Thursday Book Review: Susie

Have you ever awoken in the middle of the night so thirsty that you dragged yourself out of the comfort and warmth of your bed to get a glass of ice water? This book is as refreshing as that first drink! Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, Wife of Charles Spurgeon was written by Author and Pastor Ray Rhodes. This biography of Susie Spurgeon was published in September of last year by Moody Publishers.

Rhodes uses letters, autobiographies, journals, and books written by Charles, Susie, their children, friends, and family members to piece together this masterful work. It is, at the heart, a love story. Unlike the vomit worthy love stories of today, with sickly sweet, unrealistic characters filled with lust and obsession, Susie is a story of genuine, Godly love. The book begins with the end of their marriage, when Charles passes from death to life, leaving behind his adoring wife and twin sons. This first part alone is worth the price of the book, I had to set it aside and cry while explaining to my husband through the tears what was wrong. After this Rhodes gives a more clear picture of Susie’s childhood and young adulthood, contrasting it with Charles’. You can see the sovereign hand of God bringing the two together.

If you’ve read about, or watched a documentary on, Spurgeon’s ministry I promise you’ve not heard it with the level of detail brought out in this book. Rhodes takes you through their meeting, courtship, wedding, and marriage showing how Charles’ work effected each aspect. This is certainly Susie’s story, but no telling of her life would be right without giving the full picture of the difficulties and blessing unique to being a Pastors wife. You read their triumphs and their trials, their sickness and health, and their unwavering devotion to God and one another. Eventually, Rhodes takes you to Charles’ last days on earth, through Susie’s eyes. It will make you hug your spouse a little lot tighter! 36 years of marriage, that doesn’t seem nearly long enough for me. None of us are promised tomorrow, not even our spouses.

Lastly, Rhodes shows you the work Susie continued in her husbands absence. You’ll see her faithfulness, and cry alongside her as she struggles to honor the love of her life. You see her sons go on, becoming pastors as well. You see her final days, and the legacy she left behind her. This book is replete with the Gospel, with Biblical truth, with edification for pastors, husbands, wives, children, and friends. How do we help our Pastor, bless his wife, his children? How can we encourage one another when trials come, when pain comes? How can we share the Gospel with our children? This biography edifies in all these areas. I finished reading it, and immediately started it over again. Much like Pilgrims Progress, which it references many times, this book is a joy and a pleasure to read! I recommend it to all ages, all people, and particularly to ALL pastors wives. To all wives. To all husbands. Everyone should read this book, it’s that good. You can find the Kindle, Paperback, Hardback, and Audible copies all on Amazon here. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – Remind God of our Good Works?

Dear ones, this is going to be a quick and short refutation. Recently I heard, in a couple different circumstances, that when we face trials or our prayers have gone unanswered, we ought to remind God of all the good things we’ve done. Joel Osteen recommended this particular tactic for manipulating God into doing what you want. I doubt that he’s the first to suggest this, but seems to be the one popularizing it today. Others, such as Kenneth Copeland, have boldly proclaimed our ability to command God, and even said that he doesn’t ask but tells God what he wants. Both Copeland and Osteen come from the Word of Faith movement, though they take a different approach, it’s no surprise to see them aligned in a theological matter. This particular one just happens to be the ultimate height of pride and arrogance.

I couldn’t find a direct verse used to back this belief up, but it appears to be loosely based on James 2:18-22. This is one of those verses that frequently finds itself twisted to suit works based religions. It’s clear from the context, and a plain reading of the text, that James is simply explaining that there will be evidence of salvation in the heart of the believer. Those of us who have been given the gift of faith will have works, we will hate sin and love God, His commands, and His people. We don’t do good deeds as collateral for negotiations with our Lord and Savior. The very ability to do good deeds comes from God, as He graciously sanctifies us. He gives us love for one another, that is not something we are able to work in our own hearts.

Something that’s very important to understand in the WoF movement that makes these teachers so dangerous is their man centered theology. Faith is not a gift from God, it’s a force we wield at God. Good works are not an evidence of change within us, they’re points accumulated in a heavenly account to get money and health on earth. It’s not all of grace, it’s all of man. This teaching, that we should remind God of our good works, is the clearest example of this I’ve heard to date. Our righteousness, dear ones, is like rags, filthy rags. If you know the literal meaning of the word used in that verse you’ll know just how filthy without me having to write it. If we go before God to bring anyone’s good deeds to Him it ought only to be Christ’s. His righteousness is imputed unto us, that is why we are able to stand on the day of Judgement. If you’re going through a difficult time, consider that tremendous truth. Reject any idea of pointing to your own goodness. And as always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Mercy, Have Mercy!

The first hospital my husband worked at after finishing his degree was called Mercy, a hospital run by nuns. On top of the building is a huge cross that makes a complete turn once a day, and lights up at night. The employees jokingly called it merciless because of the work load, which was often so great that quality care and attention was hard to give each individual patient. That’s not a knock against this hospital, he’s worked all over the country and it’s the same to varying degrees everywhere. Mercy is no longer the purpose of major hospitals, in its place is the bottom line.

Most hospitals were started by churches, which is why so many bare their name. Originally it was a way to minister to the sick, to share God’s love and the Good News of the Gospel. In the same way that many of today’s most secular colleges were once beacons of Gods Word, hospitals have changed. Has our society changed? I don’t think so, dear ones. There has always been institutes built by believing hands to glorify our Lord. Yet, when they pass from death to life, others with different principles take their place. All the while the lost continue to be chained to their sins, in every generation. Whitfield was not only teased mercilessly for his appearance, he had pieces of a dead cat thrown at him. We can’t imagine anything that disgusting happening today, but our generation has its own besetting sins.

Poor Spurgeon was not only ridiculed by the media, but had a group of men run into where he was preaching to thousands and yell “fire” and “the buildings collapsing”. The panic that ensued caused the death of seven people, and many more were injured. Spurgeon never recovered from that merciless act, and was easily frightened until the day he died. The decided behavior of those who hate God might change from decade to decade, surely today the keyboard warriors take to their reddit accounts to mock and belittle us. I’d take that over dead cat parts any day, personally, and am often pleased to see such articles written against my own blog. They always include a link, which leads unbelievers that never would have found my tiny piece of blogosphere to the Gospel message!

What I’m trying to get out here in a round about way is that the mercy of believers must not waiver. Consider Thorpe, a member of the Hell-Fire club, who stood up in a bar full of drunk friends to mock Whitfield. They were having a contest to see who could mimic him best. Thorpe crosses his eyes, and put on his best Whitfield accent, then opened the pages of the Bible at random. “Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” As Thorpe read on he lost the accent and became deadly serious, he preached Gods Word in all sincerity, and the room full of hooligans became deathly silent. When he finished reading the text he closed the Bible and sat down, broken, humble, and soundly saved by Gods grace. What the devil meant for evil, God meant for good. Thorpe would go on to become a preacher himself, and would remain a fan of Whitfield’s.

Oh that we could see what great works God is doing, if we could see behind the screen of the angriest atheist! I had someone once tell me they cried themselves to sleep every night because they knew they were living in sin. I would have never taken that person as one to care at all about their sin, it certainly didn’t seem to bother them on the outside. This is why our mercy can not fail, we can not repay evil with evil, we can not answer the lost with angry words. We don’t pick up the cat parts and angrily toss them back. When Ray Comfort was being spit at repeatedly in Israel he didn’t return the favor, but laughingly dogged the spit and continued his message. From time to time we will lose heart, we will even lose our tempter, but we must not lose our mercy.

I’m amazed at the wickedness of my own heart, at how quickly I can forget that if not for the grace of God I’d be far worse. We have received so much mercy from our Lord, so much kindness, while we were yet sinners, yet sinners I say, He died for us. Even now, redeemed, free from the chains of sin and death, I do not deserve the love of God, nor in my best days. I often wonder why He didn’t save someone who was stronger willed. To be honest, I struggled to even make calls for a doctors appointment. My brain doesn’t work right, it mixes the words all up, it sends alarms of panic and fear at the sound of another voice answers the line. Even with the treatment I’ll receive, I’ll be less likely to poor bacon grease on myself, but it won’t fix the wires that misfire. Surely there was someone more eloquent, bold, and nuero-typical? I don’t understand why God saved a wretch like me, but I am eternally grateful. It’s that gratefulness which should lead us all to deeper mercy for the lost.

It’s Friday again, my friends, which means many of you will be home with friends, family, fellowship, and the random strangers you meet along the way. Be merciful to the lost, be merciful to the saved! Shower mercy upon your spouse, your children, and even your in-laws. They’re no more a sinner than we are, and in so doing we bring glory to our God. I hope this will encourage you all, it’s certainly a message I needed. As always, my dear beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Wednesday Testimony – Life in Prison

Way back in August of 2017 I shared the movie EXIT with you all. This is a LivingWaters production that specifically addresses suicide. The clip below is of a young man who is going to the Native American jails in South Dakota and sharing this video. In this clip you’ll see the prisoners walk in, sit down, and after the movie their facial expressions completely change. Some of them look hopeful, others look broken, and humble. I’ll be honest, I don’t like the ‘raise your hand’ thing but at least Matthew explained that raising your hand will not save them. What I love about this clip is that it shows the ability we have to use media in difficult situations. It’s often the case that jails won’t let you come in and just talk to a large group of men, or that those men won’t want to sit and listen to you talk. But a video is a treat, it’s something they don’t get everyday so they’re more likely to want to come and watch. We should be utilizing everything we have to share the Good News of the Gospel!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=poFslrL778Q&t=0s&list=PLIMAX6WHtnhAVtfHcR5ft68YqRs93RZ3A&index=2

We spend a lot of time in the Dakotas, we love it up here in the spring and summer. It’s really as beautiful as the video shows, especially down by Spearfish, the Badlands, or the Blackhills. It’s also true that there are some deep seeded racial tensions between the natives and white people. That is not a one way street, it’s mutual, and very sad. As Christians continue to reject Genesis it’s easier to forget that we’re one race, with differing levels of melanin in our skin. We all came from Adam and Eve, we all came from Noah and his wife. What this young man is doing is very brave, I hope you’ll all join me in praying for his work in the Dakotas. I pray this will encourage you all to go and share the Gospel, get tracts if your a nervous person, pray for strength and boldness, pray for one another. Hell, dear ones, is a real and terrible place, despite what Rob Bell might peddle in his latest books. We share our faith because Christ is the only way, truth, and life. No man comes to the Father but by the Son. As always, beloved friends, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Are Old Earther’s Really Saved?

Hello and happy Monday, dear ones! This is the day of the week that we usually dig into Creation Science, however today I want to discuss an issue that stems from that topic. It’s a very serious, and touchy subject, because it deals with salvation. What I want to address is the question of whether or not someone can believe in an earth that’s millions of years old, and still be a genuine believer. Let me start by asking you all to handle this topic, this post, and the writer with patience and mercy. I value all of your opinions more than I could express, so with a subject this debated let us pray for wisdom and grace before we continue.

So, then, the question I’m asking is whether or not you need to be a Young Earth Creationist to be a born again Christian. First, let me separate the camps with a bit of a broad brush for the sake of time. There are those who profess to be Christians who believe the Earth is younger than at least 10,000 years old. There’s some debate about whether or not the original math is correct, some say it’s 6,000 while others say 8,000 or 10,000. There are also professing Christians who believe the Earth is hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years old. There are Atheists and theists who believe in Young Earth evolution, they would be called Catastrophists as they are of the opinion that Evolution happened rapidly and the Earth has changed drastically due to catastrophic events. There are Muslim Creationists, and theist Creationists falling in young and old Earth categories.

In other words, this is not as black and white as the popular secular speakers, such as Dawkins, would have us believe. As my husband would say “clear as mud.” Thankfully, Gods Word makes our question today clear, regardless of the great variety of opinions. Can someone be genuinely saved if they’re not Young Earth Creationists? The very simple answer is, yes. Friends, we are saved by the grace of God through faith in Christ alone! Not through scientific or philosophical beliefs. I’m thankful for this, as I was certainly in the Young Earth Theist camp long before being saved, though I would have called myself a Christian. I believed a god created the Earth 6,000 years ago based on the scientific evidence. I just didn’t know the God of Creation! I know others who were saved by Gods grace, but had never considered the scientific side of the debate. It wasn’t that they didn’t care, but that they were dealing with other Biblical issues.

Can someone be unsaved that holds to a Biblical view of Creation? Of course, in fact I think you’ll find a couple of our more well known brothers in Christ entered into ministry or seminary before being born again. This is simply due to the fact that intellectual assent does not equal salvation. I had a good deal of knowledge about Creation Science, but I had no idea what the Gospel was or why Christ needed to die. There are others who hear the Creation scientists and have that barrier removed from their understanding, who go on to bow their knee to Christ. The evidence did not save them, God saved them. Our sovereign Lord can use any means He chooses to draw His lost sheep.

This is, at the core, an errancy issue, not a Gospel issue, although getting this wrong can , and often does, lead to a misunderstanding of the basic principles of salvation. Why is this an errancy issue? Essentially the debate is over whether or not Genesis 1 and 2 are literal accounts of creation or just poetry. There are forms of poetry found in the Bible, in the Psalms for example. There are also historical narratives found in the Bible, such as the Gospels. When we read Genesis it’s very clear from a literary stand point that it’s being written as historical narrative, lacking in every word is any form of poetry.

For me, as a believer, the very fact that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ pointed to creation, a literal Adam and Eve, during His time on earth is all the evidence I need. There are those who have never considered the consequences of believing otherwise, who are still growing in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord. When born again believers are faced with calling their Savior a liar, or assuming secular philosophers and scientists are wrongly interpreting the evidence, genuine Christians will go for the latter. It’s not until faced with this dilemma that many find themselves making a choice where they’ll stand. This happens to be brought up often when evangelizing, which means those who do not often do so might find themselves a believer for many years before even considering creation.

How does this effect our understanding of salvation? This is where the issue of origins moves from being an issue on errancy and becomes a Gospel issue. You see, friends, God created the world perfect without death. Adam and Eve fell, throwing the entire creation into a sin cursed world. This is where death began, and why we need a savior. If Adam hadn’t fallen you and I would not have been born with a sinful Adamic nature, in need of salvation. Without a literal Adam we simply don’t need a literal Jesus. Misunderstanding the beginning of Gods Word will cause the rest of it to be very confusing. Increasingly, those who hold to such positions, will need to continue the compromise of Scripture to fit their views. It is at this point that we can say someone is not in the faith. If someone calls themselves a Christian, yet does not hold that we are sinners in need of a savior, they are not born again. There are many out there, like Andy Stanley, who want to use the Bible as good moral lessons rather than Gods written Word.

I hope I didn’t make this more complicated than it needs to be. Essentially what I’m saying is that we can not cast out those who are young in the faith, or Biblically immature, simply because they do not understand the importance of Creation. We need to pray for these, teach them, and be very patient with them. We need to have grace for one another, baring with each other in love. However, those who have spent years fighting against those of us who hold to a Biblical view point, those who compromise, twist, or ignore, Gods Word, or who say Christ is a liar, and worse, a story, can be known to be false converts. These are the men and women who should be shown their error, prayed for, and evangelized with hopes that God will give them the gift of repentance and faith. We must judge with righteous judgement, dear ones. We can not call evil good, or good evil. To say that Jesus Christ, God made man, was wrong when He pointed to Genesis as a historical narrative, is evil. To be a new believer in need of instruction is not evil. To be a believer for a while, and yet to have been sanctified in other areas first, is not evil. With patience, love, and grace we can help one another grow. Consider, beloved, that there are areas in our own life that need more sanctification, before we anathematize others.

When I came out of the WoF Movement, there was nothing of that theology I could hold to. I had to unlearn all the erroneous things I had been taught, and to check everything against Gods Word. The only thing I believed that was accurate, that held up against the Bible, was Creationism. Ironically enough, Creation is not something the WoF teaches, but something I learned on my own. You’ll find WoF teachers very mushy on doctrine. When others are saved out of secularism there will, likewise, be so much they have to unlearn. This is the same regardless of what false worldview we’re saved out of. It is the rare few, like Dr. Jason Lisle, that are raised in a God fearing, Biblically accurate, home who can come to faith without a massive paradigm shift. That being said, let us share the Gospel with all boldness, in love, that some might be saved. Whether that some comes from an Old or Young earth background! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Sunday Hymns of the Past – All Creatures of our God and King

Today’s hymn reflects yet another aspect seemingly missing from the modern ‘Christian’ music of today, Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God Alone. Much of what we hear today is man centered, feelings based, and even unbiblical. This is not praising God, but rather praising man and his ability to vocalize. This beautiful hymn not only gives the glory and honor to the only one true King, it calls all creatures to do the same! I’m thankful to God that we have access to these hymns. Do you have a favorite hymn, dear ones? I’d love to hear what it is!

All creatures of our God and King,

lift up your voice and with us sing

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou burning sun with golden beam,

thou silver moon with softer gleam,

O praise Him, O praise Him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong,

ye clouds that sail in heav’n along,

O praise Him! Alleluia!

Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice,

ye lights of ev’ning find a voice!

O praise Him, O praise Him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

And all ye men of tender heart,

forgiving others, take your part,

O sing ye! Alleluia!

Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,

praise God and on Him cast your care!

O praise Him, O praise Him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Let all things their Creator bless

and worship Him in humbleness,

O praise Him! Alleluia!

Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,

and praise the Spirit, Three in One:

O praise Him, O praise Him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Saturday Homeschooling Update and Resources – Plants and Circuits!

Hello dear ones, and happy Saturday to you all. I hope this finds you doing well. I wanted to give you an update on what we’ve been doing in homeschool as well as some AMAZING new lessons produced by my favorite homeschooling, pastor, and lesson making machine, brother Jim! These are the most organized and detailed lessons I’ve ever found online, and he shares them free of charge. This time he did a series on plants!

Plants Lesson – Introduction – Lesson 1

Plants Lesson – Life Cycles – Lesson 2

Plants Lesson – Photosynthesis – Lesson 3

Plants Lesson – Flowers – Lesson 4

Plants Lesson – Leaves – Lesson 5

I also wanted to share with you the new circuit board Kayleigh has been creating with. Her goal is to invent something everyone needs before she’s 10, so we’re starting with the basics of computer technology. I found this super neat kit that has snap on circuits, along with wires, motors, fans, sirens, music boxes, and lights all which require the circuits to work! She’s created a couple already, and can’t wait to make one of her own. If you have a little one that loves technology or is curious about machinery, these snap on circuit kits are very helpful. If you have an older kiddo, they even have a larger kit thats a bit more complex.

This month we’ve done some assessment testing, nothing too terribly stressful, just to see where she’s at and what we need to improve on. This is the second year we’ve done this, and it’s very helpful. It’s not a timed, pass or repeat a year, nightmare giving state exam. I found some short, manageable assessments online designed for homeschoolers. Now we know we’re further ahead in some subjects that I expected, and right on pace with the others.

Per my handy dandy spreadsheet we’ll be learning about the organization of the animal kingdom this month. We’re also going to continue making our way through the Catechism questions, and learning about the PreReformers. She’s currently on the 6th book of Little House on the Prairie and reading yet again her favorite adventure book, Pilgrims Progress. That’s about all the updating I can think of, I hope these ideas, resources, and links help! Until tomorrow, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.