Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"Thanksgiving Street" by Susannah Spurgeon

"The praise we render is dearer to Him than that of angels—for they cannot bless Him for redeeming love, for pardoned sin, and the blessed hope of resurrection glory." ~ Susannah Spurgeon  

I’m at Out of the Ordinary  today sharing one of my favorites. 

Wishing you all a very wonderful Thanksgiving!


Sunday, November 22, 2015

No Condemnation

 “In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve” Jeremiah 50:20
A glorious word indeed!   What a perfect pardon is here promised to the sinful nations of Israel and Judah!   Sin is to be so removed that it shall not be found, so blotted out that there shall be none.   Glory be unto the God of pardons!
Satan seeks out sins wherewith to accuse us, our enemies seek them that they may lay them to our charge, and our own conscience seeks them even with a morbid eagerness.  But when the Lord applies the precious blood of Jesus, we fear no form of search, for “there shall be none,” “they shall not be found.”   The Lord hath caused the sins of His people to cease to be: He hath finished transgression, and made an end of sin.   The sacrifice of Jesus has cast our sins into the depths of the sea.   This makes us dance for joy.  
The reason for the obliteration of sin lies in the fact that Jehovah Himself pardons His chosen ones.   His word of grace is not only royal, but divine. He speaks absolution, and we are absolved.   He applies the atonement, and from that hour His people are beyond all fear of condemnation.  Blessed be the name of the sin-annihilating

Faith's Checkbook by C.H. Spurgeon   

Monday, November 16, 2015

Restating the (not always so) Obvious

“We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”  George Orwell

 Our pastor has been going through a series on the five solas of the Reformation.   Yesterday, after quoting Orwell he commented that the Reformation was a restatement of the obvious.   Obvious, meaning that the doctrines of grace set forth during the Reformation were not new teachings but were merely reclaimed after centuries of being hidden away in a  false religious system.
Building on  Sola Gratia—salvation by grace alone,   he  explained how modern evangelicalism has unwittingly promoted a  subtle type of works salvation by teaching that God takes 99 steps toward us and it’s up to us to take that one final step toward him.    
Under pressure one may display a form of outward repentance  when faced with the consequences of their sin and even be driven by a fear of Hell,  yet  remain  unregenerate.    This is because our ability to repent and believe is impossible unless God initiates the call and  enlightens the heart.   We enter this world spiritually stillborn  and it is only by grace that we can come to repentance.   Repentance is every bit an act of free grace as justification.

The message reminded me of John Gerstner’s book Repent or Perish.  Gerstner (1914–1996) was a Presbyterian minister and seminary professor who  was asked by John H. White, President of the National Association of Evangelicals  to  write a treatise on the Biblical doctrine of Hell.   This was to be a  response to theologians who had denied the doctrine.   Says White,
I asked John Gerstner to respond, especially to John Stott and Philip Hughes in reference to the annihilation doctrine…. His [Gerstner’s] conclusions remind me of the disciples’ response to Jesus’ words in John 6, “This is a hard saying, who can hear it?”
Of those who deny the doctrine of eternal torment Gerstner  wrote:  If you are not afraid of hell, you are almost certainly going there.  You will then never doubt it again.”

Regarding repentance Gerstner says this:
I did not write “Repent or Perish” thinking I could persuade you to repent. I am not that na├»ve.  I am not an Arminian fancying that I,  by my writing,  my preaching,  my praying,  can bring you to repentance.   By the grace of God, I know better.   I know that only God can lead you, or me or anyone, to repent…
When God changes you, you will repent.   Not when He warns you, threatens you, pleads with you.  He must change you if you are ever to repent. (2 Tim 2:24-26)…
 When you say “I repent” with your impenitent heart, this is what you mean: ‘I am sorry about going to hell.   I do not want to go into a furnace of eternal fire’… You see?  You’re not sorry about sin.  You’re only sorry about your suffering for your sin.   Your old impenitent heart still loves its sin.  It just doesn’t love the consequences of it.  It’ll do anything to avoid hell.   Hate and turn from its sin?   Not that.  Anything but that!...
Repentance is literally impossible for you. You cannot make yourself other than you are."
Can the Ethiopian change his skin
Or the leopard his spots?
Then you also can do good
Who are accustomed to doing evil.”  Jeremiah 13:23
You must be changed.   If God gives you a penitent heart you will hate sin and you will really repent.   You will say “I repent” and mean it. You are a new creature in Christ Jesus. You have a new heart. You, for the first time in your life, hate sin and not only the consequences of sin…
So the great question is, “How do I get God to give me a new heart?” The first answer is, “Ask Him and you’ll have it.”  But, alas, you only truly ask Him when you have it!  You do not have it because you ask Him for it;  you ask Him because you have it…
Remember, trembling sinner, beg God for His sovereign mercy, apart from which you will encounter what the “fire that consumes” consumes: impenitent sinners eternally." 1
That evangelicals could go  so far afield  as to believe that that Hell is not a literal place of eternal torment or that we are able to contribute in some way to our salvation  should give us pause to consider Orwell’s words,  but more importantly to  remember the words or  our Savior:
And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” John 6:65

Ephesians 2: 1-5, 8-9, Acts 11:18,  Acts 5:30-31; John 6:44;  John 15:16; 2 Timothy 2:25;  
See also: The Gift of Repentance by Burk Parsons
The Truth About Hell Blog Series - Grace to You


1-  Repent or Perish: John Gerstner ; Soli Deo Gloria Publications Pages 197-202, 206

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Limitless Riches

“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19
Paul’s God is our God, and will supply all our need. Paul felt sure of this in reference to the Philippians, and we feel sure of it as to ourselves. God will do it, for it is like Him: He loves us, He delights to bless us, and it will glorify Him to do so. His pity, His power, His love, His faithfulness, all
work together that we be not famished.
What a measure doth the Lord go by: “According to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The riches of His grace are large, but what shall we say of the riches of His glory? His “riches of glory by Christ Jesus,” who shall form an estimate of this? According to this immeasurable measure will
God fill up the immense abyss of our necessities. He makes the Lord Jesus the receptacle and the channel of His fullness, and then He imparts to us His wealth of love in its highest form. Hallelujah!
The writer knows what it is to be tried in the work of the Lord. Fidelity has been recompensed with anger, and liberal givers have stopped their subscriptions; but he whom they sought to oppress has not been one penny the poorer, nay, rather he has been the richer; for this promise has been true, “My God shall supply all our need.” God’s supplies are surer than any bank.

Faith's Checkbook by C.H. Spurgeon


Friday, November 13, 2015


We’ve been ever so slowly retro-modeling our home.   Since we do everything as cheaply as possible,  and Robert loves playing with power tools,  he's  done all the work himself - including all the cabinetry and woodwork.   He's just now putting the finishing touches on the kitchen in time for the holidays.    The kitchen is small  and I always felt separated from everyone  so we wanted to open it up.   Here's the Before and After.   


There’s been quite the conversation going on all week about women bloggers –  in particular,  questioning why the blogosphere seems to be lacking the voices of us older Reformed women bloggers.    It all started with Lisa,  (one of my blogging buddies at  Out of the Ordinary). Then there were follow-ups by  Deb, Aimee,  Persis and then Debi and then  Persis again.   I’ve  thoroughly enjoyed listening in and have found the discussion encouraging because  at 64,  I confess to  feeling like a dinosaur sometimes. Truth be known,  I think these gals don't realize what an encouragement THEY are to us older women.    I'm concerned about the next generation of Christian women because there's so much fluff and drivel out there.   It's  a blessing to me to  know there are younger  women who are passionate about  sound theology.   

I’m thankful for all of the faithful saints in my community—for those in my local church family and for those who attend other fellowships.   I’m thankful for believing neighbors—I have many on my street, and I’m thankful for family members who love Christ.   I can’t imagine what life would be like should I suddenly find myself  all alone in my faith.  


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

WWII and a Tribute to the Father I Never Knew

On August 9th 1942  the  USS cruiser, Quincy was involved  in  the first major offensive against the Japanese Empire at the Battle of Savo Island in the South Pacific.   That night 370 of the 870 sailors and marines,  including the ship's captain,  perished.     
My father was a 17 year old from a small Ohio town  who had lied about his age to enlist and was on board the Quincy that night.    He was among the survivors who floated in the Pacific waters amidst  their dead comrades  for three days while tropical fish nibbled away at his flesh.    His psychological injuries followed him for the rest of his life.

I never knew my father and only have one  brief memory of meeting him when I was three years old.     My mother said he   became a completely different person after the War and  was  no longer the gentle man she had married.   He suffered from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, became a physically abusive alcoholic,  and deserted  my mother and two older brothers  when I was just six weeks old.   
War is a horrible thing and the casualties always extend far beyond the battlefield.    Life was difficult for my mother raising three children alone in the 1950’s without any financial support.    But I know it would have been even more difficult had my father been around.    I never knew any of my father’s family but when I became an adult I sought  them out and learned from my grandmother that my father had made peace with God  at the end of his life.     I pray this is true.
I’ve spent a lifetime contemplating all of these things and though I fully realize that each of us will be held accountable for our actions,   my heart still breaks when I think of the impact that war has on our veterans and their families.      I am so thankful that in recent times  our  Wounded Warriors  are finally being recognized and  we can offer them some help.   These services were not available to our WWI and WWII veterans.   Had they been, perhaps I would have known my father.
When I was 13 years old my mother remarried and  the Lord blessed me with  a  wonderful adoptive father.   He too was a WWII wounded survivor whose  B17 was shot down over Germany.   
So, today I want to pause to thank the Lord for my two dads.  One gave me life and I never got the chance to know him.  The other gave me the joy of having a true father.   Both were heroes. 

“World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history in absolute terms of total dead. Over 60 million people were killed, which was about 3% of the 1940 world population (est. 2.3 billion).” 1
US Casualties:  “ Battle deaths (including POWs who died in captivity, does not include those who died of disease and accidents)  were 292,131: Army 234,874 (including Army Air Forces 52,173); Navy 36,950; Marine Corps 19,733; and Coast Guard 574 (185,924 deaths occurred in the European/Atlantic theater of operations and 106,207 deaths occurred in Asia/Pacific theater of operations). 2
Below is a hauntingly beautiful tribute to those  on the USS Quincy who perished and those who survived .   I am very grateful to the person who put this together.  It meant so much to me to run across this. 
USS Quincy: Ghost of Savo Island
Music:  Paint the Sky with Stars
Artist: Enya

2 ibid.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Trusting God with Our Money Troubles

I’m at Out of the Ordinary today talking about one of our favorite subjects.  Or not!    Well, I promise this isn't going to be a lecture  about being a poor steward so please come on by.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Katherine Parr: Reformation Queen of England and Ireland

When people think about  King Henry VIII they usually think about the scandal surrounding the beheading of Anne Boleyn—You know, the stuff that makes for an entertaining TV series.    But did you know his last wife Katherine Parr was  a strong  Evangelical Christian who barely escaped the guillotine?  
Please join me today at  Out of the Ordinary to learn more about this amazing woman.      

 Katherine Parr image:  National Portrait Gallery - London

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Anne Askew: The Extraordinary Life of a Reformation Martyr

On October 31st   many of us will celebrate  Reformation Day.   When I think about the modern church's growing tolerance of divergent teachings,  I wonder how many Christians today would be willing to die for the truths the Reformation martyrs died for.   I'm at Out of the Ordinary today sharing an incredible account of a young mother who did just that.  

Friday, October 2, 2015

ME/CFS - My Life in the Slow Lane

Some of my  readers may  wonder why I haven’t posted much this year so I thought I should explain why. 
This has been a  tough year for me.   As I mentioned earlier this summer  in my blogpost  Singing in the Fire  over at Out of the Ordinary , I’ve been having a major relapse of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia,  which is an illness I’ve lived with for the past 29 years. 
When I was 36 years old  and our three children were young,   I became severely ill,  literally overnight,  with something that felt akin to  the flu on steroids—only it never went away.   I was one of the fortunate ones who got an early diagnosis.   The first few years were spent mostly bedridden  and over the next decade I made very slow improvements.    
 I had come to accept that I would probably remain that way for  the rest of my life when,  for no apparent reason,  at around the ten year mark  I regained about 70% of normal functioning.    Since then I’ve had many relapses.   My life has been profoundly impacted by this illness,  but  God has taught me many valuable lessons  through this.
CFS  or ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) as it's called in the UK,  waxes and wanes and most people  around me have no idea I’m sick.     That's  because I appear healthy and when I’m “in remission” so to speak,  I can fake it on the outside pretty well.    But the reality is,  even during the best of  times,  I have to plan  my energy budget carefully and still have flares.   It’s not uncommon to crash for several weeks after a business trip,  the holidays,  or a stressful life event.    
I have recently started  a new  treatment called Low Dose Naltrexone which is the first medication I will have tried  that  holds some promise for improvement.    LDN is an FDA approved prescription medication that has been highly successful when used  off label in low doses to treat a large variety of immunological illnesses including MS,  lupus, arthritis, ME/CFS, and even autism.    It's not a cure but hopefully it will help.    
I've been revisiting   the  world of CFS research   and there is still a great need for  awareness about it.    ME/CFS  affects people to varying degrees and many are still suffering without diagnosis and treatment.     While some  can still work a job,  the sickest are in wheelchairs and  need help caring for their most basic needs.     The majority  of us live quietly in the shadows  while those around us,  and sometime even  our  doctors,  have no clue what we are going through.   For many dreams have vanished.   Careers have been lost.   Marriages have dissolved.   And government research is woefully underfunded.   
Thankfully, progress is finally being made in the area of  awareness  and research.   In 2010 The Whitmore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease opened its doors on  the UNR Medical campus here in Reno  and recruited some of the world’s leading experts in the field of  CFS.   Their focus  is on treatment and research of CFS,  Gulf War Illness, Lyme disease and other similar systemic diseases.   Additionally,  several federal government agencies recently joined together and came up with a new name  which  I wrote about  HERE.    
As for me,  until  my health improves  I am going to let this blog continue to sit quietly for awhile longer,  but I do hope to be back soon!  
I am grateful for the kind invitation of my friends  at Out of the Ordinary  to join them.     So, as I’m able I will continue to contribute over there,  but I thought I should let  my readers  here  know  what’s been going on  with me.   I  deeply appreciate each and every one of you.   
 The Lord is so good and kind to all of us.    His grace is sufficient and His power is perfected in weakness.   Amen?   

Excellent resources for ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia: 
 Solve ME/CFS Initiative,  (formerly CFIDS Association of America)   
Simmaron Research
Phoenix Rising - Online Support Group Info & Forums 
Health Rising - Cort Johnson: Finding Answers for CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia 
Hunter Hopkins Center P.A.