Friday, April 29, 2011

Sidewalk Prophets - You Loved Me Anyway

Evanġeliku: Deep in Church History

Evanġeliku: Deep in Church History: "(Gospel e-Letter - May 2011) John Henry Newman wrote, ‘To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.’ Does this often quoted stat..."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Before the throne of God above by "SELAH"

Our worship group sang this on Sunday, and I was up there singing with them. This message of the Great High Priest who stands at the right hand of the Father as my advocate and defender against the accuser, is one that should not be so hard to remember, since I love the book of Hebrews so much. This verse is so good:
"When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me."


After getting through the fear (and inertia) that kept me from trying to sing with our church worship group, I have been enjoying singing and haven't felt very nervous up there. However, I knew that I would still have a problem with my other nemesis: pride. Even though I'm timid, I'm also vain and proud and like to show off, so now just when I really long to express praise and love, I don't feel it.

I'm also still dealing with the fallout in my spirit and heart from the struggle I described here. Even though I stepped out to obey God in joining the worship team, the enemy has me discouraged and feeling like I can't ever get back to where I should be. I'm hoping that's just a lie, and I can do as David prayed in Psalm 51:
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.

This passage is also my prayer: Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

I need to spend time in prayer and have others pray for me about this too.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Resurrection's Promise: Pastor Bob Burridge

Pastor Bob Burridge has a new post up about the significance of the Resurrection.
Here's the intro:

There are good reasons to celebrate at this time of the year. Easter is a day we all enjoy, but it isn’t a holiday set up in the Bible. It’s a blending of the resurrection of Jesus with holidays and traditions from different cultures, cults, and religions in various times and places.

Even the ancient pagan religions saw the beauty of Spring, and set a time to celebrate it. It’s a sad fact though that those still tragically lost in spiritual blindness miss appreciating God’s glory in it all. They see the amazing way things seem to come back to life after a long winter, but they miss what it’s telling us about the one who made it all and keeps it all working. So the ancients made up god’s and spirit beings they honored at that time of year. As the message of Christianity spread into the different parts of the world the Spring holidays were adjusted and brought together on what we call Easter.

In the time of Moses, the Passover feast was established around this time of the year on their calendar. It celebrated how God delivered Israel from hopeless captivity in Egypt.

God planned that feast to teach about the Savior who would come to die in their place. Just as a lamb died in place of the first born sons back in Egypt, Jesus, the Lamb of God, came to die in place of his people on the cross at Calvary. Then he rose again from the dead to prove that he accomplished what he came to do.

All the beauties of spring and the wonders of the promises of God come together this time of year. We love to hunt for baskets of candy, get together for a good dinner, come to worship, and most usually get a day off from school or work. However, Easter is more than a time for budding trees, warming temperatures, and new spring outfits.

Those who don’t have hope in Christ are left with just the celebration of Spring. There’s a lot to celebrate when we think of the resurrection of our Savior. The date doesn’t fit well into our calendar because it’s based on the date of Passover. The day after Jesus and his followers celebrated that biblical feast, our Savior was crucified. On the third day after that, on Sunday, the first day of the week on the Roman calendar, Jesus rose from the dead.

Please read the rest at the link above.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Captain of Our Salvation

Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:

“ I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”

13 And again:

“ I will put My trust in Him.”

And again:

“ Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”

14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Restored Hearts by Eileen Hinkle Rife: Book Review

Restored Hearts is the story of a young man's struggle with homosexuality, but it could be anyone's story of the struggle against our inherited sinfulness and the brokenness brought about by disfunctional families, which can only be healed by the love of God and the love of His people. The author does a wonderful job of showing the process of healing, and the way that family members are interconnected so that they are each affected by disfunctionality, but respond to it in different ways. The members that seem to 'have it all together' have just as much need of healing and restoration as those that are more obviously troubled.
I love how the author related the struggle of the two brothers to the story of the prodigal son. This is so meaningful for everyone in the church, that we should love those that God loves, even though their sin condemns them. It's our job to show God's love along with sharing God's truth, not to act as judge. Only God has the right to condemn.

I highly recommend 'Restored Hearts' and I plan to go back and read the first book 'Journey to Judah' and the third book 'Chosen Ones', to find out more about the characters that I came to love in 'Restored Hearts'.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Question About Predestination

NOTE: update added at the end of this post!

In the comments under this post, Christine asked "I wonder what you think of this post by Triablogue:

I am always glad to remember that you are not a Calvinist, right?"

Me: Yes, you're right I'm not a Calvinist. I don't know if I'm an Arminian; I don't think so.
I think the author makes sense when he says the 'you' is what is being referred to by 'all' in that passage. But one verse doesn't make a doctrine. I think Calvinism is too cut-and-dried. There are too many things we don't and can't understand about this subject. I do believe the Bible teaches election and predestination, but I don't think we understand what it really means. There are too many pieces missing, and either God doesn't want us to understand it yet, or our unbelief prevents it. We tend to pick and choose and believe only the parts we want to.

Christine: Wow, I am totally confused by that answer, but thanks for the response.

Me: If you're confused because I agreed with the author of the blog post: just because that one verse seems to say that God is longsuffering toward us (or you) and is not willing that any of YOU should perish doesn't mean that God [wants] everyone else to perish. There are other passages that seem to say God doesn't want anyone to perish. Ezekiel 33:11 says: Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
And reading the whole chapter of 2 Peter 3, I's not clear that the 'you' only refers to believers, anyway. I don't know why Calvinists seem to have to stress so much that God doesn't want everyone to be saved. What's the point?

Me: In other words, even if I concede them their point here, it doesn't mean anything, because of the magnitude of the many scriptures that stress God's longsuffering and mercy and love toward the whole world.

Christine: OK, that helps. I'm wondering then, in what way do you believe in election and predestination? Just that God is able to foresee (of course) but does not foreordain, so that we can make truly free choices?

Me: That's a difficult question, but I'll try to answer it as soon as I can.

So, here goes. I'm going to just throw out some ideas and links here to help with this, because I myself always have to go back and study it again, since there is so much info. that I can't keep it straight.
One thing that occurs to me is that, for example, in 2 Peter 3:9, the passage used in the Triablogue article: Did God plan the Bible so that an unsaved person can read it and know that God is talking to him/her? The passage says God "is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." If someone reads this and thinks it is written for them, are they wrong? Should we tell them that is only written for believers? That would be terribly presumptuous, to say that God can't speak to whomever He wills through His word.

Following are some helpful web pages from my husband Eddie's Bible study website in which he discusses predestination and Calvinism. I agree with my husband on this issue, and also firmly believe that we should stick strictly to what Scripture DOES say, and not 'crystalize' our own extrapolations or conclusions as firm doctrine. There are many scriptures that contradict Calvinism.

I remember that in some of my earlier posts on Calvinism I've said that I think Calvinism is a 'false gospel' or 'false doctrine'. I've said that Calvinism takes doctrines from Scripture and then draws conclusions that contradict other scriptures,'crystalizing' things that should be left uncertain. I believe many Calvinists are believers. I also believe many Arminians are believers, and many Roman Catholics are believers, and many Methodists are believers, etc.. In other words, we know that many people that think they're saved, aren't saved, in all groups of Christians; but many are truly saved.

Even though we may look at certain groups or doctrines as 'heretical', the people in them can still be our brothers and sisters, and we need to love each one as such, and not condemn them. None of us is right about everything. There is a right doctrine that we all should strive to be united under, which is the Truth of Scripture. Maybe we shouldn't be so quick to think we're right and others are wrong, that's all, like Paul talked of in 1 Corinthians 1-3. Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

So, should people even be calling themselves 'Calvinsists' then, or sticking so exclusively to one man's doctrines? Are there not passages of Scripture that contradict Calvinist tenets, and should we work so hard to explain these passages away? I think there is something beyond all the seeming contradictions (which Arminians and Calvinists constantly argue over, so it can't be denied that they exist) which we can't understand outside of the commandment to love God with all our hearts, and our neighbor as ourselves.

All through Church history brothers have hated brothers for doctrinal differences, ignoring this greatest commandment. Being my father's daughter, and my husband's wife, I understand how important correct doctrine is, but love is the greatest doctrine for believers to remember. Not the slushy kind of love that ignores error, but the kind that doesn't puff itself up and push others down as 'heretics'. It's very hard to find that balance between Truth and Love, as history shows. I struggle with that balance in myself constantly. Another famous passage farther along in 1 Corinthians sums it up: And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Christine, I looked back at the comments again and realized I hadn't answered all your questions, except to say I agreed with my husband's teachings in the articles I referenced above. Your question was "I'm wondering then, in what way do you believe in election and predestination? Just that God is able to foresee (of course) but does not foreordain, so that we can make truly free choices?"
You also said: "It seems to me that Calvinists believe in election such that some people are destined for heaven aside from their choices, and some are destined not to go to heaven and therefore deprived of the choice."

I do believe God is able to foresee, and that He does foreordain many things. I also believe we can make truly free choices to accept or reject salvation; to obey or not obey; to sin or not to sin. I think it's possible that God has foreordained some things, like Judas's betrayal, and Paul's commission as Apostle; but that everyone's future is not set in stone. My husband explained his view, that we are predestined to walk in good works, but that we can choose not to walk in that planned path. Maybe each person's path is planned, but some choose not to accept God's gift, and so God's best plan doesn't come to pass for them. It's an idea.
In Romans 9 and 10, which speaks of predestination, it seems to be speaking of God's plan for Israel and for the salvation of the Gentiles. It may point more towards the church as a whole being saved because of Israel's rejection. Israel will be grafted in again later, though they were cut off for disobedience. I think that's in Romans 11. I don't think this subject will ever be settled, but I don't see the point of saying it's God's will for most people who ever lived to be sent to hell forever. I don't think that's true, nor do I believe that's what is going to happen. Even Charles Spurgeon believed or hoped that there would be more in heaven than in hell. I hope so too. In 1 Corinthians 15 it says "For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death." and "“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “ O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”"
I don't believe eternal death will claim the majority of people, though I do believe in judgment. I don't know if we understand correctly how long hell will last, or how many will be there. A thousand years or two of torment would certainly be fearful and horrible enough. There were Fathers that believed in Annihilation, and Fathers that believed in ages of torment, and Fathers that believed God would make us forget those in hell, so we wouldn't weep for them anymore. There are still people today who believe those different things. I don't know which is true. I hope for the best.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Launch Party at 'I Called Him Dancer'!!!

Eddie's official book launch is today! Please go to to read about the book, and to enter the 'Win A Kindle 3' Contest!!! There is no purchase necessary to enter, but you can get extra entries by blogging, reviewing the book, etc..
Also on Eddie's webpage today, you can request a free MP3 copy of the song that inspired the novel: Dancer written by Tralena Walker and Tom Webster. Also mentioned in the novel is their other song, 'I Know No Other Way'. This is also available as an MP3 on

'I Called Him Dancer' is available on Kindle for 99 cents, and in paperback for $10.88.

We are asking for as many people as possible to order the book on Amazon today to make it move up in the rankings and get lots of attention. The book is getting really good reviews. Thanks for helping!

When people see a breathtaking performance, it looks like natural, raw talent. The truth is, behind the performer is a long road filled with struggle, pain, and hardship. In front of every winner is a mountain of failure they must first climb and conquer. The greater the mountain, the sweeter the taste of success. Michael Camp was an award winning dancer.

For a moment, Michael danced on top of the world, but one bad choice turned his life upside down. The once promising Broadway star now washes windows for tips and lives among the homeless. When his former dance partner recognizes him behind the fray of whiskers, shame drives him away from her. Angry at God and the world, the Dancer refuses to allow anyone into his life.

Beyond his short-lived success, stands a valley of despair with terrain so rugged, his very life will hang in the balances. If he survives, the mountain awaits. It has been said, unless a seed falls into the ground and dies, it cannot blossom into life. Can Michael Camp trust enough to die, when life seems out of reach?

When everything is stripped away, three things remain: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love. I Called Him Dancer is a story about how one woman’s enduring faith and unconditional love drives her to reach out to a homeless man who has given up on life.

What readers are saying:

This book is a page turner from cover to cover, Eddie makes you feel like you actually know the characters in his book. - B. Tillman, OR.


Almost too good to put into words.'ll find yourself saying, "Just one more chapter". K. McNabney, IL


This book is a must read. Through this book the reader will learn about true love and the power it holds. T. Franklin, TX


I loved this book from cover to cover, the author makes you feel like you actually

know the characters in his book. T. Webster, VA

Monday, April 11, 2011

Reminder: Eddie's book launch tomorrow!

My husband Eddie's official book launch for his novel 'I Called Him Dancer' is tomorrow. We are asking everyone that wants to read it to order it tomorrow on so the numbers will go up and it will get lots of attention! It is available for Kindle for only $.99 for now. The book is getting very good reviews. I'll be announcing it again tomorrow.

P.S.: There will be a really good giveaway tomorrow on Eddie's website. I'll be announcing it in the morning!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Patricia Sprinkle: Hold Up the Sky: Book Review

Hold up the Sky

Patricia Sprinkle came to speak at our Christian Authors Guild spring conference a few weeks ago, and I went with my husband, who is the prez this year. Hearing Patricia speak and seeing what a good storyteller and communicator she is, I knew I wanted to read one of her many books. I picked Hold up the Sky, being more in the mood for a novel than a mystery, after Patricia described the plot to me. It is about 4 women who, through circumstances beyond their control, come together on a farm during a drought and end up canning vegetables in a hot kitchen, and also sharing memories and troubles as they preserve more than just food. It was right in line with my life right now, since I'm learning in our ladies' prayer group how good and necessary it is for women to share together and help each other in our struggles.
The book has so many good insights, many of which come directly from the mouths of the women characters as they share with each other. I loved Mamie's description of the love of God, and the emphasis on the sacrament of shared memories.

One aspect of the book that made me want to share it here is the interaction between Mamie, an elderly Baptist African American, and Emerita, a Roman Catholic Mexican immigrant who comes to town with her husband in need of a place to stay. The other two women are sisters who have run into trouble in their marriages. They all end up on a drought-ridden farm for the summer, and spend time together canning vegetables, trying to save and preserve the garden food. As I said, they end up preserving more than just food in the jars. Every jar represents a shared memory of intimate friendship.
I read the book entirely while on a 4 day cruise with my husband. The story was a page-turner; the characters became like close friends. I had a hard time putting it down, and I was sad when it ended. I hope to read more about the characters in the future. I highly recommend 'Hold Up the Sky'.

NOTE: Right now the paperback is on sale for $6.00 and the book is also available for Kindle.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Jennie, get a life

I'm sure ya'll have noticed I haven't been posting much lately. Here I explain one little part of why I've been absent. Don't know if I want to share this; it makes me feel vulnerable and ridiculous. I haven't shared it yet with the ladies' prayer group. Maybe I should, but I would feel like I needed a bag over my head; well, here goes. The Lord has been gently leading me, the timid and self-conscious one, toward being able to sing in our church services. He's been giving me the desire to show love to the body of Christ by singing. Singing brings healing, and praise brings the presence of God. I've always loved to sing, and I sang in youth chorus and in church choir when I was younger. I've always loved to listen to beautiful voices. When I was a child, I listened to Julie Andrews on my Mom's 'Sound of Music' soundtrack record, and as a young teen I listened to Luciano Pavaratti and Placido Domingo records. I love to listen to Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Sarah Brightman, Celine Dion, and others, from time to time.

I don't have a voice like that, but I have a nice voice, and the Lord has been showing me that it is to be used for Him. Two things have kept me from it. One is fear, but love for Him and for his people was casting that out. The second thing is a danger for all artistic people. Sensuality. King David was an artist, who loved beauty and was sensitive to the beauty of God. He also got distracted by the beauty of a woman because he was not where he should have been.

Since I've gotten interested in music again after being busy with other things for a long time, I have been listening to music on youtube alot: Contemporary Christian, and some classical singing, and celtic singing, etc.. I can't remember how I started listening to (and watching, since youtube is visual) some of the music I used to like in my college days. The difference is, in college I didn't watch the music, I just listened. I never watched MTV or music videos when I was young. I have always liked a few of Journey's love songs, but never knew much about the group and never saw photos or videos of them.

Here's where the big distraction came in. Not sensing the danger at first, I kept watching Steve Perry sing on youtube. He has an absolutely beautiful voice, which snagged me from the first. So I listened to the big voice instead of the still, small one. Not good. The problem was that the man looks as good as he sounds, and being human, and loving beauty, I pretty much got bowled over (Take my word for it, and DON'T go check it out). Didn't think it was possible; and didn't listen to the Lord; and here I was, almost not caring about what is really important any more.

Spring fever plays a part in my mood. Every year when spring comes there's a few days where I feel like I'm going to fly in pieces; took me this long to realize it's hormones. It must have been spring when King David was walking on that roof when he should have been at war. I obviously forgot to 'put on the armor of God', and that Christ said to 'Abide in Me'. I said before that I almost didn't care what is really important, but I do care, by the Lord's grace and mercy, so these passages are my prayer, especially this: Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.

1 John 1:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Psalm 51

1 Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.

5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

Lord, please lead me back in the way You want me to go, and help me to always care about what You care about (And You already know, I've deleted the Steve Perry videos from my favorites on youtube). BY THE TIME ANYONE READS THIS, I WILL HAVE SHARED THIS WITH MY HUSBAND, WHO, SINCE I WAS SITTING ON THE COUCH NEXT TO HIM MANY TIMES WHILE WATCHING YOUTUBE, PROBABLY WAS NOT UNSUSPECTING. (Yes, I am an idiot sometimes. Ya'll pray for me.) Also, Lord, please help me to be obedient by Your grace and do the things You have called me to do rather than shrinking back in fear or getting distracted by the idols of this world. Amen.
NOTE: You're probably thinking "Jennie, get a life!" Admit it, you are. Well, my husband took me on a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas last week, so I'm feeling a whole lot better now. :)
UPDATE: I received the courage to tell our worship leader that I've been praying about joining the worship team and/or singing solos, and he said I could join them for practice and that they'd be glad to have another female voice. I'm rather scared, but I feel better to have done what the Lord is directing. Maybe it will help keep me off of youtube ;)

Saturday, April 02, 2011

John Cullimore: Married for the money--something worth reading

John Cullimore of "And is your block of wood" has a great post to help Christians think about our love for God. Ow. Remember the greatest commandment?