially during those times, I go to Him.  God, the Creator of life, Who gives life, still loves me and continues to work in my life.  He takes hopeless situations and gives them hope.


Reasons Why I Still Believe People are Staying in Church


Every week, it seems, I plod through another article of why everyone is leaving the church.   I’m weary of it.  Can we please talk about why people just might be staying in church, or even searching?   Can we at least take a moment to see the good in some of our churches?

Can we also take into consideration the areas of the world where the church is flourishing?   Maybe not in the mega-arena forums to which we’ve become accustomed, but the church of Jesus Christ IS growing.

Church building the man built himself

Here are just a few reasons I believe in the church of Jesus Christ, and trust that people are still going and have not deserted the bride of Christ.

  1.  People are still drawn to the cross of Jesus Christ.  Daddy and 1st Christian CrossJesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”  Most churches still speak of the death, burial and thankfully – resurrection of our Lord and Savior.   He is still being lifted up, and people are still drawn to Him.  Let’s not minimize the power of this fact.
  2.  People are hurting and broken, and many still know that the  church offers hope.  Sure, we’re all broken, but many of us have  come to know the healing power of Christ, and we care about  those who haven’t.
  3.  We may be losing some teens, and that is tragic (it’s tragic when we lose anyone), but there are  plenty of great parents who are determined to raise their  children in Jesus.    Also, there are still some great Youth Ministers.   Granted, there are some who are still “entertainment minded,” but I know of many who genuinely love the kids they teach each week, and are extremely conscientious about how and what they teach.  Many children are being blessed and for a lot of those kids, it’s the one safe place   they have to learn about God.
  4. Worship leaders (please – let’s not argue over terminology right now) may sing some new songs, and may wear skinny jeans, however – many of the hearts of those I know are focused on Jesus.   Music focused on Jesus, whether hymns or contemporary, is still speaking to hearts and touching those who love our Lord.
  5.  Finally, I believe people are staying in church because they know we have a Savior Who shed His precious blood for her.   And nothing, not a country going under, not persecution, not apathy, NOTHING can stop the church of Jesus Christ, because she is powered by the Holy Spirit Who is with us, and Who speaks to our hearts, guides parents, speaks, teaches  and loves through preachers and youth ministers, and sings through song leaders.



The division of Christians with the dilemma of refugees

I have considered, at length, the dilemma facing Christians with whether or not to receive refugees in our country.  I have nothing new to add to all the posts, blogs and articles that have been eloquently written, for both “sides.”

I have my own opinions but I will not use this forum to debate them. Instead, I want to use this space to cover another concern…one that I think is more serious and pressing.

That issue is how Christians are treating one another in all these writings and different venues.

I have seen words of vehemence, accusations and condescension, as well as calling other’s Christianity into question, way too many times.

As I was reading in Ephesians today, I was further burdened as I read the words Paul wrote in chapter 4, verses 1-3.  “Therefore, I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.  Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” 

Some of the words I have read have been anything but humble and gentle, as accusations and opinions have flown.

Attacks have been made against Christians instead of perpetrators who have created this crisis of refugees.   Neither have other religions or countries been confronted.

Instead, Christian against Christian, in anger and pride (in my opinion).

Scripture has been used to create an atmosphere of guilt.  Honestly, I can find Scripture to use for both sides of the argument.

I am so disheartened by all of this.  Satan must laugh as he’s using another event to turn us against one another.  As he’s mocking one of the greatest commandments, and also the chance, once again, to prove to the world that we love one another.

There are other concerns I have about all this, and a little off subject. But one is the fact that there are plenty of opportunities that we pass up every day to help those we do know.  Needs of which we are certainly aware, whether emotional, financial or spiritual.  For Christians AND non-Christians.  Yet, countless people are able to argue a dilemma that is greatly charged with controversy.

Please, can we step back a moment and give God a chance to work in this?   Do we really have any choice in the outcome, at the end of the day?  And can we please love one another as Christians, and reach out to needs that are at our fingertips?



5 Ways to Use THE Red Cup for God’s Glory

Red starbucks cup

You would have had to be visiting Santa at the North Pole to not have heard about all the Starbucks fun with “the” cup,  this past week.

I like Starbucks…we buy whole beans, grind it and take our own everywhere we go.  Never buy the bitter stuff in the cup, or the foo-foo stuff that would add about 10 pounds in one sitting.

Having come out on that (that we don’t – gasp – boycott them), if you can stand another post on this….here are some suggestions for using all this for God’s glory.  Yes, even Starbucks.

  1.  Go hang out at a Starbucks to get to know people.  You will certainly find interesting individuals who may be hanging out there as well, because they’re lonely, searching for meaning, trying to appear cool, or whatever.   As a Christian, we claim to have what the world needs…let’s take it to them.
  2. Use the cup as a bridge to talk to people about Jesus.  Red.  I mean – this is a perfect tee-up.  “Have you heard about the hoopla that Starbucks created with this cup?”  “What do you think?”  “Do you know what red means to me?  It means the precious blood of Jesus Christ.  He sacrified it for you and for me…have you ever thought about that?”
  3. Leave a great tip for the servers in the Name of Jesus.  Not a tract, not change from your purchase, but a deliberate good tip…and tell them why.  That God wants them to be blessed.   No strings attached…just love them in this way, in Jesus’ Name.
  4. Take a fellow Christian out for coffee and have true fellowship…at a Starbucks.  Pray together, laugh together, study the Bible, love them in the Name of Jesus, in front of everyone there.  Maybe, just maybe, someone will see you and wonder…what is it about you that is different?
  5. Don’t shame or ridicule, but get into decent conversations with others as to why or why not they patronize or don’t.  I have seen a lot of attacks on Christians who have chosen one or the other.  Get to know people…don’t belittle other Christians for their choices, but find out why.  Intelligent discussion can be much more persuasive than sarcasm or shame.   And that is what we should want for one another in the family of God.  Perhaps the Starbucks cup will help us grow together as brothers and sister in Christ.  🙂

And, Merry Christmas to you all!  May it be filled with the true joy of knowing Jesus Christ, our Lord…Who came as a baby – to die as the Perfect Son of God…for you.

Persecution of the Soul

sad woman to use

We have been protected in our country from the touch of persecution for decades.   At least the outward touch.  But I am coming to learn that there are different forms of persecution.  We have a dear brother and sister who are living the torments of a persecution that can be seen.  Saeed Abedini is imprisoned in one of the most notorious prison camps of the world, in Iran.  He is there for his faith….nothing else.   His wife has beautifully and painfully written of her/their journey over the last three plus years.  That is one example of fierce outward persecution.

We are seeing people lose their jobs for taking a stand for their faith, here in America.  Something, 30 or 40 years ago, we wouldn’t have dreamed would happen.

But there is another persecution that I believe is a sinister tool of satan.  I am convinced it haunts and oppresses us, especially Christians.   I call it persecution of the soul.   Some might call it depression.   It is unseen, yet can be deadly.  Completely misunderstood in our Christian circles, it holds a stigma for those of us who struggle with it; one we often carry for life.

Because of that stigma, we try to hide it….another tool of satan.  He does his best work in the dark, hidden corners of life.  But we are afraid to bring it out, because of the vilification of our faith by others.

Christians applaud and readily pray for those who take a stand and lose a job, but many times criticize and demonize individuals who fight battles in the depths of their inner beings, and are still able to stand,  because of Jesus.

I love what a brother, who struggles with depression and anxiety, recently wrote in his blog, “Read the Bible. It’s full of crazy people like us killing it for God.”   Unfortunately, we want to look at the victories in Scripture and not embrace the  broken people God used to fulfill those victories.

So here are some things we don’t need and others we do.  I believe I can firmly back these up with Scripture, by the way.

What We Don’t Need

We don’t need more faith.  Jesus told us that all we need is the faith of a mustard seed and we could move mountains.  Some days we do just that – just by getting out of bed, and especially by trying to be real, authentic Christians.   We have walked in the deepest of valleys and gone through the darkest of our hearts and minds, and we continue on – not just living, but using what we have learned for others.   Compassion has been honed to a perfection in us.

Because of that compassion I am able to stick with people longer.  I am able to listen and care at a deeper level.  Is it always easy?  No. Do I want to throw platitudes also?  Sometimes, but God quickly reminds me where I’ve been and I realize we are all in this journey together.

I am convinced that God uses people who have been in those valleys to reach and touch others more than He is able to use the pride of those who look down their noses at fragile Christians who struggle with emotional issues.

I put my faith into action, in spite of depression or anxiety, every time I take a breath.   Every time I return good for evil, each moment I go on living.

We don’t need scripture verses thrown at us….we have the ones that pertain to us (and our “disorder”) all memorized.  Ouch….she said she doesn’t want God’s Word!   This is a tactic satan also uses….twisting someones’ words.   Did you hear what I said?  We don’t need them thrown at us.  I am closer to God than I’ve ever been in my life; through prayer, His Word and meditation, and those long, dark nights.  Yet, I am also being more attacked than ever.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Satan knows our weaknesses and vulnerabilities and he will stop at nothing to bring us down!  And the closer we try to draw to God, the more He attacks.

We don’t need to pray more about it.  I have had people ask me if I have prayed about it.   After NOT throwing a bowl (or knife) at them, I calmly try to reassure them….THAT SEEMS TO BE ALL I GET DONE DOING!

We don’t need to be told to care about someone else.  For many of us – that’s all we do….care about others.   We burn ourselves up caring about people because we understand their pain and/or need.   I am constantly trying to look out and away from myself.  It’s such a slap in the face to have someone suggest I reach out to others, when I am continually trying to help, even sometimes while dying inside.  If you know me at all, or care to get to know me….if you look at what I’m doing, you know.  Enough said.  You know.

We don’t need rejection.  First of all…this goes so against the teachings of Jesus Christ, I can’t even fathom rejecting someone.   But also…your rejection can send us further into the depths of despair.  Is that what you want?  Why would you reject me?  I’m your sister in Christ, Who died for me.  You are commanded to love me and accept me, ask Christ loved the church.

What We DO Need

Love, mercy and compassion.  But you say, “I have to keep affirming my love, and I get tired of listening.”  And?  Your point would be? Isn’t that what we’re called to do?   Even the first characteristic which defines love in 1 Corinthians is patience.  I’m not seeing anywhere in Scripture where we’re told to care about someone one time and that should be enough.   I can’t find any place that tells us to judge if someone is deserving of that love.   I don’t see it.   I do see a God of compassion as one of His greatest attributes…and we are to strive to be more like Him!

Reassurance we are loved.  Yes, I believe I just talked about that.  But this is definitely one thing I can’t hear enough of.  I was rejected and abandoned as a child and teenager.  I know of some who are miraculously delivered from such upbringings, and even worse childhoods.  My husband, Tom, gave me the most precious words of comfort on this when he asked,  “Who is stronger…those who are miraculously delivered, or those who have to fight it every…single…day – and keep going….stronger in faith, stronger in Jesus Christ?”

We need looked out for!  Most people see us as strong, because we’re constantly posting Scripture on social media, or offering to pray, or listening, or caring.   But we need care also.  Not lectures, just care…and love.

WE NEED TO BE KNOWN!  Have you even tried to get to know me?  Do you know WHY I struggle with depression?  Do you know how much I pray about it?  Do you know what part of Scripture I’m currently studying?

And more – do you know me or do you care to know me?   What I like, don’t like, what makes me laugh, what makes me sad.  My favorite food, if I like to cook or not.  Do you know anything about my family? Have you listened to me talk for even 5 minutes?  Do you know my favorite vacation spot?  My fears, my victories?  My regrets?  My accomplishments?

So…can we please sit down over a cup of coffee, or tea, with some chocolate….and get to know one another, the way Christ would have us fellowship?   Loving one another, listening, caring, sharing His Word and praying together.

Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be the one God uses to help me face another day.

Let the Church be the Church

It seems like every time I open up facebook or other social media, there is another post or article bashing Christians or the church.   And sadly, these are from Christians.

for blog, inside of church

Let me say that I have been hurt by those in the church many times, but I do not want to get swept up in this thought process.  I just want you to know I am not coming from a “pollyanish” viewpoint.

From these postings, we are shamed that we don’t love the poor enough nor graciously accept sinners.  We don’t give enough and are made to feel like jerks because we go to church in man-made buildings with A/C.

Outside service

Lest I sound like one who “protesteth too much,” please allow me to share some things I see that are good and right in the churches we have attended recently.

First, my husband (Tom) has preached for 39 years in churches in different states.  We’ve seen the good, bad and ugly in many situations.  But we have definitely seen the good.  Tom is doing mission work now but here are some observations I have made.

We have attended a church a few times which gives 50% of their income to missions.  They had an announcement in their bulletin a few weeks ago about a friendship program with international students.   They are reaching out to many.   Many of their men still wear suits and ties and they are a tad bit conservative in their music and worship, but they are reaching the world for Christ.  (I only mention the suits and ties because some people think that type of dress offends others).

A tiny church on the North Shore of Oahu has increased their giving twice to support our ministry more.   Waialua Christian Church is led by Steve Sturm.  Steve and his wife, Blossom, toil tirelessly but most of their “fruit” eventually move, since many of them are military people.  But they love…deeply.

Waialua 6

Two good friends of mine quietly go to jail every Thursday night to minister to the women there.   Their husbands support them, their church prays for them, and they go.  Another friend I have (who is 82 years old) goes every week to a prison to teach, sing and play the piano.

I know of a couple who left their secure ministry at a fairly large church to run a ministry for the disenfranchised of Joplin, Missouri.

I know of Christians, from churches we have served, who have apologized to us and accepted our love, bringing healing to our relationships.

There is a small church in rural Missouri which had 9 baptisms a couple of months ago…and it wasn’t the “pretty people” who were baptized.  Somebody had to love them into that.

There are friends of mine who are growing by leaps and bounds (who attend traditional churches), and those who have incredible ministries to homosexuals, single parents, un-wed mothers, addicts (and the list goes on).

There are those we know who preach the Word of God without fear (including our son) and who love others sincerely at the same time – because how can you preach the Word and not love?

Others go on missions trip, collect items for the poor, serve meals and those who reach out to the homeless.

Still others lose sleep to be with those who are hurting, sick or grieving.

This is not a conclusive list…in fact, it is just the very tip of the iceberg! 

This is all (and more) within our small sphere of friendships or acquaintances.   I cannot believe that we are the only ones who see Christ at work through others.   Are we perfect?  Of course not!  But there are many I know who are trying to draw closer to the Lord and wanting to serve Him with their whole hearts.

God has not called us to deride other Christians, through sarcasm or shame-based criticism, for what they are not doing.  He wants to know what WE are going to do.   And quite honestly, when we judge others like this, are we not doing the same thing for which we are judging them?

When we give up trying to be responsible for others’ actions, or lack of service, or complacency, we will do a lot to move closer to Jesus and allow His Holy Spirit to convict others.

We don’t know what others are doing behind the scenes, nor do we know what is going on in their lives.  Let’s just be the church in our own lives, pray for others, love others and quit bashing that which Christ died for!

I would love to hear how you or those you know are serving others and reaching them for Christ.


I Can’t Walk Straight

Walking straight

“Their tidal-wave faith drowns the sand pebble efforts I make to draw near to God.”

We were blessed to recently hear our son preach at his new church in Iowa. He started a series on the book of Mark in the New Testament, but one thing he told about in this specific message made an impression on me.

It was a story he shared of a neighbor he and Beth had in Massachusetts.  She had walked away from the church and they were talking with her about it.  She gave the reason as, “I can’t walk straight.”  I was struck by the fact that she felt hopeless to “make it” in the Christian world.

It made me think of the many times I have felt like giving up because I feel like I can’t “walk straight.”  I compare my Christian journey to others in the faith who seem to have it all together.  They sail through rough times on the wings of angels, it seems.   They don’t struggle with depression, don’t worry, don’t get angry, don’t….well, you get my drift.

They can quote book, chapter and verse of the Bible…in several translations.   They brag about having no baggage.  Their tidal-wave faith drowns the sand pebble efforts I make to draw near to God.

waves against sand

Guilt and shame wash over me and I ask God why I seem to struggle so much with my faith.  I ask Him A LOT!  I do all the “right” things also.  I spend quality time in prayer and the word of God.  I rebuke satan and quote scripture.  I am constantly trying to find ways I can help others, but still….many times I feel weak.

My husband has been my greatest encouragement in my life.   Yet, he is one whose faith hardly ever wavers.   He’s been through storms that would make Jesus’ disciples quake.   Yet, he has never once, in the 40 years I have known him, thought about walking away from God.

Even with our differences, his patience, love and care for me and my fragilities is breathtaking.   I think there are several reasons for this.

First, he loves me more than anyone on earth – and I know it. (Although I admit, I do wonder about those darn grandkids sometimes).    Secondly, he has walked with me through many valleys and he knows how I struggle.  He also knows me because he has taken time to listen and care, and not judge.  He wants the very best for me, but he also acknowledges the lack of “tools” I was given.

For example, it is very difficult for me to believe that God loves me.  I can give that encouragement to others all day long, and truly believe it for them…..but it’s ever so difficult to accept for myself.   And I’ve heard about every answer for it I know.

Judgement is something we pass onto other Christians in a shameful way.  We may not voice it but we pridefully tell our own selves, “I would never do that.”  “What is wrong with her, why can’t she …. (fill in the blank.)

We condemn others with that judgement without ever taking the time to get to know someone.   That is sad and unfortunate.   It’s when we take time to understand others that we stretch our care of human beings, whom God has created in His own imagine, but whom He also knows  are very fragile.   And even if we don’t necessarily like what others do, we are strongly commanded many times to love them.

I find it interesting (and think it’s no mistake) that the love list in 1 Corinthians begins with, “Love is patient…”  To truly love others, especially some, takes a great deal of patience.   In fact, it takes lots of patience to exhibit love to our spouses and children at times. So, imagine what it will take to love others, especially those we don’t want to love.

But scripture dictates it.  And 1 Corinthians 13 is a great place to start with how we do love.   It’s the greatest “way.”

In fact SO great is its command and way that Paul begins the chapter with his own rightfully shame-based diatribe for those who think they have it all together.

Simply put, it doesn’t matter who we think we are, what we think we’ve accomplished, how together we think we have it….if we aren’t loving, none of that matters.  NONE OF IT!!!!

In a little more modern terms, it doesn’t matter if we are the minister of a huge church with eloquent sermons, if we’re on the mission field, or doing great things winning the world to Christ, or know the Bible from front to back.  If we’re not loving – patient, kind, humble, seeking good of others, etc., it simply does not matter who we are, or what we’re doing.

And what is the point of all this?    To obey God, and to walk beside and with others so we ALL can walk straight.




This crazy week! Sharks, Girls vs. Boys, Friendships and Kim Davis

Jed in cowboy outfit

This has been  crazy week.   But, at least I’ve learned a few things.   Some good, some sad, some not so great.

I learned that raising girls is much different than boys.  Girls are like, “I had a fever one time and now I have a sore throat.”  “Ow, ow, ow, I hurt my foot,” (as I hunt and hunt for even a faint red spot on it).   Girls will create a safe place in the pool so the shark can’t get them.

Boys on the other hand are like, “Yeah, I have a 105 fever and I’m puking, but I can still go play basketball.”   Boys like to bleed and boys taunt the shark in the pool so it WILL come get them.   Girls can have a huge appetite as well as boys, but girls nibble….boys devour.

I have some incredible friends.  Some have been with me for over 40 years and are precious to me, as are the ones who are newer.  We still laugh, still play cards, but don’t quite stay up as late as we used to for nights on end.  But they love me, accept me and believe the best in me.  And when I am disappointed by others…they are there.

And then I learned about Kim Davis…someone nobody had heard of before this week.

Kim Davis 2

She has taken a stand because of her belief in Almighty God and His precepts.  I never dreamed I would see this in our country and I’m sure many Christians are repeating the same sentiments.

But it also emboldens me to live my faith, not obnoxiously, but in a way that I would be willing to be persecuted if the time came.  May God be with her, give her strength and protection…and may the rest of us be strong in our faith.  What an example she is.

But I learned one more thing about the Kim Davis situation….the world doesn’t understand conversion into Jesus Christ.   That’s ok…Jesus said it wouldn’t.  We can’t expect them to.   But sadly, many Christians don’t get it either.  Yes, she has multiple marriages and these happened before she turned to the Lord.  The world is tearing her apart because of it and can only yell, “hypocrisy.”

Perhaps this is why she is so willing to take a stand, because she understands the pain of brokenness, and she wants to stand for truth, justice and true love.  Her heart has changed devotion, from living for the world, to living for God.

Is she perfect?  No.  Who is.   I’m sad to see Christians vilify her along with unbelievers.   Do we not even believe our own message of grace?

I’m thankful for that grace.  I have been labeled a hypocrite by others also.   Yes, by Christians.   We shoot our own wounded.   May God forgive us.



Josh Duggar and The Heart

heart with cross

No doubt, the home-school and quiverfull world has been rocked with the latest news of Josh Duggar’s infidelity and sin.  In fact, many Christians are dismayed, disturbed and even disgusted.  Someone who has come from a strong Christian home, been in Christian leadership, with a beautiful wife and children,  has fallen. Plenty has been written about how he needs to repent, and how God can forgive him; and yes He can!

I believe we should learn several things from this.  Here are a few I can think of.

No amount of Christian upbringing can be a 100% guarantee for pure, Christian living.  I have wonderful Christian friends who daily wonder where they went wrong.   I watched them raise their children and know the prayer and devotion that went into their child-rearing.  Yet, some of them agonize over their prodigal children.  The fact is – we all have to make our own decisions as we grow older.  We live in a fallen world and we sin.  Satan will stop at nothing to destroy us.  We’re warned to, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil…”   (1 Peter 5, NLT)

Homeschooling does not save you.  I have wonderful friends on both sides of the aisle on this.  Those who lovingly homeschool their children, and those who lovingly send theirs to public school.   I have seen homeschool children leave the Christian faith, and I have seen some of the strongest Christians come through the public school system.  There are arguments for both

We can protect, shelter, shield and even shut ourselves off from the world, but the truth is – we have an enemy who will find us.   Continuing the passage from 1 Peter 5, “…he (satan) prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”   There is only one thing that can protect us, “…stand firm against him and be strong in your faith.”  Whether we are schooled at home or in another building….if we are not teaching our children to be strong in the faith, they are defenseless as they become adults.

Making judgment calls about either side benefits nobody.  Sadly, I have heard derision for the “other side” from both homeschoolers and traditional school people, whether they be parents, students or those who hold opinions of one of the other.   WHERE one chooses education for their children should not be a litmus test for one’s salvation.  Pride should have no place in our conversation.  But sadly, that is not the case.   I have to be honest, I have heard this come from those who homeschool more than the other way around.

FINALLY...and this gets to the gist of this blog and Josh Duggar’s problem.

Only the Maker of our hearts can purify us through the blood of Jesus Christ.   Only He can cleanse us from all unrighteousness, as we confess our sins.  Not homeschooling or utilizing public         education, having 20 kids or 2, leading a ministry or working in the worldly job force, abstaining from alcohol or having a glass of wine, having Christian parents or raised by heathens, wearing long denim skirts or short denim shorts,  having long hair or short, dating or courting,  wearing khakis or denim jeans, and the list goes on.

As people try to DO what it takes to be right with God, failure comes hard.  The more we worry about appearance management, the further we drift from the cross of Jesus Christ.  It’s a heart issue, plain and simple…and from a purified heart comes the right actions.

No amount of restrictions can come close to changing a life;  only realizing our dire need for a changed life through the power of the Holy Spirit, by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Maybe, just maybe, if we figure out we need Jesus to purify us from all unrighteousness, we will have touched the hem of His garment….and be saved.

Grace, a Commodity to be Treasured

We have idolized grace.  That must sound like an abrupt statement, but I have been thinking about this for a long time, reading blogs and posts that are both conservative and not so much.  Yes, we have idolized grace.

We talk about grace like it is our salvation, but it’s not.  Jesus Christ, and our making Him Lord of our lives, is our salvation.  The cross, where Jesus died and paid for our sins, is what makes that salvation possible.  Grace is extended by a Merciful God, but God’s grace in His character gives Him the ability to do all this.  And gives us the opportunity to receive it.

We act like this is OUR grace, to be used whenever we want to pull the “grace card.”  Instead it is a gift and blessing extended to us by a holy God.  A blessing I believe many are taking for granted.

Grace is a gift to be cherished, instead I see many Christians wanting to get ever so close to the edge of sin, just to play with it a bit, or joke about it.  This is dangerous.  I recently saw a post on social media where ministers were joking about “coming out.”   Paul tells us it is disgraceful and shameful to even mention the deeds of the darkness.  He goes on to tell us to not even have coarse joking or silly talk in our conversations.  While some may think it’s funny, we have brothers and sisters in Christ who understand first-hand the darkness and entrapment of their past in homosexuality.

We, as Christians, stand on our right to participate in certain things (because of grace).  Although these things may not quite be sin, there is still a heart issue I’m very concerned about.  For instance, I don’t believe drinking a glass of wine is sin, but I do believe gloating about the fact that I have that right is wrong – for two reasons.

First, it’s not love for other believers who are convicted to the point of sin, or for our brothers and sisters who might be recovering alcoholics.

Secondly, it brings the attention to ourselves…this is what I can do and don’t tell me what is wrong and what is right.  I can do whatever I want because I stand in God’s grace.  It’s a very arrogant stance.

Even worse – others who profess to be Christians, seem to want to live in sinful lifestyles, while invoking God’s blessings and/or promises, ignoring His precepts and commands.

We proclaim the benefits of grace, but ignore the means by which we have received it – the blood of Jesus Christ.  The precious blood.  Do we even contemplate any more just how valuable that blood is?

Grace is a gift to be treasured.   But I see grace being used and abused.  We want to cover sin with it, but do so in a way it was never intended.  I believe the best evidence of the value and object of grace is what Paul tells Titus in chapter 2, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

If we understand grace to the fullest, we must embrace the fact that the true grace of God brings about change, is not to be taken lightly, and is a means by which we come into contact with a holy and righteous God.  Just one confirmation of this is found in 2 Corinthians, “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;  and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”

God’s grace is not something which we passively enjoy.  I believe it is a lifetime of cooperation with the Holy Spirit, of transformation; to become more like Jesus Christ – humbly and with deep, abiding gratitude.  Let’s not trample one of the most precious gifts offered to us.


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