Category Archives: Christianity

Thoughts from my Garden

There’s no better time or place for pondering than the garden in the morning. Before the heat starts bearing down, while the cool damp air wafts the scent of fresh cilantro my way as I’m watering the herbs…ahhh, nothing compares! This morning I spent an hour or more just watering and cooing to my lush green tomato plants, and ridding the pathways of stray weeds. They love me! (the tomatoes, not the weeds!)

I saw the telltale signs of hornworm action on two of the tomato plants. Grrr. The hunt began. It always scares me how well those large green worms blend in on a tomato vine. The damage they do is very obvious–they eat the end leaves off of the tomato plants, leaving an empty nub–but the worm itself is good at “making like a vine” and camouflaging itself till your nose is inches away and you suddenly see the thing. Ugh.

Isn’t that the way it is with life? Sometimes you see the effects of sin in your life…perhaps cutting you off from bearing fruit for Christ, or having fruitful relationships with others. Sometimes you have to trace that sin down and deal with it. Maybe it’s plainer to others than it is to you. Whatever the case, if you let it go, it will destroy you and the consequences will spread to those around you…if it’s a hornworm, pluck it off and smash it; if it is a weed, uproot it and throw it in the burn pile before it takes over your life.

Gardening with children is a great way to teach discernment. Last week we were weeding the onions. We have a long row and a half of onions, and it is a wide row, so there are three onions across, then four, then three, alternating in a foot wide raised bed. Lots of training opportunities while weeding with kiddos. Onion tops are green, so are most weed tops. The good and the bad grow side by side, close comparison helps one to discern what to leave and what to pull.

Side by side comparison in real life is helpful as well. Whether it be in the garden, or when choosing the best Bible translation, there is no better way to gain discernment than comparing the good and the bad side by side for their differences.

In creation and in spiritual things, discernment is critical. Take wild edibles for instance. With wild edibles, poisonous plants and medicinal plants often look alike. Do you know how many campers have dined on what they thought was wild carrots, when in fact it was a poisonous look-alike, poison hemlock? Deadly mistake. Sometimes close inspection is necessary for survival. Whether it be physical or spiritual.

Another parallel to this consideration would be Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares. A tare in the field looks exactly like the wheat, but at harvest time, the wheat produces fruit, and tares do not. 2 Timothy 2:19 tells us that “the Lord knoweth them that are his”…We’re also told a few verses earlier, in 2 Timothy 2:15, that we’re to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Discernment is key if you are Christian living in today’s world. It’s easy to be confused by counterfeits.

Just some thoughts from my garden.

1 Thessalonians 5:21, “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.”

Easy Baked Salmon

Friday mornings are usually reserved for Bible study luncheons with my parents. With our hectic schedule, we haven’t had any semblance of regularity with our studies, but it worked out today! Dad taught on Matthew 24, regarding the signs of the end. Riveting stuff, as we see it come true all around us. We followed our study up with one of our favorite treats: Baked Alaskan Salmon. Wow. We absolutely love this recipe, so it’s about time I shared it here at the blog!

I always double this, and go heavy on the spices and cracker crumbs. But here is the original recipe.

Baked Wild Salmon Fillets

  • 4 salmon fillet
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 stick butter melted
  • 1/2 of an onion diced
  • 1 cup (or MORE)  cracker crumbs (we like Back to Nature cracker rounds)
  • juice of 1 lime or lemon

Preheat oven to 350″F. Blend seasonings together and rub into fish. Roll seasoned salmon into the cracker crumbs, packing the crumbled crackers onto the fillets. Put in 9×13″ glass dish. Sprinkle each fillet with diced onions and drizzle with lime or lemon juice, about 3/4 TB per fillet. If you have crumbs leftover, go ahead and add them to the dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes and dig in!

These were AMAZING with fresh steamed garden asparagus, tossed salad and homemade Texas toast! My mom likes to bring her double burner cast iron griddle and a loaf of French bread, which she and the girls slice and butter (real butter all the way, man!) both sides, then grill on the griddle. Ta-da–Texas toast, and is it ever delicious.

Fun way to round out the family time: Quiddler. If you like word games, such as Scrabble and Boggle, you’ll love this one.

Why not schedule a Bible study luncheon of your own?

The True Joy of Spring

In a corral with two mares and their foals, one can coax for thirty minutes before the long-legged little colts’ curiosity brings them your way. But when they are nuzzling you and chewing on your fingers, that wait is so worth it!

We’re loving springtime, and the births and firstfruits (like rhubarb and asparagus!) that accompany it. Besides the two foals, we also have six kids (of the goat variety!), and around 160-something chicks. And a Border Collie Mama-to-be that is so big we think she must have about 20 pups in the making! This spring we also got started in the “worm” business. Yes, that’s right. My basement is housing a mini-worm farm, for composting purposes here at home. Worm castings are an incredible source of organic, non-toxic fertilizer for boosting the nutrient health of your seedlings, transplants, and for later side-dressing of veggies. It’s been INTERESTING, to say the least! :O) My hubby says that beekeeping is on our horizon as well! Sweet! 

But I have to say, that the best thing about life these days, is the joy of waking up each day with a heart so full of bride-like love for my Maker and the new found hunger for His word that just leaves me in awe every minute of the day. I’ve been passionate about many things and people in my life…from family and friends to writing, homeschooling, homesteading, “Christianity,” etc. But nothing compares to the light of His word, that the Holy Spirit has fanned from a flicker to a flame in my personal life this past year. Nothing else has come with such a price tag, costing me on many counts as God prunes the unnecessary from my life, replacing what I once held dear with things of greater eternal significance. Regrets in this process? No way, except that I wish it had happened earlier! This is the relationship with my Heavenly Father that I’ve always longed for, and wondered how people of old could gladly suffer and die for…

Ephesians 5:14,

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”

2 Corinthians 4:6,

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Like a little foal that doesn’t know what’s good for him till he’s brave enough to leave what’s comfortable and respond to the draw of his long-suffering and patient owner crouched in the corner of the corral, we’re so silly sometimes about putting God off for a rainy day. Why not seek Him now, with your whole heart, casting off any preconceived notions and just letting Him speak to you through His word?

Psalm 119:130 says,

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

My friend, there is light in abundance there, for both your darkness and mine, and an eternity more while we’re at it.

Who did Jesus die for?

Acts 2:21 says,“And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Don’t you just love this concept? I’m a whosoever, and so are you!

So who did Jesus Christ die for? Well, sinners like me, the ungodly and even false prophets…Here are a few scriptures, out of many, that answer this question:

“For Whom Did Christ Die?”

He died for ALL (1 Timothy 2:6).

He died for ALL MEN (Romans 5:18; 1 Timothy 4:10).

He died for US ALL, for ALL OF US (Isaiah 53:6).

He died for the UNGODLY (Romans 5:6).

He died for SINNERS (Romans 5:8).

He died for FALSE TEACHERS AND CHRIST-DENIERS (2 Peter 2:1).

He died for EVERY MAN (Hebrews 2:9).

He died for the WORLD (John 6:33, 51; John 1:29, and John 3:16).

He died for the WHOLE WORLD (1 John 2:2).

He died for the WHOLE NATION of Israel (John 11:50-51).

He died for the CHURCH (Ephesians 5:25).

He died for His SHEEP (John 10:11).

He died for ME (Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:3).

The verses used above for your convenience are here below…

1 Timothy 2:6

Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Romans 5:18 and 1 Timothy 4:10

Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

Isaiah 53:6

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Romans 5:6

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:8

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

2 Peter 2:1

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

Hebrews 2:9

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

John 6:33, 51; John 1:29; and John 3:16

For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

1 John 2:2

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world. 

John 11:50-51

Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

John 10:11

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Galatians 2:20 and 1 Corinthians 15:3

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

“Whosoever means whosoever. It is really that simple. Let the Bible determine what you believe, and don’t let what you believe determine what you think the Bible says.” –Mark Cahill

By the way, that darling “i’m a whosoever” necklace is available on Etsy by clicking this link! Be sure to check out OneLostSheep’s shop for many other treasures. What a great way to prompt questions and point people to John 3:16!

(Most of the above content was taken from the class notes handed out at our mid-week Bible study, many thanks going out to J.C.!)

King Josiah and me…

Recently, I reread the story of King Josiah in 2 Kings, and marveled at how applicable it seems in light of where God has opened the eyes of our understanding this past year.

Josiah became king at the age of eight. Ten years later, at age eighteen, God tells us in 2 Kings 22:8, that in the course of repairing the temple,a book of the law was discovered anew after evidently having been lost…interesting to note here, is that the scribe bringing news of this lost book, doesn’t seem to give its discovery the great importance it deserves. If you go to the passage and read verses 8-10, maybe you’ll see what I mean.

But King Josiah’s own reaction to this discovery is one of heartbreak. 2 Kings 22:11 tells us,

“And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.”

If you keep reading, in verse 13 he says to four of his trusted men,

“Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.”

God answers King Josiah, in verses 15-20, through Huldah the prophetess, but it is verse 19 that really speaks to me, in light of my own belief that God is calling us to greater discernment of modern bible versions in these end times,

“Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.

Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.”

King Josiah immediately called for the people and read the book of the law to them, and with the people, made a covenant to the Lord promising to walk in His ways, keep all his commandments, testimonies and statutes with their whole hearts and souls, according to every word in the book. ThKing Josiah cleansing the land of idols, 2 Kings 23 : 24en the king proceeded to purge his land from idols and all things pagan. It’s an amazing story of a king totally ignorant of the depths to which his forefathers had been disregarding God’s ways and His words. But God saw Josiah’s tender heart, his keen brokenness over the things he’d unknowingly done, and God had mercy.

Wow. I really identify with this. For me, discovering the KJV is like a treasure I found buried in a field…the more my eyes became open to the stakes of this issue, the more my heart was broken over my own areas of blindness, broken yet awestruck at God’s majesty and holiness. Now my daily prayer is for God’s word to be a “light unto my path”, to keep me from stumbling, from deception, to renew my mind, and transform my every way.

Remember the Martyrs

KJVBiblePop quiz: What were the best-selling books in the Middle Ages?

  1. The Holy Bible–1611
  2. Pilgrim’s Progress–John Bunyan, 1672
  3. Foxes Book of Martyrs–John Foxe, 8 volumes, 1563 (note that modern copies of this book are severely truncated…leaving out around 6,000 pages)
Also interesting to note, is that the original title for Foxes Book of Martyrs was as follows:
“Acts and Monuments of These Latter and Perilous Day, Touching Matters of the Church, Wherein Are Comprehended and Describes the Great Persecutions and Horrible Troubles That Have Been Wrought and Practised by the Romish Prelates, Specially In This Realm of England and Scotland, From the Year of Our Lord A Thousand, Unto the Time Now Present. Gathered and Collected According To the True Copies and Writings Certified As Well Of the Parties Themselves That Suffered, As Also Out of the Bishops Registers, Which Were the Doers Thereof, by John Foxe.”
Imagine an eight volume set of books covering the tragic deaths of so many Christians being number 3 on the best-seller’s list. We’re talking  6,000+ pages here…could it be because people truly valued the sacrifices made by these brave men, women and children, and wanted never to forget the price paid by those who gave all to stand for Christ and the scriptures?

This past Sunday evening at Awanas, I shared some martyr “stories of the faith” with our AWANA Trek Clubbers. We’ve titled our contest theme this year “Track the Trek Tract Challenge”. Our goal with the Trek club is to hand out a certain number of tracts this year, and if we meet our goal, we’ll have a pizza party to celebrate. The kids earn tracts just as they earn Awana dollars, one tract per section signed in the handbook. They’ve enjoyed collecting and reading all of the tracts from chick.com before giving them away. Each week we share the unique places we’ve left tracts, and “track” how many we’ve left.

We’re also exploring a “Do Hard Things” theme. Hence, my wanting to share about the martyrs this past week. I think you all will be amazed by these stories as well.

With a blood-filled pen…

In 1557, Ralph Allerton was burned at the stake. Because he had no ink in prison, he wrote with his own blood, a report of his trial and a letter of encouragement to a widow. His bloody letters pleaded thus,

“I believe the Scripture to be true, and in the defence of the same I intend to give my life, rather than I will deny any part thereof, God willing.” Foxe, vol. 8, p. 408

I have to admit, I never realized the Biblical extent of the stakes these martyrs were standing for…that they were not dying for their faith in Jesus–because their Catholic persecutors claimed to believe in Jesus also–but rather for standing strong in defense of the holy scripture, and the veracity of every single word contained therein. That is so important to understand. You see, in the Dark Ages (c. 500-1500), Rome taught that the scriptures could only be understood by a ‘language scholar’, by a priest or member of the laity. The Bible was illegal in the hands of the people. But the word of God was with the people regardless, and they stood firm against any tampering thereof.

For instance, John Cavel, in 1556, was burned at the stake along with five others, for refusing to go to a church that ‘corrected’ the Bible one week, and preached the gospel the next:

“John Cavel…answered, that the cause why he did forbear the coming to the church, was, that the parson there had preached two contrary doctrines. For first, in a sermon that he made…he did exhort the people to believe the gospel; for it was the truth, and if they did not believe it, they should be damned. But in a second sermon, he preached that the Testament was false in forty places, which contrariety in him was a cause amongst others of his absenting from the church.” Foxe, vol. 8, p. 106

These saints had a choice–burn the Bible word by word, or be burned themselves.

Memorizing huge portions of scripture…

Adam Wallace was taken to be burned at the stake. The men who took him,

“…spoiled him of his Bible, which always, til after he was condemned, was with him wherever he went. ” He spent the night before he was burned at the stake, singing the entire book of Psalms by heart or “without book” as they called it then.” Foxe, vol. 5 pp. 637-641Titlepage of Great Bible, from the Hebrew and Greek Texts, c.1539

Memorizing whole books of the Bible was very common in those days. Paper being scarce, Bibles were a precious commodity, and also, people were poor. Persecution was everywhere. Christians took to heart as many scriptures as they could…and in this way, groups like the Vaudois or Waldensians were able to preserve the purity of the scriptures and protect them against the corruption of those days. It gives all new meaning to Psalm 119:11,

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

The Cambridge History of the Bible, vol. 2, p. 475, says:

“We can safely say that they would have been able to reproduce much the same translation as we have…through long years of memorization and recitation…”

Here is what one “Inquisitor’s Tract” relayed in 1260,

For I have heard and seen a certain unlettered countryman, who used to recite Job word for word and many others who knew the whole New Testament perfectly” M. Deansley, The Lollard Bible, 1920, p. 62

This would have been of illegal proportions to the mind of an “inquisitor”…the title of which should ring alarms tolling back to history classes and the Roman Catholic Inquisition, when Christianity any other way than the pope’s way, was a sure ticket to torture and death. Keeping God’s word from the people was of primary importance. But these “unlettered” Christians, in the face of persecution, memorized the whole New Testament!

A blind  girl’s pennies…

 Joan Waste, a blind girl residing in the town of Derby, was burned at the stake at the young age of 22. Her crime was three-fold. She objected to the services being read in Latin, she was found the owner of a New Testament, and she denied the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation holding that the “bread and wine were just that”. Here is her amazing story.

Although blind, she was able to “recite many chapters of the New Testament without book.” With money earned from knitting and rope making, she procured a copy of the New Testament, and as she was able, she saved out “a penny or two” to pay people to read the Bible to her. She was reported to have held the hand of her twin brother on her way to her death. (Foxe, vol. 8, pp. 247-248)

Practical application: Beloved…contend for the faith!
Jude 1:3,

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

William Tyndale, martyred in 1536, who was the first to make an English translation directly from the Greek and Hebrew texts, has this to say to parents:

“Thou shalt buy them wholesome books, as the holy gospel, the epistles of the holy apostles, yea both the New and Old Testament, that they may understand and drink of the sweet fountain and waters of life”…”Bring thy children to the church, to hear the sermon; and when thou shalt come home, thou shalt ask them what they have kept in memory of the sermon…”   Foxe, vol. 5, p. 598

I wonder what William Tyndale would have thought of little league, Guitar Hero or Harry Potter.  What about us adults? I’m just as guilty of the many ways we keep so busy in the ways of the world, which are so far from God’s ways.  Surely too busy to memorize the 27 books of the New Testament.

Remembering the martyrs might be a good place to effect some change. In my house as well as yours.

Lessons From Church History

John Foxe, of the Foxe’s Book of Martyrs fame, is an amazing source for authentic church history. I just have to share here some must-know history that you won’t learn in your typical Sunday School…

In 1583, on worldwide persecution, John Foxe writes,

…it was universally through all the churches in the world fierce and vehement, so in this realm of Britain also it was so sore, that, as all our English chronicles do testify and record, all Christianity almost in the whole land was destroyed, churches subverted, all books of the Scriptures burned, many of the faithful, both men and women, were slain.” The Acts and Monuments, Vol. 1, London: R.B. Seely and W. Burnide, 1836, p. 312

Can you imagine that kind of persecution, to almost wipe Christianity off the face of the earth? This was in the Roman Catholic Inquisition time period…estimates of 50-65 million Christians were tortured and martyred for not only their faith, but their refusal to forfeit their pure copies of the scriptures. You see, even back then, the early church fathers warned against corrupt Bibles, which were supposedly being “corrected” by the scholars or religious leaders of their time. Among these keepers of the faith were the Apostle John (2 John 1:7-11), the Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 2:17), Justin Martyr (AD 100-165), Irenaeus (2nd century), Victor of Antioch (AD 425-440)…Eusebius (Eccleastical History)  here cites:

“The worst corruptions to which the New Testament has ever been subjected originated within one hundred years (AD 90-190) after it was composed.”

Dean John Burgon in The Revision Revised on page 323 quotes Gaius (AD 175),

“The Divine Scriptures these heretics have audaciously corrupted (see 2 Corinthians 2:17)…laying violent hands upon them, under pretense of correcting them.”

Gaius speaks of the source of these corruptions that survived in the early papyri, P45, P46, P66, P75 and B (Vaticanus) and Aleph (Sinaiticus).

When our family visited the subject of textual criticism and modern Bible translations, and fell amazingly in love with the King James Version Bible, not surprisingly, many well-meaning friends wondered how today’s leading scholars and Bible seminaries could be so wrong in claiming that 1% of all extant manuscripts, mainly the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts (cited above by early fathers as corrupt), are the best out there upon which to base our modern English translations. Well, it’s a multi-faceted answer, at the root of which you’ll find the theories of Westcott and Hort in the late 1800’s (two men who dallied with demonic spirit-guides), but the easy answer is, modern scholars base everything on the assumption that these two manuscripts were the oldest. Oldest is not necessarily purest, especially in light John Foxe’s quote above, “all books of Scriptures burned”…and recent discoveries (1950’s-60’s) of 92 papryi have vindicated the KJV Bible believers, causing Nestle’s 26th edition to be changed in 500 places to go back to the KJV reading!

I also want to say, that many good men are deceived. Even Paul, in 1 Timothy 1:13, says, “I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” Peter was so spiritual that his shadow healed people, but in Galations 2:14 we see that “he walked not uprightly”–a good man, but deceived. Later, Jesus, talking to Peter in Matthew 16:23, said, “Get thee behind me Satan…” 

The KJV has long been the butt of jokes at churches and seminaries, sadly defiled as Jesus was defiled. Jesus uses lowly people, the lowly form of things, the opposite of what the world uses to attract. He will not be associated wtih the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, or the pride of life. God has chosen to use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. Interestingly in this case, the KJV is the most majestic book ever written, in terms of poetry, rhythm, language and harmony. For 400 years now, it has born undeniable fruit for God’s kingdom.  Hardly surprising, when you consider that the providentially preserved texts underlying the KJV, would produce anything less than a masterpiece? Let us not forget who was the original Author.Yet modern text critics would have us believe that the least harmonious and most abbreviated manuscripts, one of which was discovered in the trash can at a Catholic monastery, are the best.  

Another thing to consider when it comes to bearing fruit…over the past 100 years, we have had over 200 English versions of the Bible spring up…where are the great evangelists, when was the last great revival to sweep the land? Have American Christians been drifting closer to God, or further away?

Also, we need to be careful what sinners think, as opposed to what God says. The word scholar is rarely, if ever, used in a positive connotation in the Bible.  A few examples for you:

  • Mark 12:38, and Luke 20:46, “Beware of the scribes…” Scribes (writers) have great power. Matthew 24:4, “Take heed that no man deceive you.”
  • Malachi 2:8 says the scholars “have corrupted the covenant…”, and 2:12.
  • Luke 16:15 says, “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

This post is for those of you who always wondered why all Bibles are not equal. Perhaps, like us, when you read the Bible around as a family, using different versions, you wonder, “Why’d they change that?” Why, indeed.

Maybe the idea of corrupted Bibles startles you, as it did me. But why wouldn’t Satan want to attack God’s word, when it was the very first thing he did in the garden of Eden with Eve? He questioned God’s word, “Yea, hath God said?” He then misquoted God’s word, “Ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden?” Then he flatly contradicted God’s word, “Ye shall not surely die!” On top of that, consider that the word of God is our sword of the spirit, the only offensive weapon against the evil one in the hands of the Christian as outlined in the armor of God passage. It would suit Satan’s plans perfectly to get a suitable counterfeit into the hands of every believer. Why else were pure scriptures in the hands of Christians such a threat in the Dark Ages, resulting in so many Christian’s deaths, in so many Bibles being burned? In those days, Satan’s attack was overt, and obvious. Christians knew who their enemy was. Today, he is more subtle. We must be looking for the wolves amongst the sheep.

And why is it, that only the King James Version Bible is the one being reviled, questioned, argued against, when the modern versions have a multitude of unbelievable ommissions, attacks on the key doctrines of our Lord Jesus Christ, very minor manuscript evidence (1% as opposed to the KJV’s 99% manuscript evidence!). Have we blindly been led astray like sheep?

God promised in Psalm 12:6-7,

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”

God promises to preserve His words perfectly, as silver burned to purity…forever. The question that burns to be answered…is where is this Bible?

And where are the corrupt ones we’re warned about in 2 Corinthians 2:17,

“For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

2 Corinthians 11:3,

 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

And lastly, Jeremiah 13:15, 17…

 “Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken…But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD’S flock is carried away captive.”

Don’t take my word for something this monumental. Pray about it, and research for yourself using God’s word as the light to your path. Church history is a great place to start. And if you are local to me, I have thousands of pages on the subject in my personal library that I would be honored to share to assist you in your journey.

This is a journey for which you must count the cost. At the very least, you could be misunderstood, criticized, laughed at behind your back, or called a church splitter. Yes, even in America. Even when there is no unity to compare to the unity of God’s people steeping themselves in His pure, holy, perfectly preserved words.

Rejoicing at having the privilege to share this here, as a sister in Christ,

Mary

What the word of God says about itself…

KJVBibleRecently I decided to study up on what God says about His word in the Bible. This study changed my life, as I fell in love with God’s word as never before! Did you know that God esteems His words more highly than His name? And He promises to perfectly preserve these words for us? And that heaven and earth shall pass away but His words will last forever? 
This is an important study in a world of Bible scholars claiming that only the original Hebrew and Greek contain the infallible, inspired words of God. Christians need to realize that there is no longer any original Hebrew and Greek…even in Bible days God’s people were relying on copies of scriptures. Does that make God’s words any less inspired, or do His promises to perfectly preserve those inspired words mean anything to us in modern times? If God and His words are our final authority, then this study is of paramount importance.
Here are my favorite scriptures on this subject, and I’m constantly adding to the list. Feel free to add more in comments! A study such as this truly humbles one…to think that God provided such a precious treasure trove for His people, common everyday mankind. A bridge across the great divide, to span thousands of years to eternity.
John 5:39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
2 Peter 1:21, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
2 Timothy 3:16, All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
John 17:8, “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.”
Jeremiah 15:16, ” Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.”
Job 23:12, “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”
Matthew 4:4, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Psalm 12:6-7, “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them oh Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever.”
Prov. 30:5-6, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
Psalm 119:89, “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”
Matthew 5:18, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
Psalm 138:2, “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”
Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
1 Cor. 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
1 Thess. 2:13, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
Romans 10: 16-17, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. “
Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Psalm 19:7-14, but verse 7-8 is all I’ll share here,  “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.”
Proverbs 22:20-21, “Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?” 
 
medieval_warriorWarnings for the Christian…to gird up for battle, be on the alert.
Eph. 6:17, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”…this one tells us that the sword of the spirit for the armed Christian is the word of God! How better for Satan to cripple the church today, than to attack the one offensive weapon named to the Christian–God’s word. Do you have God’s word? How can you know? Keep reading.
1 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
“Rightly dividing the word of truth”. How much reliance and faith do you have in modern translations/translators rightly dividing the word of truth? Which Greek and Hebrew are they using? There are many and they are not all equal. 
We are warned 3 times (that I’m aware of, maybe more) in scripture not to add to or subtract from the scriptures:
Rev. 22:18-19, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
 Deuteronomy 4:2, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”
Proverbs 30:6, “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
Yet another red flag for the Bible believer: 
 2 Cor. 2:17, “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
Are there corrupt Bible versions out there today? Most certainly. Sadly most of us don’t know our Bibles forwards and backwards enough to recognize that key doctrines of the Christian faith are fading from modern translations. Be on the alert, beloved! Please do your homework on this subject.
“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump…” Galations 5:9, 1 Corinthians 5:6.
One last parting scripture,
2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
 The study of the “word” of God is a very enlightening one! Count the cost! 

Contemplations of our Savior’s birth

This post is courtesy of my sweet and godly mom…enjoy, and have a blessed day!

***

I picture the shepherds of Bethlehem as a quiet lot, not given to much conversation, not living exciting lives, experiencing some boredom on the night watches, wondering if this was all that life held.    (I don’t think of them as having poetic souls though I am reminded of the Shepherd-King, David who spent many years as a shepherd…and we have the songs of his solitude to refresh us).  Picture the shepherds, out in the darkness, waiting for morning, not expecting anything more exciting than perhaps a wolf or dog agitating the sheep.
But the angel of the Lord!  Why, it could almost give you a heart attack!  Don’t you love that ‘And, lo’?  Out of the darkness of the night sky, the angel of the Lord came upon them.  I think my own heart would have stopped!  And the glory of the Lord shone round about them.  I see the glory of the Lord in the Scriptures when they reveal Him to me.  But these shepherds were ‘sore’ afraid.  No wonder!  They were stunned!  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!  Proverbs 9:10.  I bet they were awestruck!  A very logical response to the appearance of the glory of the Lord.
And the first thing the angel said was, ‘Be not afraid!’  I wonder if that really calmed them; it calms me when He speaks ‘be not afraid’ to me.  But then he revealed what every Jewish person had been waiting for for hundreds of years…Good news!  Good news!  Unto you is born this day a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.  And you will find Him in Bethlehem.
Then, on top of that astounding sight, a multitude of heavenly hosts appeared with the messenger angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God’!  It was a ‘Messiah’ moment, bursting into praise and glory…wonder if that is how Handel felt when he was writing that wonderful Hallelujah Chorus.
Let’s give God glory for the birth of His Son!  Let’s accept the peace God promised at the birth of His Son and at the new birth when we receive Him.  Rejoice in the Lord always because of God’s gift of good will!  The law came by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ!
As the shepherds immediately headed for Bethlehem to find the Babe, let us seek Him also; let’s join in the fulness of grace and truth which He has promised when we seek Him in prayer and the Word.

Tips for Bake Sales

bake sale 1.1Family and friends have been anxiously awaiting this post since mid-November! Not because they need the vital information I’m going to share for hosting a successful bake sale, but rather for the glory this post is going to give to God for the great things He hath done!

A friend of ours was diagnosed with cancer in July.  This homeschool mother of 7 and her husband have had a rough year in all areas, and then along came this cancer diagnosis. In an effort to *do* something helpful, our homeschool group decided to host a bake sale. Here’s what I learned in the process!

PRAY hard!

Hosting an outdoor bake sale in November isn’t the most *brilliant* of plans, but that’s what we did. Here in the mid-west, November weather is typically pretty blustery. The week leading up to the bake sale was chilly, but not too bad. However, the forecast for the Friday of the sale, was downright awful! Everybody called to let me know that Friday was going to be miserable, hands down. But what can you do when you’ve got ads out everywhere, and all the radio stations have been announcing this fundraiser for days?

You pray, that’s what you do. And it helps to have a 13 year old in the house reminding you that God is a miracle worker. I told all my girls that we were packing a change of clothes to take along, because we would probably get soaked…with a forecast of 100% chance of rain, and 30 degree temps…don’t you think it prudent to plan ahead a little? But my daughter kept chiding such plans…”Oh ye of little faith, Mom!”

So we kept baking, baking, baking…and praying, praying, praying!

Involve the Kids!

bake sale 2This tip deserves its own spot in the post. Being homeschoolers, each family had children coming along eager to help. One family had the awesome idea of making costumes! They came with the cutest sandwich board type costumes–one of a cupcake, and another of an M&M cookie. Another family had a chef’s costume, and another donated a banana costume (banana bread, anyone?). We had a line of around 20 children clowning around attracting business for us. Those costumes did the trick!

One of the boys threw in a pogo stick for extra credit. Now THAT got people’s attention!

Enlist help!

This goes without saying, but I thought I’d better say it anyway. Mass email your support group, being sure to call the ones who aren’t online and try to get an idea of what items they are bringing to the sale. You don’t want to end up with four tables of brownies, for instance. Well, maybe you do–especially if a moment of chocolate is necessary for the morale of the troops on sale day.

We shared around the following jobs:

  • Decide on a good location for your sale, and work out all the details. Staples graciously allowed us to use their parking lot free of charge.
  • Get ads in the local newspapers, and call/email the local radio stations with a public service announcement to make sure news of the fundraiser reaches as many in the community as possible. Do this a week or two in advance. In our case, the radio stations gave a free blurb every day leading up to the bake sale, and then really pushed it for us on sale day. The newspapers gave us a free “story” spot due to the sale being a fundraiser.
  • Make flyers to put around town at the local businesses!
  • Make signs to put up at big intersections on sale day!
  • Make colorful neon poster board/cardboard signs for the kids to hold to attract traffic and passersby on sale day. (It’s a good plan to make plenty of these, and bring extra poster board and permanent markers along to make more if necessary. Wind and rain–and kids!–can wreak havoc on the best of signs!)
  • Get two (at a minimum) canopy tents for your sale, and make sure you have weights to anchor them down at all four corners. In addition to this, buy two or three shower curtains and rings to attach to the back of the tents to provide added protection from wind and rain. The rings will clip along the upper tent poles perfectly, and the shower curtain can be clamped at the bottom corners to the tent legs. Works great!
  • Do you want to raffle an item off to make a little more money for your recipient? We raffled off a homemade quilted denim throw. Just be sure to have tickets and a ticket jar on hand!
  • Have a jar on hand for donations, and tape a picture of the recipient to it so buyers will know where their money is going. They may want to donate additional funds directly to the family, or a medical expense account. So be prepared with that information.
  • Round up however many tables you will need to display your culinary works of art!
  • Be sure to let the home bakers know how you want the foods packaged, and whether or not to price their items.
  • Be prepared with a money box and however much change you think you’ll need on hand. Many people start out with $50 in ones, fives and about $15 of that is in quarters.

Pricing or Not Pricing?

On the subject of pricing, initially we price-checked what pies, rolls, breads, cookies, etc were selling for at local grocery stores. We wanted a good idea of what the public would be willing to pay for the same items–of the homemade variety.  We asked our contributors not to price their items, thinking we would make up a pricing sheet or board that would cover everything in generalities. However…

The day before sale day, we decided–after much prayer and weighing out the pros and cons–to not price anything. Talk about a leap of faith, but we felt impressed that we needed to let the Lord pour out His blessings on this sale, and that pricing things would only limit our profits.

So we made it a “donation only” bake sale!

Sale Day Arrives! Drum Roll…

Okay. So we were ALL praying that God would give us great weather, right? Well, the local farmers must have been praying for rain, because the night before the bake sale the wind howled, the skies erupted and the rainwaters gushed! However, morning arrived and we loaded our Suburban full of baked goods in only a slight misting of damp! All the way to the bake sale, we watched the sky. Incredibly, it looked fairly clear above the city! We arrived at the Staples parking lot along with several other families, and got both of our canopy tents set up with no wind or rain or damp at all! God is SO good!

In fact, besides being chilly, the weather that whole morning was great! We had a ten or twenty minute shower mid-morning, but other than that, it was truly a miraculous answer to our prayers! We had two moms that really planned ahead for “miserable” weather, one brought a cooler of hot chocolate and cups (which we and our customers guzzled freely!) and the other brought a bag of ponchos for the kiddos out holding signs. She also brought a gigantic pot of hot chili, cheese and crackers for those of us working through the lunch hour! (I’m telling you, these ladies are the ones you want for friends when the going gets tough!)

Around 1 p.m. the wind came up, and the radar was warning of major rain moving into the area by 2 p.m. Sure enough, it moved on in! Still we held out, and people stopped by, feeling sorry for us, I’m sure! Many of them told us they wouldn’t have stopped except for the children lining the sidewalks by the road.

Soon we caved into the weather around us and started tearing things down. We were cold, but happy! Off we went to a friend’s home to count money and see if the day had been the success we hoped for!

The End Result

bake sale 3Doing the bake sale on a donation basis made our job so easy. Most people didn’t ask for change, so we had them directly deposit their cash and checks into the donation jar we had on one of the bake sale tables. We did come prepared with change, but would have only needed maybe $20 worth of quarters, ones and fives at the most.

90% of our customers responded SO generously to our “donation” bake sale.  We had people buy $50 worth of foods, and pay for it with $150! One guy paid $30 for a pie…and the stories go on and on. Yes, some people got away with a steal, but the generosity of others more than covered those instances.

Our bake sale might have made $300-$400, had we priced every single thing. We were hoping to make $500 which would cover two chemo treatments for our friend with cancer.

But guess what? Back at the house after the sale, we just kept counting and recounting the money because we could hardly believe our eyes!

On a Friday, a day that everyone expected to be absolutely miserable (and indeed, it turned into an awful, miserable day after 2:30 p.m.)…God must have pulled out all the stops because we ended up making exactly $1,500!

Yes, $1,500! We immediately called our friend, the one we were raising funds for, and told her the good news. She was blown away. Finally she was able to speak and she said,

“I have 3 months of chemo left and $1500 is the exact amount I need to finish paying for them.”

Wow. Of course God knew this need, and knew how to meet it. It was our privilege to be His toolsl! Especially as many of us were a little bit skeptical about how much money we could make off of a bake sale in the first place.

In spite of our misgivings, we turned the end results over to God–weather, profits, getting a late start planning, etc. We decided ahead of time, no matter what happened, we would praise Him. And He sure blessed our socks off!

Luke 6:38 says,

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

That is sure truth to take to heart in times of need. Not necessarily referring to money, but also to love and service, and sharing whatever talents God has blessed you with. We all have something He wants to use for His glory!

And while you’re at it, NEVER underestimate God!