Thursday, November 30, 2006

A crazy day

Another "Life at our house" post. This is a copy of what I wrote in an e-mail card to a few people today. It is short and terse because they would only let me have 500 characters. (Sometimes I feel like I actually have 500 characters living in this house! :) )

Cats belong outside. Cleaned up two dumps in my room. Kittens are outside. Sarah says they have worms. Josiah called the shelter. John went on a potty strike. Made my bed w/ clean sheets; John wet it. Timmy not happy. Laundry, laundry, laundry. [Insert name of a friend] called to say she has lice. Checked everyone's heads. All clean so far. Need to scrub floors. Never got school done today. My devotions this morning: This is the day which the LORD hath made: let us be glad and rejoice in it. Psalm 118:25

Previously, Sarah had adopted a stray pregnant cat. BIG time mistake. After blessing us with four kittens, she and they infested us with fleas. Then the kittens proved they had worms. Josiah did research and found that fleas are worm carriers, perpetuating their life cycle. The whole cat family was taken to the shelter; mama last week and kittens today. Practically the girls' whole bedroom was infested, and had to be thoroughly cleaned and fumigated. All the bedding, all Sarah's clothes (she found out the kittens had slept in her dresser drawers), all had to be washed and dried in the dryer to be sure the eggs were killed. I lost count of how many times we gave the kittens flea baths. And they would NOT use the litter box! We put them in; they ate the litter. Then made messes all over the house.

I had a sinking feeling when we found out about the lice. AND a feeling of HUGE relief to find we didn't have any!!!! I have had enough extra laundry for a while. Tomorrow we are going to scrub all the floors. All this is why the first thing I did when we got this house was to rip out all the carpet.

All the children have gone to bed. I am going to sit and crochet in peace so my mind can relax before I go to bed myself.

Really, I can laugh about this. A little. Maybe a chuckle or two. A sense of humor, after all, is mandatory at this house.



June 1986 -- First date and its aftermath (Part Five)

I was eating supper with my parents one Wednesday evening when the phone rang. Somehow I knew who it was, and thought it would be better if I answered it. I really can't remember much of the conversation (which lasted maybe ten minutes), but I distinctly remember the exchange between my parents:

Dad: "Who's she talking to?"

Mom: "I think it's Tom."

Dad: "What's he calling her for?"

What Mom's answer was, I can't remember. Tom asked me out for that Friday night, and we agreed not to tell Mr. Bill what we were doing, just to get back for all his pestering! That Friday we went to Dairy Queen. I got an Oreo blizzard, and he got a raspberry shake. I found out later that he's not really all that wild about ice cream, but we were pretty limited on restaurant choices since we didn't want a full meal.

Two things stand out in my memory:

1. I wanted to verify his age and tell him mine without actually coming right out and saying, "I'm 20. How old are you?" By this time I didn't care, but I wondered if he would.

2. While waiting in line for our order, I saw a woman who was part of the faculty at my high school. She said hi and glanced significantly at Tom. I said hi, but did not introduce Tom. I felt this was rather rude of me, but I didn't know what to say about him. He wasn't exactly my boyfriend, but if I said, "This is my friend, Tom," she would probably assume he was my boyfriend. So I just didn't say anything.

That night, I went to bed thinking, "I just went out with the man who will be my husband."

The next morning I listened to a tape with a song called, "Except the Lord build the house." Suddenly I wasn't so sure, and thought I had better make sure this thing was of the Lord. My mom had planned to have Tom over with Mr. Bill's family, for Sunday dinner. I really didn't know what to do or how to act. I started feeling pressured, and needed time and space to think.

My brother and his wife-to-be were in for a visit, so that took some of the attention off me. In church that morning, I managed to avoid Tom by surrounding myself with all my "little sisters"--a small group of young girls in our church who looked to me as sort of a mentor. I sat with them during the service, and spent extra time talking with them afterward.

At home it was harder. I decided the best course of action was to make myself undesirable and unavailable. I changed into an old pair of jeans, an old plaid shirt, and went barefoot. When our guests arrived, I took the kids down to the creek that ran through the woods behind our house. I was trying to get away from Tom, but he followed us! I was a bit irritated by this, and refused to speak to him for the rest of the afternoon.

After our guests left, my brother says to me, "Well, I guess that's over," referring to my "friendship" with Tom. That wasn't what I had in mind! I suddenly saw how rude I had been, so I asked my parents if I could call him, and arrange to talk to him before the evening service.

Later, I found out that Tom had taken the hint, and decided not to push it with me. He thought I didn't want to have anything to do with him anymore, and was quite a bit disappointed and hurt. So when I called him, I unconsciously gave him back his hope, and he agreed to talk.

We went for a walk, and talked things over. I apologized for giving him the cold shoulder, explaining that I felt pressured into something I wasn't ready for, and felt things were happening too fast. He replied that there would be no pressure, that he just wanted to get to know me as friends. At that, my heart sort of sank, and I realized that I wanted to be more than friends.

Oh, how fickle we females can be! I didn't want to even consider him at first. Then I liked him, and wondered if he would like me. Then I "knew" he was the man for me, for life. Then I didn't want to be anywhere near him. Then I only wanted to be friends, but when he said friends was fine, I suddenly wanted more! I was all mixed up, and didn't know what to do, or say, or think. So it was with a sense of relief that I went away for a week to visit my aunt's family.

to be continued. . .

Monday, November 27, 2006

June 1986 -- The conspiracy (Part Four)

Despite Tom's longing for a wife, he wasn't seriously looking for one. He'd been turned down too many times and just didn't want to risk it anymore. A lot of people looking on resented Mr. Bill's intrusion on our private lives. They said it wasn't his business, but I believe the hand of God was in this. Neither one of us would have done a thing to get this romance going without Mr. Bill nudging us along. So the conspiracy began.

Mr. Bill began talking to Tom about my virtues, but Tom was a bit hesitant. He knew I was much younger, and really didn't think I'd go for him. On that work day at the camp, he was looking me over in a wistful, I'll-never-get-her sort of way, and I was looking him over in a wistful, he'll-never-be-interested-in-me sort of way. Mr. Bill and his wife were looking at us both and plotting ways to get us together. Here are some of the ways they did that:

**They took me to see Tom's bookstore in Ohio. I got the grand tour, including the basement apartment Tom used to live in, and the upstairs apartment where he lived at that time. Mr. Bill's wife remarked that she had never seen the apartment so clean before. I thought the place was terribly dusty, and that the man needed a wife. Tom watched me work a little puzzle he'd been working on for months--one of those puzzles where you have to arrange small objects that are enclosed in a clear plastic box, by moving the box around to slide the objects into place. I solved it in a matter of minutes, put the thing down, and moved on. He was stunned.

**They took me to Tom's church, where he was to teach the adult Sunday school class for one Sunday morning. But first, they took us both to the store to buy Tom's first tie. He'd always worn jeans and flannel shirts to church before, but they told him he'd need a dress shirt and tie to teach the class. He didn't have one, so Mr. Bill's wife and I picked one out for him. After church that day, we went to dinner at the pastor's house. I was sitting out on the porch talking to the pastor's two kids when Tom came out and sat down on the other side of the door from me. In a few minutes, both kids sort of disappeared, leaving Tom and me alone. I am convinced their parents somehow had a part in this, since they were just as eager as Mr. Bill and his wife to see us get together. We found out later that while we were awkwardly trying to make conversation, the four of them were inside discussing us.

**They took us to dinner at a steak house restaurant. They also arranged the seating so that Tom and I sat next to each other. When Tom shook the steak sauce bottle before using it, the lid flew off and he shook steak sauce all over me! Poor Tom was badly embarrassed, but I just laughed it off. Of course, Mr. Bill and his family thought it was hilarious.

Through these and other similar outings, Mr. Bill helped us get to know each other. But he couldn't keep nudging us forever! So he says to me, "If Tom asked you out, would you go with him?" I answered that I would, but that Tom would have to do the asking. I was not going to initiate things myself. So then the following phone conversation took place between Mr. Bill and Tom:

"Why don't you ask Cathy out?"

"I don't think she'd go with me."

"I think she would. Just ask her."

"Oh, I don't know."

"You're going to have to ask her yourself, though. She's an old-fashioned kind of girl, and isn't going to ask you herself."

"Well, maybe I will. I'll think about it."

"Do you have her phone number?"

"Probably. I'll see."

"Here it is. Write it down."

So Tom wrote it down. But it took him a few days to get his courage up.

to be continued. . .

Saturday, November 25, 2006

May, 1986 (Part Three)

I realize that this is a holiday weekend in the States, so if you haven't been here since Wednesday, you'll want to scroll down a bit to get to the beginning of this story. Or click on "My courtship and marriage" in the sidebar.

In May, 1986, some major things were settled in my life. First, God convicted me about not being baptized. My pastor in Indiana (where I was attending college) was willing to do this, but I knew I needed to take care of this in my home church. You can read about that in my testimony.

The second major thing is more relevant to this story: God finally gave me the peace and assurance that I was to quit college. I had been waiting for this for a long time. He made it clear to me that I was to go home, live with my parents, and wait till He brought to me the man He wanted me to marry. I could almost feel a weight being lifted off my shoulders as I packed my bags and went home. Such a relief! Now to break the news to my dad.

Actually, my dad took it well. (My mom often says that if I tell him something, he listens. I guess that's one of the benefits of being the baby in the family. ;) ) He really didn't have a big problem with my staying home and working with them in the ministry. He was seriously considering moving and taking the pastorate of another church, and was glad that I was willing to go along.

Word got out that I was not going back to college, and one morning I had visitors. Remember those friends Tom would visit, the ones who were caretakers of the camp? Well there they were. And they didn't waste time with small talk. They were a couple on a mission. As I poured water for them to drink, Mr. Bill started in:

"We heard you were quitting college."

"Yes," I answered.

"We want to know why. People are saying things, but we thought we'd get it straight from you."

Well, I appreciated that. Nothing beats gossip like going to the source. I told them that God wanted me to stay home and wait till He brought me the man He wanted me to marry.

"Well, we've got one for you."

Right away I knew who they were talking about--Tom. I smiled, shook my head, and said, "No, thanks. I don't think so."

Mr. Bill wasn't ready to give up yet. He said, "We're having a workday at the camp this Saturday. Tom will be there. Why don't you come and just look him over, and see what happens?"

Great, I thought. I had already planned to be there. Now the day would be ruined by these two people trying to set something up for us. I just knew they'd be watching us. ARRGGG!

The day came, and I managed to stay far enough away from the men so that I didn't even see Tom. Until lunch time. Mr. Bill's wife sent me out to tell the men lunch was ready. I walked into the area where they were working, and the first person I saw was Tom. Our eyes met as I told them lunch was ready. Then I tried to go back to being my normal self, but it was too late. Something had changed, and nothing would ever be the same. I was looking at a completely different Tom Newton than the one I had seen the year before.

He had grown a beard, he had a pleasant face, and I noticed his eyes were blue. I was hooked.

to be continued. . .

Friday, November 24, 2006

Name change

After several months of deliberation, I have decided to come out from hiding behind a screen name. From henceforth and forevermore, I will now be known in the blogworld as I am in the real world by my real name: Cathy.

"Pearl" came from my middle name, Margaret, which means "pearl." I chose to use an alias when I first started blogging because at that time I only knew two people who blogged, and that's what they did. I thought that's what all bloggers did. As time went on, however, I found that more of the bloggers that I knew used their real names. So I've decided that's what I'll do, also. I feel more honest that way, especially since I have been using my husband's and children's real names. I hate to have everyone think that Pastor Tom Newton of Calvary Baptist Church in Ontario is married to someone named "Pearl" when my real name is Cathy!


Summer, 1985 (Part Two)

I had just come home for the summer, after my first full year of college. I had learned by sad, sorry experience that there are guys who just want to use you, who don't know what "commitment" means, who just want a good time, and who dump you for no other reason than that they are done with you and want to move on. I was through "looking." I had never heard of the courtship ideals that are currently sweeping through today's youth culture, but I knew there had to be a better way.

I never really wanted to go to college. All the focus of my childhood dreams and aspirations centered on my longing to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. Those desires only intensified during my college years. I was in training for a career in teaching, when all I really wanted was to be the mistress of my own home, serving God along side a man whose one desire would be to serve God in full-time ministry. During my first three semesters of college, I tried--and was burned by--the dating scene. I decided that college, for me, was no place to find a husband. Granted, many good marriages have had their beginnings in some college or university, but that wasn't the way mine was going to start.

So one Sunday afternoon, there I sat on the floor of my bedroom, making a list of all the characteristics I was looking for in a husband. When I was finished, I put the spiral-bound steno pad away in a box and went for a walk. To this day I think I could tell you which hill I was climbing as I prayed, "Lord, I'm through looking for a husband. You bring to me the one You want me to have."

I continued to walk and pray until I reached the grounds of Camp Maranatha, the church camp in western Pennsylvania where I had spent all my summers from the time I was eleven years old, either as a camper or a kitchen worker. I loved that place! It was seven miles from my house, but I walked or rode my bike there often. On this particular Sunday afternoon, I walked into the caretakers' house to visit. The family living there were members of our church. They were from Ohio, and had a friend from Ohio visiting with them that afternoon. I walked into their living room, and the first person I saw was this friend of their's, named Tom Newton. Immediately, my first thought was, "No, Lord. Not him."

Tom Newton grew up in Ohio, in what he calls a totally pagan home. (I've told him he can't call it that anymore, since paganism today refers to a form of neo-witchcraft.) His was a family that not only knew not God, but were totally antagonistic toward even the idea of ever knowing God. The Newton name was well known in that area -- the whole lot of them were blasphemous drunkards and proud of it. Tom's chief goal in life was to be a rock star, so off he went to the WonderWorld of Los Angeles with dreams of making it big. He and his best friend aspired to be none other than the next Black Sabbath, with all their fame, fortune, and immorality.

You can read Tom's testimony here. God put a stop to all that, saved Tom out of all that muck and mire, set his feet upon the Rock of Christ, and established his goings. Now he was back in Ohio, co-owner of a Christian book store called "The Old-Time Gospel Bookstore," single, and longing for a wife. But there was something wrong here. God called upon him to do a certain thing which he determined never to do. Like Jonah of old, he turned from God and went in the opposite direction. He departed from the faith and wrote himself off as an infidel who had committed the unpardonable sin. Plunged into deep spiritual depression, he went through life hopelessly, wanting to die, yet being afraid to die.

You can't live that way very long without it showing on your countenance. Tom did not look good at all. This is what I somehow sensed when I saw him on my friends' couch that Sunday afternoon, and this is why I wanted nothing to do with him. Besides, he was too old--29, and I was 19.

So when I said, "No, Lord. Not him," I think He said, "Just you wait. I'm not finished with him yet. You go away for another year, and leave him to Me." Of course, God didn't say that out loud. I don't think I would have listened if He had. There were too many other fish in the sea.

Anyway, I went back to college that fall, and Tom went back to whatever. But he kept coming back to his friends' house, and attending my church, where my dad was the pastor. I was plodding impatiently along in college in Tennessee and later Indiana while my mom had Tom and his friends over for Sunday dinners. While I was struggling with pretending to be a good student when all I wanted was to get away from schooling altogether, my dad was patiently working with Tom, slowly bringing him out of his depression, never dreaming that he was counseling the man who would one day be the father of nine of his grandchildren.

More in the next post.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

20 years (Part One of My courtship and marriage)

Psalm 126
A Song of degrees.
When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion,
we were like them that dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter,
and our tongue with singing:
then said they among the heathen,
The LORD hath done great things for them.
The LORD hath done great things for us;
whereof we are glad.
Turn again our captivity, O LORD,
as the streams in the south.
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
He that goeth forth and weepeth,
bearing precious seed,
shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
bringing his sheaves with him.

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. It is also my wedding anniversary. Tom and I were married on Thanksgiving Day, 1986. Since then we have completely ignored the actually date (which was November 27) and celebrated our anniversary on Thanksgiving Day. It is truly a day to give thanks to God for his unspeakable grace in our lives.

The Psalm above was read at our wedding. The week we were engaged, Pastor David Dickerson preached from this psalm at Maranatha, a Christian camp in western Pennsylvania where Tom and I met. Since then that Psalm has meant a lot to us. I'll explain why in the next post, when I tell you about events leading up to our courtship.

I'll also try to have some pictures from twenty years ago, as soon as I can find the box the photo albums are packed in. I had the children looking for it yesterday, but no one could find it. I was going to look for it myself today, but Tom just informed me that I am to pack my overnight bags; we are leaving as soon as he gets the van ready. I have no idea where we are going.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

More blog changes

I am still playing around with betablogger. I have applied labels to all my posts, so that now you can read them by category. I hope this is helpful. The list of categories is on the sidebar.


Oh, be careful, little mouth, what you say

". . .not false accusers. . ." (Titus 2:3).

One of the earliest Sunday school songs I can remember from my childhood has a verse that goes like this:

Oh, be careful, little mouth, what you say,
Oh, be careful, little mouth, what you say,
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love,
So be careful, little mouth, what you say.

(Other verses talk about what our ears hear, what our minds think, what our hands do, what our eyes see, where our feet go, and what our hearts love.)

Later, when we children were older and talked on the phone a lot, my mother posted these questions next to the phone:

Is it kind?
Is it true?
Is it necessary?

The phrase "false accusers" in Titus 2:3 comes from the Greek word diabolos, the name given to Satan. In fact, almost every time this word is used in the Greek New Testament, it is translated devil. Only three times is this word used to describe humans. Ladies, you're not going to like this, but two out of three times, this word is used to describe female humans. The third time is found in 2 Timothy 3:3 in a list that generally describes the human race during the "perilous times" of the "last days." Look that up some time and study it out. It is a sobering passage.

Right now let's look at the two times diabolos is used to describe women--or rather, what godly women should not be.

Titus 2:3, the verse that lists the characteristics of godly older women, says that we are not to be false accusers.

1 Timothy 3:11, the verse that lists the characteristics of deacons' wives, says that they are not to be slanderers.

False accusers, slanderers. Or as one pastor put it, "full of the devil." Why such strong terminology? Have you ever been in a church where the women gossiped? I have. It is not a pretty sight. I wonder if any sin of the church, especially among the ladies, grieves the Holy Spirit more. And guess when Christian women gossip the most? When sharing prayer requests. It generally goes like this:

"Pray for so-and-so. Did you know she. . .?"

"*Gasp* No! When did that happen?"

"Well, remember when. . .?"

And on it goes. Or they gossip when they're praying. If you listen carefully, you can tell the difference between when someone is really praying and when they are actually informing the listeners of a particular turn of events.

So how do we gain the victory over this sin? I just read the most triumphant passage. Here it is, with the literal meanings of certain Greek words in brackets:

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent [artfully malicious person], called the Devil [false accuser], and Satan [the accuser], which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser [complainant at law] of our brethren is cast down, which accused [brought charges against] them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
(Revelation 12:7-11).

Does that not just bring a thrill to your soul? I read that, and I just wanted to shout! I mean, here's this battle going on in heaven. It starts out as a court case with Satan bringing charges against us day and night. He just never stops accusing us of this, that, and the other thing. Finally it all comes to a head and a war breaks out. But Satan and all his demons cannot prevail. Michael and his angels win, and the Enemy is cast out, and I can just imagine all heaven bursting out with cheers of "GLORY TO GOD!!!!" The pandemonium when the home team wins the World Series would not even come close. You would have to magnify that by about a billion times.

So how'd they do it? What were their weapons? What was their tactic?

1. By the blood of the Lamb. When we lived in the South, an oft-repeated phrase in prayer was "I plead the blood of Christ." You know in your heart that what Satan is accusing you of just might be true. You DID commit that sin. You KNOW you're guilty. BUT it's under the blood. "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). So when Satan accuses us before the Father, He says there's no sin there. All He sees is the blood of His Son.

2. By the word of their testimony. Because the Lamb shed His blood for us, we are worshippers of Him. He helps us to remain faithful to Him, thus making Satan's accusations meaningless. "Yes, I did commit that sin. But Christ shed His blood for me, and now I'm following Him, and Him alone."

3. And they loved not their lives unto the death. They loved the praise of God more than their own lives, more than the glory of man. Read John 12:43, Matthew 10:32-39, and Mark 8:34-37.

So how does this apply to overcoming gossip?

1. Plead the blood. Ask Christ to cleanse you of the sin of gossip. Remember the work that He did for you on the cross. Would you trample that work and grieve the Lover of your soul by continuing in this sin? Further, if you are continuing in this sin, might that not be a sign that He has not saved you? Read 1 John 2:4-6.

2. Abide in Christ. The word Christian means "follower of Christ." Has Christ led you to gossip or to love? Read John 13:34-35; Proverbs 10:12; and 1 Peter 4:8.

3. Apply the J-O-Y rule: Put Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Matthew 22:37-39).


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Changes and additions

I upgraded to beta blogger, and am having fun with this new, easier way of doing things. The picture for my profile will probably change now and then. I couldn't find where my son Josiah put my picture on my computer. I'm hoping to put it there eventually, and also have some of my children now and then. Currently I have a huge cherry tree there. Yes, cherry tree. The kind they make furniture with. One of my sons took that picture when we went on a hike in the Gateneau mountains in Quebec.

The first addition is a young girl named Christy. She has a blog called Long Journey, which has made good reading so far. She reminds me of Esther Ellis, and is another encouragement to me.

The second addition is a young girl named Bethany. She must have moved to Texas sometime after we left, because I did not have the pleasure of meeting her family. Nevertheless, I have enjoyed reading her blog and getting to know her that way. Her blog is called Psalm 37-4.

I have been praying that God will raise up godly young people who will sell out to Him and seek to change their world by obeying Him and letting their light so shine (Matthew 5:16). These two girls are trying to do just that. I hope you will join me in praying for them and other young people you know. This world seems to get darker and darker. They are not going to have it easy in the years to come. May God give them grace to go boldly forth in the power of His might.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

For my friend who is struggling

Here is a song that has helped me many times.

Until That Final Day

My flesh is tired of seeking God,
But on my knees I'll stay.
I want to be a pleasing child,
Until that final day.

My mind is full of many thoughts
That clutter and confuse.
But standing firm, I will prevail,
In faith that I'll be used.

Amen! I'm asking once again.
Won't you help me my friend, Lord Jesus.
Holy Lord Spirit, set us free,
From chains we cannot see,
Come release us.

I wrestle not with flesh and blood,
My fight is with the one,
Who lost the keys of hell and death,
To God's most precious son.

One sleepless night of anguished prayer,
I triumphed over sin.
One battle in the Holy war,
God's promised me to win.

Amen! I'm asking once again.
Won't you help me my friend, Lord Jesus.
Holy Lord Spirit, set us free,
From chains we cannot see,
Come release us.

My flesh is tired of seeking God,
But on my knees I'll stay.
I want to be a pleasing child,
Until that final day.
--Keith Green

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Troubling times

I don't usually use this blog to comment on specific news items that reflect the state of affairs in our world today. I generally leave that to my brother-in-Christ, Rand. Somehow it seems to me more of a "man" thing to do. However, this time I am going to say something, and apply it to how we as godly women need to be ever watchful. First, a couple of passages to keep in mind:

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, . . .having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 3:1, 2, 5-7 It was hard to know where to jump in here. You would do well to read this passage in its context; in fact, you would do even better to study the entire book of 2 Timothy.).

"And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few" (Acts 17:10-12 This is probably one of my most favourite passages.).

In the first passage, "silly women" refers to foolish women who are under the burden of sin, but lack the spiritual maturity to deal with it properly. Their consciences are bothered, and, as one commentator puts it, "a bad conscience leads easily to shipwreck of faith" because they more readily follow anyone who makes them feel better.

However, the second passage clearly states that we MUST examine the Scriptures to make sure that we are being told the truth. As women, "weaker vessels" (1 Peter 3:7), we are prone to fall prey more easily to seducing spirits. Remember that Eve was deceived--and that Satan knew full well what he was doing in choosing to coming to Eve, not Adam.

I can't stress enough the importance of women being students of the Word of God. We MUST study the Word diligently, daily, lest we be deceived.

Not long ago, I began an exchange of words on a popular forum. This exchange did not last long, as I soon realized that I was dealing with highly opinionated people who delighted in expounding their views purely for the enjoyment they got from arguing. However, in the process of this exchange, I uncovered a disturbing state of affairs.

The discussion revolved around the role of women in the church--should they teach, or not? If they teach, what should they teach, and to whom? And should they use the Bible when they teach? Is there a place for women's Bible study? If so, who should teach it?

Here is what I found disturbing: several women adamantly opposed women's Bible studies of any kind. They asserted that if women did get together for this purpose, the study should be taught by the men of the church, preferably the pastor, as women have no business teaching the Word, even to other women. They said that older women should teach younger women practical homemaking skills such as sewing and child care. My response was to go to Titus 2:3-5 and show that this passage is mostly about teaching right attitudes, not skills, and that Pastor Titus was exhorted to have the older women teach this, not to teach it himself. I asked, "How can we teach holiness and proper heart attitudes without going to the Scriptures?" In response, I was challenged to "try it and find out."

These are the kind of women who would be easily seduced into believing all sorts of false doctrine. And the pastors who insist on teaching the women's Bible studies are just the sort of men who would do the seducing.

This whole post is the result of my doing a little bit of research into the background of Dr. Leith Anderson, who was chosen to temporarily replace Ted Haggard as interim president of the NAE. That research led me to this and this, which is just the insidious sort of evil that would appeal to silly women, but which Dr. Anderson endorses, and this and this, which expose it for the New Age practice that it is.

Sisters, beware! These are signs of the times. The church is apostasizing before our very eyes. You that are reading this in the United States, be very wary of "Christian" conservatives who have a political agenda. Don't be fooled by their lies.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

This gets personal

Pride. It crops up everywhere, sneaking up on me, taking me by surprise. Just when I think I have a handle on things, here comes pride to knock me flat.

There came a point in time this summer when I determined to pray and fast for a particular purpose. Fasting is supposed to be a secret thing, and, to some extent, so is prayer. As a nursing mother, I can't fast completely, so I decided to fast all foods containing any sort of refined sugar or yeast. That meant no breads or sweet stuffs. I didn't make a big announcement about this, except that my family knew about it. I didn't want to make a big deal out of it, I just wanted to be able to fast in some way.

When you go off sugar, however, something happens to you physically. You lose weight, for one thing. You also begin to feel better, you get healthier, you have more energy, and you even have some improvement in your attitude and overall outlook on life. This last benefit is especially enhanced by increased time spent in prayer. None of this physical stuff goes unnoticed, which kind of brings your fast out into the open.

People noticed that I had lost weight, and that I looked better. You can't lose 30 pounds or so in 3 months and keep that a secret! I hadn't counted on that. And there was no red flag anywhere warning me that this was a test of my humility. All I knew was that I was suddenly wide awake at 4:30 every morning, able to pray and read my Bible, and I was enjoying getting closer to God. I was getting consistent with it, too. It wasn't hit-and-miss any more, some days praying, some days not. This was an every day thing that I hadn't really been able to achieve before.

But gradually there came a change in my thinking. Instead of looking at, say, a brownie, and thinking, "No, I'm fasting to pray for [insert reason]," I would look at the brownie and think, "No, I'm really excited about this weight loss thing that I've never been able to accomplish before. And, oh, yeah. There is that business of praying for [insert original reason]."

I also had grandiose dreams of God moving in revival in response to my prayer and fasting. I mean, we read about these people who prayed all night, fasted regularly, etc., and then God moved in revival. Why couldn't I be one of those spiritual prayer warriors that people would read about 100 years from now?

Why didn't I think of 1 Corinthians 10:12 then?

It wasn't long before I recognized the pride creeping in. Then it was like I was caught in a trap. I figured I'd better stop drawing attention to myself, so I didn't tell anyone what was happening. Well, then, how do I ask for help? Because I really didn't know how to handle this. It was hard to even pray about it. The fast had become a mockery, and I eventually gave it up. I casually mentioned to people that I wasn't abstaining from sugar anymore, but was just taking it in moderation. Hah! If you were the proverbial fly on the wall in my house, you'd know almost right away that the sin of gluttony afflicts me.

Before long I wasn't praying anymore. It was just too hard to get out of bed in the morning. Oh, I wanted to pray, it was just too hard. Then I didn't want to pray. But yet I did want to pray! You know how it is, ". . .the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would" (Galatians 5:17). In this sort of battle, you know who wins? The one you listen to most. I was listening to the flesh.

We know a pastor in Texas who has his sermons on Sermon Audio. Last Sunday I was home sick, and decided to listen to some of his sermons. Later I e-mailed him. He e-mailed back, saying he was glad to hear from me, that he'd been thinking about us, and wondered how we were doing. You see, my husband has had this passion for revival for a long time. Every where we've lived, other people have seen this passion and been affected by it in some way. This pastor in Texas is one of those people. He says that he thinks God is beginning to work in their midst down there, and wonders if it is the beginning of a true revival from God. And, like others, when he thought of revival, he thought of my husband. So he asked what God was doing here in our little part of Canada.

I began to e-mail him back, telling some of what's been going on here. I soon began to weep. I suddenly remembered what this summer had been all about. How could I have given it up so easily? How could I have grieved my Lord this way? Oh, the grace that was shed upon Peter! Oh, the same grace that has been shed upon me!

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not. . ." (Luke 22:31-32).

"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41).

"He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. . ." (John 21:17).

"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Why am I sharing all this with you? For a couple of reasons.

First, there are people I care about deeply who read this blog--family members, friends who live far away, people in our mission works in Ottawa and Quebec City. I wanted all you guys to know what the Lord has been doing in my life, and to ask you to keep praying for me.

The second reason is that I am really tired of being put on a pedestal just because I have nine children who are all homeschooled. I am flesh and blood. I fail many more times than I would ever want to admit. Stop being awed by me. Be awed by God.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

The insidious nature of pride

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:12-13).

The word insidious comes from a Latin word insidiae which means "ambush." The idea is that a certain thing is gradually and subtilly harmful. It sneaks up on you and takes you by surprise. Thus pride is addressed in 1 Corinthians 10:12. You think you're doing okay? You think you're standing firm? Look out! You're just about to fall. The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about pride:

"When pride cometh, then cometh shame; but with the lowly is wisdom" (11:12).

"Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (16:18).

"A man's pride shall bring him low; but he that is of a lowly spirit shall obtain honor" (29:23).

But 1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds us that there is a way of escape, if only we will avail ourselves of it. Again, the verses in Proverbs tell us what that escape is--a lowly spirit. Here are some other verses:

". . .he giveth grace to the lowly" (Proverbs 3:34).

"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore the scripture saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble" (James 4:6).

". . .God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time" (1 Peter 5:5-6).

More on this in the next post.