Friday, December 26, 2014

A Culture of Rape in the Church

It's interesting to me that a secular movie network would choose to produce movies about Biblical characters. Lifetime recently aired a movie entitled The Red Tent, depicting the story of Dinah from Genesis 34. The movie did not get the story right by a long shot, but it did raise awareness. I'll trust you to read the entire chapter in your Bible; do not depend on script writers for theology or Biblical content. Here, for the sake of time and space, I'll summarize.

Dinah was the daughter of Jacob and Leah. The Bible tells us that she "went out to see the women of the land" they lived in. While she was out, Shechem, the son of Hamor the Hivite,  the prince of the land, saw her, seized her and raped her. He then said he loved her and asked for her hand in marriage.

Her father waited till her brothers came in from the fields, then told them what had happened. They were angry, and rightly so; their sister had been raped. Shechem continued pursuing Dinah's father for her hand, then pursued her brothers. Shechem's father, Hamor, pled with them on his behalf.

Finally, Dinah's brothers came up with a plan. They deceitfully agreed to give their sister to him in marriage and promised to "become one people" with the people of that city (verse 16). The one condition was that the men of the city get circumcised, saying it would be "disgraceful" to give their sister to one who was uncircumcised. So, Hamor and Shechem agreed to this plan and convinced the men of their city to agree to it as well. They wasted no time.

All the men of the city had agreed to be circumcised and were lined up to get the deed done. It takes time to heal from such a thing and on the 3rd day, when they were too sore to fight back, Dinah's brothers, Simeon and Levi, killed them all, took their wives and children and plundered their city.
They got justice for their sister.

Read the entire account, including how their father reacted to the brothers' acts of justice, in Genesis 34.

In studying this passage, I decided to do something I don't normally do. I decided to read a few commentaries on the passage. I read them for one reason and one reason only; I wanted to see what male commentators had to say about the rape of a woman.  (I do not consider commentaries to be Bible study tools and am actually amazed that some people do.) The tragedy of this story is the rape.

I was absolutely astounded that the vast majority of commentators blamed the rape on Dinah! In chapter 2 of the Alphabetical Exposition of the Bible published by Zondervan in 1988, one unnamed commentator said, "Had Dinah been content to remain a 'keeper at home' (Titus 2:5), a terrible massacre would have been averted, but her desire for novelty and forbidden company spelled disaster." No. This commentator is completely wrong. #1, Dinah could not read Titus 2:5 because it was not yet written, nor does it apply here. This is a gross misuse of Scripture. #2, the Bible does not indicate on any level that Dinah's going out to see the women of the land was wrong or sinful. It simply states that she went. #3, this commentator had the nerve to even blame the massacre on Dinah! She didn't massacre these men, nor did she come up with the plan to do so. #4, The sin here was rape! 

Matthew Henry said, "Young persons, especially females, are never so safe and well off as under the care of pious parents. Their own ignorance, and the flattery and artifices of designing, wicked people, who are ever laying snares for them, expose them to great danger. They are their own enemies if they desire to go abroad, especially alone, among strangers to true religion....Indulged children, like Dinah, often become a grief and shame to their families. She went to see the daughters of the land.....yet that was not all, she went to be seen, too." While Matthew Henry might seem to wax eloquent here, he's dead wrong. The Bible does not tell us she went to be seen. The Bible does not tell us that her parents objected to her going. The Bible does not tell us that Dinah was indulged. The sin here is rape!

The Pulpit Commentary states, "Dinah paid the full penalty of her carelessness." NO! The Bible does not tell us she was careless. She suffered rape. She was not responsible for what happened to her. She was a victim. The sin here is rape!

Why do these and other commentators blame Dinah for what happened? This tendency to blame a woman when she is raped is not confined to the 20th and 21st centuries. Many of the commentators I read wrote their works hundreds of years ago. Nearly all of them blamed Dinah in some way.

People, this has to stop. The Bible does not chastise Dinah. There is no record of her parents chastising her. For all we know, Dinah went out many times in the same way and no rape occurred. The sin is rape. Dinah is not responsible. Shechem is responsible; the commentators should be condemning him, not Dinah.

This way of thinking, to blame the victim in some way, fuels a culture of rape and it's even happening within the church. Women are not taken seriously, are minimized and set aside, them blamed for the sinful, disgraceful acts of men. Shame on these commentators. What I discovered through this brief research on what they had to say about Dinah is completely disgusting.

So, what's a girl to do? Stay inside her parents' house until her wedding day? Wear a Burqa with a screen in front of her face so she won't "tempt" a man or dare to be seen? Are we women such a threat to men that they cannot control themselves on any level and we are to be blamed if some man rapes us? Are we to believe that we bring shame on our families if someone commits any other crime against us? What about women who don't marry? Are they to be treated as undeserving spinsters and locked away in their father's house until he dies, then go live with a brother or uncle? Oh, my, how far this awful thinking could go.

These commentators are wrong. Young men, beware, commentators like this are trying to seduce you into thinking that if you lose control of your impulses, it's perfectly fine because it's a girl's fault. You have the power; she bares the shame.

This makes me want to throw up. I have raised five honorable sons. They all respect women, defend women and treat women as equals. They do not think they are better than women or superior to women, nor are they threatened by women. My married sons are married to strong women who can hold their own and they do not need to depend on their husbands, my sons, for their womanhood or validation as a person on this planet, nor their spiritual go-between in their relationship with Christ. My three daughters, two of whom are married, are strong women who will speak their mind and hold to their own opinions even if they disagree with their husbands, or their dad, or anyone else. As their mom, I will forever defend and applaud them for doing so.

Parents, raise your sons to respect women and treat them as equals. Not "equal but different," but full equals. Raise your daughters to be strong women who take no nonsense from anyone. Never berate a little girl for being too bold or outspoken or independent. Jesus surrounded Himself with strong women who not only traveled with Him, but supported Him from their own independent resources. He was not afraid to talk to women and have friendships with women. He did not tell women what to wear or what to feel, nor did He hold women responsible for the sins of men.

If you want to study your Bible, then put the commentators away in a box out of sight, for they are not enhancing your study; they are hindering it and polluting it with the religion of Secular Humanism. Study your Bible, using the Bible as your Source. Then you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free. John 8:31 & 32 says, "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" He did not say, "If you faithfully read commentators." 


It's the Word of God that changes lives, not someone's comments on the Word. 
Get this. Understand this.

~Tricia







Friday, December 12, 2014

One Shepherd's Story

Janie stretched her back as she stood to walk around her herd once again. Being a shepherd was not an easy job, despite what people thought. She nodded to a fellow shepherd, giving her a quick smile as she softly petted one small sheep that was nuzzling her. Off in the distance, on a hill, she could see a couple other shepherds. One man was sitting on the ground while another was leaning on his crook, talking. The night was quiet, with a slight breeze. Despite the long hours of the job, Janie loved being outdoors, tending her sheep.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Janie saw a bright light in the sky! Fear immediately gripped her. Fear for herself, fear for her sheep, fear for the other shepherds. Janie was terrified! Seeing her fellow shepherds reacting the same, she jerked as if to run when she was stopped by a loud voice. "And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.'"

Suddenly, faster than Janie could even respond, there was a great multitude of the heavenly host, with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward mankind.'" Then the angels left and went back to Heaven. (Luke 2)

Janie looked at the other shepherds and said, "Let's go to Bethlehem, now, and see for ourselves what the Lord has told us!" And they ran and got to Bethlehem and saw.....there was Mary, and Joseph....and then they saw Him, just as the angel had said, lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes. It was true!

And they told everyone and made known everything the angel had told them about this child and everyone was amazed at what the shepherds said. And Janie knew that her job of being a shepherd would never be the same.

Merry Christmas!
~Tricia

Sunday, December 7, 2014

I Know Exactly What to do About Bill Cosby

I read an article in Christianity Today about the Bill Cosby scandal wherein the author of the article, Laura Leonard, stated that she does not know what to do about Cosby in light of his abuses having come to light. I can help Laura because I know exactly what to do.

First, care for the victims. They not only need acknowledgement that what was done to them was wrong, that they did nothing to deserve the abuse, that they did not bring it on, they also need to know they are not alone. The isolation that sexual abuse brings is nearly as devastating as the act itself. Many of these abused women have said they thought they were the only one. That's very isolating, especially when the perpetrator is so famous and loved by the world.

Second, give the victims a voice. The focus needs to be on the victims and we, as a society, should show our outrage over their abuse. We should collectively denounce his behavior and show compassion to the victims, giving them time to not only process the fact that their victimization is no longer a secret, but give them time to grieve as necessary and seek wise counsel.

Third, seek justice for the victims. The Living God is the God of justice and violators should be prosecuted and punished for their crimes. There's a reason there is no statute of limitation on some crimes; they are too hideous to be limited by time.

Fourth, realize who the perpetrator really is. People have said they learned so much from Bill Cosby on The Cosby Show and it impacted their lives and that Bill Cosby's character, Heathcliff Huxtable, was such a great dad, etc. I have news for you. You did not learn all those life lessons from Bill Cosby. He was simply the actor who portrayed an image assigned to him. The writers of the show taught you all those things. It was the writers. Bill Cosby played a part. That's all it was. Television programming is not real; it is filled with people playing parts and play-acting roles they are assigned. Bill Cosby was an actor playing a part, that is all. The fact that our society mixes up actors with their roles on TV shows is quite disturbing to me. His "job" as a great TV dad was nothing more than a role assigned to him, for which he received a hefty paycheck.

So, I hope Laura finds this helpful so that she'll know what to do about Cosby. I, for one, will be glad if his show, now in syndicated status, is off the air for good. The networks were wise to remove 7th Heaven when Steven Collins' sins were found out.

It seems to me that the world knows better than Christians when it comes to what to do about abuse. While the world immediately took action on Bill Cosby, Steven Collins and others, the Duggars, while proclaiming themselves "Christian," continue to promote Bill Gothard's teachings and will not separate themselves, even in light of his sexual abuse of more than 35 young women. They continue to distribute his literature, use his resources and will not condemn his behaviors. This is suspicious to me. (Add this to the fact that Jim Bob Duggar hardly ever gets through even one episode of their show without making some sort of inappropriate sexual comment, even toward his own daughters. Am I the only one who finds this grossly disturbing? By his own admission, he can't even give them a platonic hug.)

~Tricia




Monday, November 17, 2014

Lost in Translation?



Can God be limited by humans? Do we mere humans, on earth for but a split second in comparison to eternity, limit the One Who created us all and without Whom we cannot even so much as breathe? Do we want to serve a God we can limit?

Does my wording of this question make the idea seem ludicrous?

Psalm 78:41 says, "Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel."

Is that it, then? Does this mean we have the power, as created human beings, to put limits on the Living God, the One Who created us?

Does this mean the created have power over the Creator?

Not so fast.

A more in-depth study of this verse reveals the truth.


The Hebrew word used for "limited" in this verse is actually "twh." Twh means, literally, to distress or hurt. Deeper meanings include provoked, offended, vexed and wounded.

That changes everything. More accurate translations include:

"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and distressed the Holy One of Israel."

"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and hurt the Holy One of Israel."

"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and provoked the Holy One of Israel."

"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and offended the Holy One of Israel." 

"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and vexed the Holy One of Israel."

"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and wounded the Holy One of Israel."

Not one Hebrew source listed "limited" as a viable translation of the Hebrew word "twh."

Dig more deeply into Scripture. Some things do get lost in translation. As a former translator (English to Spanish), I learned this the hard way. I'm not suggesting that God's Word can get "lost" in that He will not preserve It, I'm just suggesting that you search the Scriptures daily to see if what you are being taught is true. (Acts 17:11) In your searching, go deep.

Now you know.
~Tricia






Thursday, November 6, 2014

Courting and Isaiah's Social Media Status

Just today, I read a blog post by a young woman who's been married about 5 minutes and I felt compelled to address her blog post here. I hardly know where to begin in expressing my issues with the theology expressed in this blog post. This young woman chose to "court" instead of "date," which is not a problem at all. (It's all a matter of definition, but not the reason for this blog post.)

My problems with this blog post began when this young woman listed all the blessings of her wedding day and boldly proclaimed that God blessed them so "because we were obedient to Him in our courtship."

That's where her theology takes a stumble. I really, really hope she does not continue to go through life thinking that way. I truly hope God banishes that thought from her heart and life so she'll be more in tune to really love Him. Right now, that love is not evident. Self-love is evident.

"The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?" said Jeremiah in chapter 17, verse 9 of Jeremiah. 

My problems with her theology in thinking that God gave them all those wonderful blessings on their wedding day come with the idea that they believe God rewarded them because they stuck to some human-made ideals and God was apparently happy with them. No, that's not it.

The problem is, God's goodness is not dependent on our obedience or "good" acts. God's goodness is rooted in His character, His attributes; in the fact that He is the only good, that all good comes from Him. And, perhaps most importantly to this young woman, that God's goodness is still intact when bad things happen to her, and they will. 

The sun shined on everyone in that town that day. It shined on the drunk who was beating his wife. It shone on the young man who was abusing his little neighbor. It shined on the drug addict who took his last overdose that day and died. It shined on the teenager stealing cigarettes from a drug store. The sun shined all around, even while the pride of two human hearts united in marriage.

Back to Isaiah. Isaiah the prophet. Isaiah, whose 40-year ministry spanned the reigns of four kings of Judah. Isaiah, whom the LORD of hosts used to deliver a great message to His people. Isaiah, who wrote a book of the Holy Scriptures. Isaiah said, "Woe is me for I am undone! I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."

This is what happens when the gospel impacts a person's life. This is what happens when we finally get our eyes off our own perceived righteousness and see the King. 

He talks about our righteousness. Isaiah said it in chapter 64, verse 6, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as the leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." That's Isaiah's social media update.

God does not shine on us because we are good..... because we are not good. God shines on us because He is good; and He only is good. (Mark 10:18) 

If we can get this, really get this, really understand this, it will change our lives forever. This is the gospel at work. God is good even when His blessings don't shine on us. He's good even when a loved one dies from cancer or is taken in a tragic car accident. God is good when the sun does not shine. God would still be good if people had died of heat stroke at that young couple's wedding. God is good even if it had poured rain that day, or a tornado had torn through their outdoor wedding.

We can't love Him if we do not know Him and strutting our own perceived righteousness does not show that we love anyone but ourselves.

This young woman's blog is a perfect example of secular humanism and how it invades our thinking. We must resist this thinking on all levels.

We must raise our kids on the gospel, not on standards of living that we hold up and call "righteous."

~Tricia

Saturday, October 25, 2014

No One Would Listen

Much to my relief, there is finally an article spelling out what we suspected, but couldn't prove, about a former pastor in Austin, MN. We tried to stop him. We had questions about this man and we tried to get local and statewide investigations going, to no avail. They laughed in our faces and praised and defended this pedophile to our faces. Shame on them.

It's news now. Read the article here.

No one would listen.

~Tricia

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hang Up Your Dishrag and Pick Up Your Bible

I am struck by Mary's behavior in her sister, Martha's, home. Luke 10:38-42 describes a scene that most people who have ever read the Bible are familiar with. Jesus, along with a number of His disciples, was traveling and came to the home of Martha. Her sister, Mary, was also there and the Scriptures tell us that Mary sat at Jesus' feet and heard His Word. Martha, however, was distracted with much serving. No doubt she was a good hostess, wanting to make sure all her guests were fed and taken care of.

We think this is necessary. As a veteran hostess, I have served hundreds in our different homes over the years. I love entertaining, cooking, preparing for guests and making their stay in our home as comfortable and pleasant as I can.

I have observed that, in the church and in Christian circles, women are often relegated to the kitchen to prepare, serve and clean up while men often enjoy fellowship around the Word of God. I attended a pastors & wives fellowship a few years ago. Before going, I was told by the hostess that the women generally stayed in the kitchen, talking, while the men studied a specific doctrine. My interest was piqued at what the men might be studying and I asked her for more information. She didn't know, but said that the women don't attend those sessions.

When I got to the meeting, I saw an outline of the day's study and really wanted to sit in and learn. So, when things started, I walked to the men's meeting with my husband. The hostess told me, again, that the women usually stayed in the kitchen and talked, then helped put out lunch. I honestly couldn't bring myself to stay in the kitchen. While I felt a little bad for her, I ended up leaving her in the kitchen alone, wishing she would join us in the study.

The study was excellent! It was an expository study, complete with an exegetical guide that we all got copies of. None of the men seemed to think it strange that I was there with them, and, in fact, there was another woman there, too. I attended several more of these meetings, and by the 3rd one I attended, all the women were sitting in on the sessions rather than hanging out in the kitchen. Score! Amazingly, lunch was still served and everyone ate and was satisfied.

Mary sat at Jesus' feet, learning from Him. Even at Martha's pleas to do so, Jesus did not tell Mary to get up and help. What He did say is surprising to our culture. He said that Mary had chosen "that good part which will not be taken away from her."

As a woman, I do not feel that my place is in the kitchen. I feel that my place is at the feet of Jesus, learning of Him and teaching others of Him. Even as a hostess, I have intentionally tried to ease the preparation of food so as not to miss out on opportunities to learn of Jesus from others, or participate in a study. Jesus said this is "the good part" and that it "can't be taken away" from us.

Why do we women often allow this to be taken away from us? We need to hang up our dishrags and pick up our Bibles and take a stand against traditional roles that exclude us from deep Bible study and participation. You have permission from the King, Himself. You have His approval to stop being sidelined when it comes to deep Bible study. Mary not only had His approval, but His praise. Imagine being praised by the Savior, Himself.

I dare say that if Jesus came to my house in the flesh, I would have someone order take-out because I would not leave His side long enough to even make a phone call to place the order, let alone cook something. I don't want to miss a word.

~Tricia

Monday, September 8, 2014

My Surprising Shingles Story

I had heard all the horror stories of shingles. I'd listened to the TV commercials touting the importance of the shingles vaccine. I'd heard friends and relatives talk about how bad shingles was, that they wouldn't wish it on their worst enemy, that their life was completely altered by its presence.

Then an unusual pain started in my left side, just above my waistline. Since my doctor was not available, I went to a walk-in clinic. There, after spending three minutes and $95, I was told I'd pulled a muscle. I was sent home with a prescription for a muscle relaxer. After three days of taking that at night, my pain was gone. I went on with life; traveling to Atlanta, taking care of my family, etc. This was a busy summer.

After two weeks in Atlanta to welcome my 3rd grandchild, I came home and was as busy as ever. Then, 10 days after I got home, that pain in my left side came back. This time it was worse because it seemed to wrap itself around my upper torso and hurt like crazy, squeezing me hard. I went to my chiropractor, told him I'd pulled a muscle, that it had gotten better, then worse. He did his exam and concluded that not only was a muscle out of whack, but the nerve traveling around my upper torso was inflamed, greatly.

Inflamed nerves that wrap around an area = shingles.

Ugh. I braced myself for the worst. The pain was bad, but not something I would define as horrible. It was not what I'd expected. Maybe I have a high tolerance for pain; I did give birth to eight people. A few days after that chiropractic visit, I noticed a few little spots on my skin around that nerve pain. Ah, the telltale shingles rash! What was I to do? I dreaded this with a passion. I'd been told the rash is worse than the pain. I'd already altered my wardrobe to wear only loose-fitting clothes that did not bind. I'd already switched to cool showers because hot water caused such bad pain. How was I going to shower at all with hot, horrid blisters around my middle? How was I going to keep up the family schedule with my husband's long work hours and the kids' appointments?

The day after the spots appeared, they began to itch terribly. I was filled with dread, again. Ugh. I began to research how to treat shingles at home. Not having insurance makes people do all kinds of things to avoid the expense of going to the doctor. I'd already spent $95 at the doc's and a few at the pharmacy.

I discovered that there were things I could do to lessen the symptoms of shingles. I began to do those things immediately, that very day, which were really just abrupt dietary changes. The very next day, the itchy spots began to fade. They did not break out into blisters, but the area remained red and sensitive. Within a few days, the spots had completely dried up, the itching stopped and they faded away. The pain persisted, but the spots never developed into a rash or blisters.

It has been  a couple of months since my symptoms first appeared and, while I still have some pain, I believe I am over the worst of it.

I was very surprised at how effective my actions against the full effects of shingles were. I was also surprised that I'd never heard of these actions; that no one I'd ever talked to had mentioned that there were things a person could do to control the symptoms of shingles. I had heard many people's shingles stories and they were all horrid. I found out through this personal experience that shingles does not have to be so horrid. So, I wanted to share my actions here in hopes that someone else who might be facing shingles can have a milder case than they might think they can.

What I learned:

Shingles is part of the Herpes virus.
The Herpes virus thrives in a weakened immune system.
The Herpes family of viruses is affected by a person's L-Arginine to L-Lysine ratio. These are amino acids that are found in the human body and come from foods. There has to be a greater L-Arginine level for shingles to survive. Therefore, a diet higher in L-Lysine helps prohibit the virus's effects.

Foods high in L-Lysine....and thus should be eaten often.....are:
Meat
Fish
Dairy
Eggs
Cheese
Apples
Pears
Pineapple
Apricots
Avocado
Green Beans
Asparagus

Foods higher in L-Arginine.....and thus avoided....are:

Tomatoes
Wheat germ
Brussels Sprouts
Cashews
Grapes
Pumpkin seeds
Pecans
Blackberries
Blueberries
Peanuts
Chocolate
Sugars

I immediately altered my diet to include more of the top list and avoid all things on the bottom list.
It worked!
Other things I did:

Put ice on the pain several times a day.
Wore loose-fitting clothing that does not bind (still doing this one).
Took cool showers.
Saw my chiropractor regularly (weekly) as balance in the spine helps so much.
Sleep. I slept in as much as I could and took naps when able.
Ibuprofen.

I am now able to eat a little tomato and not have effects, as well as a little chocolate. Avoiding tomatoes during the month of August was hard since they are so fresh!

I had always thought shingles was something that, if I got it, I had no choice but to take it however it came. I thought I had to sit back and let it hit me. I had never heard of anyone having a more positive experience with shingles. People younger than myself have had it with horrible symptoms that lasted a very long time.

Maybe I was just fortunate enough to have a mild case. I do have a tremendous capacity for recovery and that must have helped. My advice to shingles sufferers is to take these dietary changes seriously and follow them faithfully. They make all the difference. As soon as I learned about them, I abruptly changed my diet and my results were very fast.

Note my other actions and see which ones you can manage.
I do hope you never get shingles.
I do hope that if you do get shingles,you heed this advice or research on your own to find solutions. You do not have to take what shingles has to offer.
You can take action.
This is just my story. This is what happened to me. I'm not saying this can happen to everyone in the same way, but I wanted to share my story because I am proof that there are shingles stories that are not so horrid. There are things we can do to help create a mild case; at least this worked for me.
~Tricia

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Find Some Women, Plant a Church

I know of no one who would argue that the Apostle Paul was the most successful church planter who ever lived. After his life was literally turned upside down on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), he was baptized and went on to plant multiple churches all over Asia and Europe. There is, of course, much, much more to his story, but that's for another blog post.

What did he do when he planted churches? Certainly his methods were unconventional to the culture of his day, but I think they would also be considered unconventional today in western culture. The first thing Paul did in Philippi was go to where the women were (Acts 16). This was no accident. Verse 13 tells us they went to the riverside where prayer was customarily made and spoke with the women who met there. They, Paul and the others with him, knew women met there, it was customary, yet they went there intentionally and first.

He planted his church with women. The first European convert was Lydia, a wealthy woman who operated her own lucrative business selling purple fabric. Lydia was saved, then baptized, as was her household. No husband is ever mentioned. Lydia went on to host Paul and his entourage in her home. This indicates she had a house big enough to host them, needed no one's permission or approval and was very much in charge of herself and all that she had.

I know some men who would pass this opportunity by simply because they would not talk to women at a riverside or anywhere else, without husbands present. These men I know certainly wouldn't use any resources of any women to plant a church, much less a woman's input.  Modern church planters do not generally talk to women first in order to plant a church. I know some church planters and they are all men and they are working with only men.  But, Paul and his fellow disciples often went to the women first.

In Thessalonica, at the synagogue, Acts 17:4 tells us that some of them believed and "joined with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women, not a few." (Emphasis mine) There were women and they were considered important, chief people of their town; leaders. And Paul had no problem working with them.

Women were very much involved in the planting of these new churches. They made a huge impact. 

So, do you want to plant a church? Find some women in a town of choice. Be sure, if you have a church planting committee, that women are serving on that committee  and are active workers, not just a quiet female presence.

Do like Paul did in Philippi and go to the women first, intentionally. I truly believe women might be the most overlooked resource for church planting today.

~Tricia

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Poor Little Perpetrator

Bonhoeffer said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

When did the victim become the object of questioning in the church? I've seen this over and over again. Someone is victimized in the church and all eyes look to the perpetrator with a quest to understand why they would do what they are accused of doing. This happens while the victim is either told they need to forgive, or are ignored altogether. This is absolutely infuriating.

Let me give you some examples. These examples are based on real-life, true stories.

First, Sally's story: Fourteen-year-old Sally was molested by a man in the church during a youth event when no one was around for a few minutes. Sally reported this abuse to her mom and word got out when her family tried to get justice and prevent him from hurting someone else. People's responses went like this:

"Oh, I wonder what kind of childhood he had that would make him do that."
"He's always been nice to me."
"I've never seen him do a thing wrong!"
"He's served in this church for years!
"I can't picture him doing that."
"There must be some mistake."
"Sally must have done ......something."

And while all these people are busy taking the perpetrator's side with their words, Sally's life is destroyed, piece by piece. First, her perpetrator took her innocence and violated her. Second, her church family, those she should trust the most next to her own family, betrayed her by shedding doubt on her story in defending him. Third, sympathy for her was quickly minimized while a longing to show compassion for the perpetrator grew. Her family left that church and never went back. Years later, people still wonder why they won't go to that church.

Jack's story:  Ten year old Jack was molested in the men's room at church during the service when he went out to go to the bathroom. A few months later, Jack told his older brother. His brother told their parents. The parents told the pastor, who took it to the deacons. The deacons' response was:

"We need to handle this in a godly way; we need to make sure Mr. Perpetrator has a chance to repent."
"We need to make sure Jack is willing to forgive."
"We need to pray and give Mr. Perpetrator the benefit of the doubt. After all, he's served in this church for decades."
"Jack has made a little trouble; his Sunday School teacher said he often doesn't pay attention."
"Does Jack hang out with those other boys who cause trouble?"
"Jack's mom seems to be seeking revenge. We can't let that happen; we might have to confront her. She needs to be godly and forgive"

And Jack's life spirals out of control and gets no justice. He is told he has to forgive and Mr. Perpetrator is free to attack someone else.

Lois' story: The janitor walked in on Lois as she was using the ladies' room. Embarrassed, Lois quickly confronted him and told him to leave. He was belligerent and would not leave the ladies' room. Lois was shocked at the fact that he was in no way embarrassed or uncomfortable while in there with her and he made no move to leave. As a matter of fact, Lois ended up leaving first!

Upset, Lois called her husband, who told her she needed to inform the senior pastor that night. He happened to be in the building and she did inform him. While waiting for him, she informed the building security person, who called their supervisor. Able to hear her on the other end of the phone, Lois heard her say, "Oh, that doesn't sound like him."

While Lois was assured things would be dealt with that night, they were not, and a week later, the janitor walked into the ladies room again, with no warning. Lois watched from the foyer this time, since she no longer felt safe going into the ladies room. It wasn't until Lois spoke up about it again, and her husband intervened, that the leadership of the church finally made a policy about male janitors entering a ladies room.

As for Lois, she's heard "That doesn't sound like him" so many times from all levels of leadership in the church that she no longer trusts any of them. The janitor told the leadership that he apologized to Lois and they were satisfied with that. However, the janitor did not apologize to Lois, he lied to the leadership, and things were not followed up on. As a matter of fact, he smirks when he sees her. Lois has become disillusioned with her church. She does not feel safe using the ladies room unless there is a large crowd in the building.

Dear Church Leaders:  In cases of abuse, the victim is your priority, not the perpetrator!

Do not show sympathy to the perpetrator at the expense of concern for the victim.

Do not show compassion to the perpetrator while your victim cowers in a corner with no voice.

Abuse of all kinds is happening in the church. The three examples given in this blog are all true and represent the tiniest fraction of abuse I'm aware of, and I'm just one person! Too many people are not only showing more compassion to the abusers, they are turning a deaf ear to the victims, further victimizing them by shedding doubt on them and not speaking out against abuse.

I will not be silent about abuse I see. Whether it's blatant abuse like described above or a bunch of women ruining another person through gossip, I will speak out and I will not be silent about abuse.

Bonhoeffer was right.

~Tricia








Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dem Dry Bones

What do you really know about your bones? We know we need our bones. we know our bones carry nutrients through their marrow. We know that marrow can be replaced, curing disease. We know that bones can be broken, then fixed. We know much more than this about bones. Did you know that dead, dry bones can live again?

God talked about bones in His Word. In Ezekiel 37:1-14, Ezekiel talks about being taken to the Valley of Bones where he saw many, many bones....and they were very dry. Not just dry; very dry.

Several years ago, one of our daughters was diagnosed with severe scoliosis. She had to wear a tight, form-fitted body brace 20 hours a day for an entire year. She became very adept at putting it on and pulling it tight enough by herself. She faithfully wore it as instructed by her doctors.  

At the end of the year of the brace, she was to face major surgery to repair the sharp curves in her spine. The bracing only served to stop the progression of the curves; surgery was inevitable to repair the curves or her life would be compromised, landing her in a wheelchair in the not-too-distant future. At the time of her surgery, the doctors had long, detailed meetings with us, and each other, to decide the right course of action. It was decided that two 18" titanium rods would be attached to her spine, after it was straightened (literally by hand) and the rods would be secured with screws, bolts and brackets. After the rods were secured, bone would be grafted over her spine and she would be sewn back up.

I had one question, "What bone is used for this grafting?" The doctor said they could take a 4" piece of bone from her hip - an action requiring additional surgery on the spot. OR, they could use cadaver bone.

Intrigued by this idea, I asked for an explanation. The doctor said there are warehouses holding cadaver bone from people who have donated their bones to medicine and they could use them for her procedure. I said, "But, what about the risk of rejection?" 

The doctor replied, "There is no risk of rejection. The bones are dry; they are dead. They have no living cells in them. They are very dry. Once we graft them onto her spine, they will live again. They will regenerate and grow in her as though they have always been her bones. As she grows, they will grow, and be strong and full of life again."

We chose the dry bones, avoiding the trauma of additional surgery for our daughter. She's fine now; her back is straight and she even got a little taller on the operating table. She has had no sign of rejection and her health is perfect.

They were dead bones.

They were very dry.

Just like the bones Ezekiel saw in the Valley of Bones. God had asked him, "Can these bones live?"  
Ezekiel was careful to answer only, "Oh, LORD God, you know." 

Dead. Dry. Bones.

While it is widely believed Ezekiel's experience was symbolic, the truth of the matter is, those dry, dead, very dry bones can live!

Dem Dry Bones came back to life and they are living now in my daughter. 

Talk about our bodies being fearfully and wonderfully made! 

Our God, Who can make dead, very dry bones live again, can surely solve the worst problem you have today.

~Tricia

Friday, May 30, 2014

Why I Don't Use SOAP

I don't use SOAP. I never have and I'm not about to start. SOAP is a popular acronym widely used in Bible study. It stands for

Scripture
Observation 
Application 
Prayer

The problem I have with SOAP is the application portion. This trips us humans up every time because we simply cannot apply the Scriptures to our lives. We can't; it's not our job. Every single time we do, we become built up with pride and that application portion becomes our all-in-all. We don't stop with the mirror, either, but we take what we've applied to our own lives and project that onto others.

The minute any Bible study becomes about our response, it is no longer about Jesus Christ. 
When it is no longer about Jesus Christ, it is no longer relevant. 

Here are a few reasons I won't use SOAP, or any other Bible study method that uses application as a step in its process:

1. Human application of Scripture falls through human filters. These filters are not inspired, making them dangerous. Every single cult that started from a religious standpoint, started as a result of someone applying Scripture out of context as a means to control others. This was done through a human filter. Jesus tells us to learn from Him (Matthew 11:29). He does not fit through human filters.

2. Human application is nothing more than behavior modification. Behavior modification is not of the heart, it's out of a human effort to be righteous. This goes against Scripture since Scripture says "there is none righteous, no not one." (Romans 3:10) Beware of behavior modification. Lots of people have behaved well all the way to Hell.

3. Human application leads to legalism. Legalism is not only dangerous in that it focuses solely on human behavior, it also leads to spiritual abuse. Every single time.

4. Human application is not about God. As soon as we take it upon ourselves to apply things the way we see them, we take God out of the picture. His Word does not need human application. If you become driven to share the gospel more, that is NOT because you are applying God's Word to your life, it is because His Holy Spirit is working in you to create that drive. When you find yourself responding in grace to something that might have made you mad in the past, that is not because you have applied God's Word to your life, it is because His grace is at work in you through His Word. It is all by Him, through Him and for Him.

5. Human application leads to guilt. As soon as a preacher says, "we should" or "you should" I tune out. I'm not interested in what he thinks I should or should not do. Not everyone is in the same place in life. Not everyone can live in the same way. I was at a ladies retreat one time when the speaker tried to lay guilt on us because she felt that some of us were not grateful enough to be there. She had decided that ungratefulness was the sin of the hour and railed on us to be more grateful and compared us to the grumbling children of Israel in an attempt to warn us of God's impending judgement upon us. But, she was totally wrong. I had been going through a rough time in my life and was so, so thankful to be able to go to the retreat. She had decided everyone needed to be hammered about ungratefulness and she took Scripture out of context to try to prove her point. Guilt is not a fruit of the Spirit.

6. Human application nearly always requires Scripture to be taken out of context. Entire cults have been built around this fact. Study up on a few cults; the ones which were started by religious followings were started with Scripture being taken out of context. This is not true of just cults; it's also true of many, many movements we've seen throughout history. Modern day movements are no different. They are built on mankind's ideas, false interpretation of Scripture and wrong applications of Scripture. Pick a movement, any movement, and hold it up to the Light of Scripture. You will find it is full of holes of non-contextual application.

7. Human application fuels human pride. This fact is clearly evident all over social media. We see people taking pictures of their Bible study time and posting it online for all to see. No more closet prayers done in secret. That scares me since God said He resists (opposes) the proud. (James 4:6)

8. Human application blinds us to the Truth. I once knew a preacher who constantly said things like, "I will not sacrifice godliness. I will not sacrifice righteousness." while his own behavior wasn't godly at all. He was busy not sacrificing "godliness" while he was (and still is) lying to and misleading his congregation on even small issues. All in the name of "godliness." He is blind to the Truth because he is wrongly applying things to his own life without the Holy Spirit. We are commanded to worship God in spirit and in truth. Human application blocks the way. Men like that declare themselves godly, outside the context of God, and people, fearful of disagreeing with what they perceive as God's anointed, allow this to happen. This is really an example of spiritual abuse. When someone tells you they will not sacrifice godliness, they are intimating that they have already attained godliness. Beware of those people. Do not sit under their teaching or follow their leadership.

9. Human application shows lack of faith. Because it's His Word, all fruit from His Word is His. Isaiah 55:11 promises that His Word will not return void, it will accomplish what He sends it to accomplish and will prosper in what He sends it to do. What's interesting about this verse is that it promises His Word will accomplish what He intends; it says nothing about our human intent or our human intervention. Be wary of people who tell you God can't do what He needs to do in your life without your cooperation. He gives no conditions to the accomplishment of His will. It will be done. Jonah's story is a good example of this.

Insist on studying God's Word in purity and Truth. A system like The Priscilla Principle, which does not include application at all, is better suited to unaltered Bible study. My life was transformed, but not by my application of God's Word to my life. It was transformed by His Word, alone. I had nothing to do with it. There were things He conquered in my life that I had no idea needed conquering. How would I have applied anything to them? The Priscilla Principle method does not include application. Rather it operates on the Scriptural promise that God's Word does not return void. (See point 9 above.)

Beware of books that insist you have an application step in your Bible study process. Applying His Word to our lives is not our job. I am seriously surprised that this is such a popular thing for people to do. But, I see it all over social media. I also see the results. I see people taking pictures of their Bible study time and posting it online. Farewell to the closet prayers we're commanded to have. I see people naming a ministry after themselves. Farewell to the humble servant who exalts Christ.

Any fruit we have in our lives is fruit of the Spirit. Having the fruit of the Spirit is a result of His work in our lives, not of our decisions to do/say/think/feel the "right" way. We cannot produce godly fruit. It's impossible. We have to stop trying. Perhaps one thing pushing people to try to apply God's Word to their lives and the lives of others is impatience. There is so much incredible power in waiting on the Lord. David says repeatedly in the Psalms, "Wait on the LORD." Isaiah (40:31) told of a great promise to those who wait. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not be weary; they will walk and not faint. I think I should add waiting as a Bible study step in The Priscilla Principle, for in the wait is strength.

Read the Scriptures > Observe without Speculation > Interpret  > Pray > Wait
Not an acronym.
Nothing fancy.
Study, then wait on the Lord. When He wants you to act, you will not be able to be still.

~Tricia







Monday, May 26, 2014

My Hero, My Son

I wrote this poem after my son returned from his first deployment to Iraq....and the awful reality of the Battle of Fallujah. My Michael, just 19 years old at the time, was on the front lines of that battle. This poem is still relevant, nearly 10 years later. I've posted this on my blog before, but I had to post it again.

My Hero, My Son

You say you’re not a hero,
I beg to differ, son;
You went into the war zone,
Carrying your gun.

You faced all of the danger,
Without even looking back;
You did what you knew God wanted
You didn’t one time slack.

You followed your heart;
Did what you thought was right.
You just kept pressing on,
Did not give up the fight.

Oh, you really are a hero,
A hero fair and square.
So far from home, you dared to go,
You didn’t think of where.

Now that you are home,
Oh, so safe and sound,
I will not forget the others,
The ones who aren’t around.

The war zone was relentless
They paid the highest price,
I know you would have done the same,
And made that sacrifice.

But, God allowed you to come home,
He has work for you to do.
It’s His will you must seek,
It’s His calling you must pursue.

Follow Him with all your heart,
And a hero you’ll remain.
Don’t look off to the right or left,
And His reward you’ll someday claim.

You’re my hero, yes, my son,
I’m proud as I can be.
Thank you for what you have done,
You’ll always be a hero to me.


Love, Mom

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Duck, Duck, Goose!

Recently, one of my cousins shared this picture on Facebook with the comment, "Nice weather for ducks..." Immediately, comments started pouring in that these are not ducks, but in fact, geese.

Knowing full well that my cousin does, indeed, know the difference between ducks and geese, I also commented. I pointed out that she never said they were ducks and that her statement about the weather being nice for ducks was a true statement.

At that, someone said, "True but who would take a picture of a cat and say
'it's a nice day to walk the dog'?"

We could say that. We could do that. We could take a picture of a cat and comment that it's a nice day to walk the dog if it really is a nice day to walk the dog and it would not be wrong.

But, it would be unexpected, because the picture produces an expectation and when that expectation is not fulfilled by the words associated with the picture, people don't know what to do or think. The unexpected throws them. The picture actually becomes a filter they run everything through. If there's a picture of a goose, people automatically assume that any comments made in the context of the picture must be about the goose. But, there is more than geese in the picture. There's weather. There's grass. There's a field of stubble of some sort. There are no ducks, but my cousin's statement is still true; it was nice weather for ducks.

My final comment on the thread was, "Observation without speculation leads to independent thinking."

Imagine if we simply took someone at their word instead of filtering what they say by what they look like or where they live. We all have filters. People often approach God's Word with the same type of filter people used on my cousin. They go to God's Word with preconceived ideas and expectations and end up either being disappointed and become disillusioned, or they become legalistic and put their, and everyone else's, faith in a box.

Observation without speculation is hard to learn in our society. There are given expectations that everyone is expected to follow. Schools are a perfect example of this. Kids are often herded for control, expected to act and learn in a certain way. That doesn't work for every student. Albert Einstein was labeled "lazy, sloppy and insubordinate" by more than one of this teachers. His parents were told he wouldn't amount to anything. The schools did not know what to do with him because he was an independent thinker who made observations without speculation or expectation. The school system, even in that day, was ill equipped to handle him and others like him.

Thinking outside the expectations opens up an entirely new world. It might feel like it's out of your comfort zone, but I guarantee that if you start making observations without speculation, it will change how you see the world, and how the world sees you.

When Jesus walked this earth, He lived this way and it often astounded His followers and naysayers alike. Read through the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and notice how Jesus talked and interacted with people. When He met the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, He talked to her. She, herself, questioned Him for doing this, saying, "How is that you, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" The verse explains, "Because the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans." The expectation was that no Jew would be talking to a Samaritan at all, let alone a woman. Jesus didn't care; He acted outside the expectations. Verse 27 tells us that even His disciples marveled that He spoke with a woman, but no one questioned Him.

His behavior constantly rocked the boat, even for His own disciples.

Rock the boat. Observe without speculation and see what happens.
Take a picture of your cat and tell the world it's a nice day to walk a dog.
~Tricia

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I Was That Awful, Neglectful Mom


I was that mom, neglecting my child, not listening as he nearly screamed "Mom!" in a public place.

I would not listen.

I made the "shh" sound quietly as I put my finger to my lips. I was on my cell phone and he wanted my attention. People began to stare. I could imagine they were thinking what a terrible mom I was for ignoring my little guy and choosing to talk on my cell instead. I was nearly in tears at my little guy's screams of frustration, but no one offered to help with him, they just simply stared and whispered out of the sides of their mouths, behind their hands. I strained to hear my phone call; I put my finger in my other ear so I could hear better.

Suddenly, my little guy threw something, I don't know what, onto the floor. I was nearly undone.

Why not just hang up the phone? Why not just tell the person I'd call them back? I could not. I would not.

The person on the other end of the phone was also my son.....was once my little guy.....and he was in Iraq and the war was raging....and I knew that it could very well be the last time I ever talked to him. It was stressful; there was a 3-second delay between our words to each other.

So, I let my little guy cry. And I ignored him. And I talked to my other son on my cell phone in public. And I let the judgments fly. And, as I did every single time he called, I cried my heart out when we hung up. And only when we hung up was I able to hold my little guy and give him my full attention. And my mother-heart nearly came apart for the grief and pain of having a son go off to war.

And to this day, when I see a mom on a phone, seemingly ignoring her present child, I think back to that time and I stop and I pray.

~Tricia

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What Church Planters Can Learn from a 3-D Printing Plan

Grace Choi is about to change the way you buy make up forever. Church planters can learn a few things from her. She is a self-proclaimed serial inventor and her 3-D printer, Mink, is about to make Mary Kaye consultants hurry to get the last mile out of their Cadillacs while they can. When I saw her presentation about her printer, I was struck with her poise, attention to detail, understanding of her field of knowledge as well as her awareness and acceptance of her weaknesses. Not to be deterred by past failures, she actually said that she will succeed because of so many failures.

The men on the panel who critiqued her presentation showed their ignorance a couple of times. She was unfazed by their ignorance and went on to tell them how this printer will need very little marketing because she is acutely aware of the high demand for it in the make up industry. She's touting high demand for something that her target buyers don't yet know exists! Yet, she knows them because she knows herself and she knows they will buy her product and price is not an issue.

The lipstick tube was one man's tripping point. He expressed concern that lipstick would have a hard time printing into a tube. How will it print into a tube? Silly man. Much of lip color in today's world does not even come in a tube. Grace Choi already knows this. Women know this.

Another man (or was it the same man?) questioned the price, saying it was too much. That man does not know the modern teen. These are kids with iPhones and college promises. $300 is nothing to Grace's target market. She already knows what these girls are spending, what they will spend and how they will get their parents to spend the money on this printer. Think of the savings, alone, if a girl can print her own make up and not have to make a trip to the cosmetics counter at the department store, where there is so much temptation to buy even more.

What can a church planter learn from Grace Choi? Plenty. As my husband and I, now church planters, look to continue this work, I see many parallels between what we desire to do and what Grace is doing/has done.

1. Grace saw a need. The need was manifold. She saw how girls needed more options in an affordable venue. She saw that girls needed to be in control of their make-up and not victims of the big corporations' high mark-ups. She saw that there was a way they could experiment with make-up in a more financially safe way by being able to try it out without spending huge amounts on things that could end up in the bottom of a drawer.

1. Church planters see a need: the need for people to know Christ. They see the need for Christ to be in every life, not just ones who go to church or grew up in church. They see that they have something to offer that the world cannot even come close to.

2. Grace saw herself as the solution to the need. She took her knowledge and expertise and put it to work creating something that could meet the needs she saw.

2. Church planters must see themselves as the solution for a world without Christ. Jesus, Himself, told us to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers. We, as church planters, are those laborers. We have to see ourselves as the solution to the vast need.

3. Grace did not wait for anyone else, she simply went to work creating what she knew was the solution to the needs she saw.

3. We church planters cannot afford wait. We can't afford to get caught up in the red tape that often accompanies modern day church planting efforts. We simply need to get it done. It starts with prayer, and lots of it. It does not start with meetings with interested parties. I know some church planters who are hung up on the meetings, spending time meeting with one person or committee after another, all while people are going into a Christ-less eternity. When you pray about the lost people around you, the Lord of the Harvest answers that prayer, usually by commissioning you. The Great Commission is highly personal.

4. Grace did not fear failure. She has already failed many times, so she knows that failure was inevitable. She also knows that failure is not the end. Each failure was a learning experience; she used them to her advantage.

4. We cannot fear failure. Are we going to make mistakes? Yes. Are we going to fail at times? Yes. But, the Lord of the Harvest has already conquered all our failures and short comings. We have nothing left to fear. We have a lot of work to do.

We can learn a lot from Grace. Much more than I listed here.

~Tricia


Friday, April 25, 2014

She Started It!

Some promoters of the modern Patriarchal Movement teach that women should not be working outside the home. As a matter of fact, I've heard some proponents of this movement say that women, to be biblical, belong in the home. Some have gone so far as to say that it's "God's will" for women to be homemakers and not have careers outside the home. They have stated that the downfall of American society started when women went to work outside the home.

What many proponents of this theory fail to see is that the Proverbs 31 woman started it. Technically, there were "working women" long before the Proverbs 31 woman. We have to think of Miriam, who helped lead Israel. Deborah, a righteous judge, who led men and women alike with no hesitation. There's also Huldah, the prophetess, to whom male leaders went for instruction and help. And there are others.

But, for the sake of this blog post, I want to talk about the Proverbs 31 woman and make a few observations. First of all, King Lemuel's mother, clearly a woman, instructed him. This, alone, goes against our modern patriarchal movement. My experience in this movement speaks against women teaching men in any capacity whatsoever, let alone with Biblical authority. Yes, they even think mothers shouldn't be teaching sons once they reach a certain age.

There's more. Let's look at the Proverbs 31 woman's specific work.

The Proverbs 31 woman was a buyer. Verse 13 tells us "She seeks wool and flax."

She was an international trader. Verse 14 states, "She is like the merchant ships; she brings her food from afar."

She was a chef. Verse 15 tells us she "rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household."

She was also a real estate investor. Verse 16 says, "She considers a field and buys it." There is no hint of her husband being involved in her real estate dealings.

She was also a farmer. Verse 16 also says, "With her profits, she plants a vineyard." This also shows that she made her own financial decisions.

She is an astute business woman. Verse 18 tells us she "perceives that her merchandise is good." She can judge what is good and profitable for herself.

She was a weaver. Verse 19 says, "She stretches out her hand to the distaff; her hands hold the spindle."

She was a philanthropist. Verse 20 tells how she stretched out her hand to the poor and needy.

She was a seamstress. Verse 22 says "She makes tapestry for herself."

She was an entrepreneur. Verse 24 tells us she makes linen garments and sells them.

She was a merchant supplier. Verse 24 tells us, "She supplies sashes for the merchants."

In light of her vast career experience, I would say that the Proverbs 31 woman was a working woman. On a personal level, I am a stay-at-home mom and have been, for the most part, for 32 years. However, I am not a stay-at-home mom because I believe the Bible teaches that that is the only way. Far from it. I am a stay-at-home mom because I choose to be. However, I have always worked from home, as well as worked in the home.

I have run several businesses from my home, including a real estate investing business, a rental property business, a grief aftercare business, a retail business and my free lance writing work. I feel privileged to be able to work from home, but I am not superior in my choices. I admire women who work outside the home and well as in the home. I wanted to home school my kids and working outside the home would not have allowed that to happen. Again, this is not a superior choice.

This is old news. This is an old argument. I'm not giving new information here and I know that. I just hope it's a simple reminder that working women are not new, nor are they out of place or making wrong choices by working. We women started working from the beginning and we will work till the end. The poor men who are threatened by women in the work force should simply step up and make better choices for themselves. We women aren't going anywhere. When a man speaks out in a negative way about women working, he's only showing his weakness. We're not waiting for or asking for permission. We're just doing what we have done down through the ages. And we're doing it with our God's blessing.

~Tricia






Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Faith-Driven Plan Undone

Some thoughts on Mark 15:37 - 16:8

They started out with the best of intentions. They had watched Jesus die. They had seen Him get taken down from the cross. They saw where He was buried. They saw that a stone was rolled in front of the tomb. They saw it all. Three women on a mission.

They made a plan. Early in the morning, at sunrise, on the first day of the week, they met and brought spices they had purchased. They had a plan. They were going to anoint Jesus' dead body with the spices. They made their way to the tomb and while walking, they wondered aloud who was going to move the stone that was blocking the tomb entrance.

They had no idea how to move the stone. They had no idea if anyone was going to be around to move the stone. They faced this huge obstacle with one action: they kept going. They had a plan to anoint His body and even the fact that they had no access to the tomb He was in did not stop them from going anyway.

So, they got there. The large stone was already gone! It was completely moved out of the way!

They walked into the tomb, very likely still planning to anoint Jesus' body. A young man sat there and they were immediately afraid. He told them not to be afraid. He told them they sought Jesus. He told them Jesus was not there. He told them He was risen. They got a new assignment. They were told to go and tell the disciples that He had risen.

There would be no anointing of a dead body for there was no dead body to anoint.

Three women on a new mission.
Imagine such a mission!
Got obstacles?
Not a problem. They are nothing to God.
Keep moving. You will find your obstacles already moved.

Happy Resurrection Day!
~Tricia


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It Was a Baby

I recently met a Christian woman who is the mother of nine children. A mutual friend thought the two of us should meet since I am the mother of eight children. This mutual friend thought we would have a lot in common. Indeed.

Upon meeting this mother of nine, I mentioned that I really was the mother of nine, too, since we had lost our first baby. I told her I felt so privileged to be able to subsequently give birth to eight healthy people. To my mention of my loss, she said, "Oh...did you lose a pregnancy or a baby?"

Stunned, I said, "Well, um....I was pregnant...."

"Yeah," she said with the wave of her hand, "I lost a few pregnancies along the way, too."

That was the end of the conversation, but I have not been able to get it out of my head. Mainly, I'm disappointed in myself that I did not correct her and tell her that my pregnancy was a baby. I wanted to make her stop being dismissive and give me the nod of sympathy I deserved.

This is why, when I meet someone who has lost a baby while still pregnant, I look them in the eye and say, "I'm so sorry for your loss."

Losing a pregnancy is losing a baby. There is no way around that. I lost my first baby, not just my first pregnancy. I will never forget the devastation I felt and the hopeless feeling of failure that brought to me. It has been 33 years, yet I still remember those feelings very vividly.

But, I can't remember the name of that mother of nine I recently met.

Cherish every pregnancy as if there's real baby growing in there, because there is.
~Tricia


Thursday, April 10, 2014

What Are You Afraid Of?

What are you afraid of? No matter what it is, my latest e-book can help you see how much fear is not to be feared.  The Fear Manual contains a simple explanation of how fear works - and how you can make it ineffective in your life. Taking the upper hand with fear, you can take an offensive approach that causes fear to flee.

You CAN cause fear to stand down. You CAN live a life free of fear. You CAN know when it will come and be prepared.

~Tricia


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Provoked!

I have a dear friend who lives in South America. He's a pastor and a teacher and loves the Lord Jesus Christ and passionately lives for Him, spreading His Good News of soul-saving grace. This friend also provokes people. He provokes intentionally, methodically and often. Yes, he provokes people ON PURPOSE. He doesn't seem to care what others think of him, either. I am amazed by him.

Provoking people does not go well with modern-day Christian thinking. I read this article today on The Matt Walsh Blog and I have to say, I agree with nearly everything this man had to say. (The one comment I would take exception to is not part of this topic, so I'll let it lie for now.) Nice is being exalted above Truth in many, many churches and in the lives of many professing Christians.

How are we fulfilling The Great Commission if we are simply being nice? Being nice is subjective on all sides. What I might consider nice may not necessarily be considered nice by someone else. I've "nicely" told the truth to someone only to be accused of having the wrong body language, or not having a kind enough tone in my voice. Those things are all subjective. I had no guile in my tone; the hearer read their own dissatisfaction into my tone.

We can be nice.....which might make people around us happy.....but they will be happy all the way to Hell and that is completely unacceptable.

I want to become more like my provoking friend. He told me about his brother-in-law, how that brother-in-law was an unbeliever. He said, "I provoked my brother-in-law every time I saw him. I kept on provoking him. He got angry sometimes, but I kept provoking him. Then, one day, he believed on Jesus. You can be sure he's glad I did not give up on provoking him."

Do you love people? Provoke them.
~Tricia

Monday, March 31, 2014

Looking for Truth (In All the Wrong Places)

I read a passionately written blog post about the new movie, Noah, which is now out in theaters. The blog author was so disappointed in the movie that he left in utter shock and disbelief, before the movie ended. He wondered what had happened to America and asked how they (America) could twist this movie so far from the truth. He also said he regretted not doing his research on the movie ahead of time because through his research, he would have learned that the film's director is a self-professed atheist.

I don't mean to minimize that blogger's pain over this movie, but I do have to ask, what did he expect? We simply cannot expect the world to represent God's Truth, no matter what we might hope. It seems this blogger hoped for a Biblical view - out of Hollywood - and condemns all of America for the film's inability to resemble Truth.

As an American, I have to take issue with that. Not all Americans would approve of this film. Some of us wouldn't go see it and didn't need to do a lot of research to make that decision. "America" as in, all of America, did not make this movie. A group of anti-God evolutionists made this movie.

Without a lot of research, I made my decision not to go see the film based on the following facts:

It comes out of Hollywood, this is enough to know that it will not resemble Truth.
It was created for entertainment purposes. Entertainment; not Truth.
It was created for money. That's what Hollywood wants; money. That's the entire bottom line.

Not all Americans approve of this type of "entertainment." For me, I'll keep my $12.95 (the cost of a movie in my town), as well as my $3.98 (the cost of an on demand movie in my living room) and look for Truth in the right places....the Word of God.

Christians, don't go looking for Truth in all the wrong places. We don't need to do a lot of research to know that this film is not Biblical, will not have a Biblical message and will utterly disappoint if we think otherwise. If you do go see the movie, realize it's entertainment, not Truth, that you are viewing.

~Tricia

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I'm Not There for You

Recently, I've seen a good number of articles and blog posts about why certain people are no longer going to church. Most of the reasons have to do with outside influence. Many are discouraged because they see hypocrites in the church. Many don't feel that others in the church are being "real," especially if they worship in what has become known as western traditional worship. Others forsake church because they don't feel the church meets their needs or the needs of their children and family. Still others are trying to get away from all tradition and not allow their faith to be put into a box of expectation which they feel the church represents. And, finally, some stop going to church because they are busy judging whether or not we (those of us who are there) are real or not in our faith.

I go to church. Ever since I was redeemed by the blood of Christ, I have gone to church. But, I'm not there for you.. I'm not there for me, either. I'm there for Him. He said not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. (Hebrews 10:25)

I go to church for God, not for you. I'm there out of obedience, even when I don't feel like it. And, yes, there are times I don't feel like it. Believe me, I've been a pastor's wife for more than 30 years, I've seen and heard it all and there have been times I did not want to go because of what people were doing/saying. But, I went even at those times because I didn't go for them.

It's good and right to not go to a church that preaches or teaches a false doctrine, but that can't be used as an excuse to forsake church altogether. Simply find a church that does teach and preach sound doctrine. They are out there. Make the doctrines of Truth your priority in finding a church, not what programs they may or may not have.

It's good and right to go to church out of simple obedience. There's power and strength in doing the right thing just for the sake of doing the right thing. Simple obedience can't be underestimated. In I Samuel 15, we read of King Saul's disobedience and God's rejection of him as king as a result. Samuel said to Saul, "To obey is better than sacrifice..." Read that account. We clearly see God's emphasis on obedience. Saul's reasoning behind his own rebellion was because he feared the people more than he listened to God, by his own admission. (verse 24)

Don't go for others. Don't go for yourself. Go for God. Go because He said to go. Go because the church is His vehicle to spread the gospel. (Matthew 16:18) Go because He has chosen the foolishness of preaching (the message preached) to save them that believe (I Corinthians 1:21).

~Tricia



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bullied Into Bullying

At a really rough time in my life, a man, the pastor of a nearby church, hurt me deeply. He stood up in front of an entire group of people and told lies about me, my husband and a ministry I had undertaken. I was so hurt and so completely disillusioned about this that I honestly didn't know what to do. I left that particular ministry as it had fallen into apostasy, but my relationship with that pastor, a colleague, remained strained.

Life went on. People went back to their lives and this was put on the back burner. There were times I would see the man who hurt me and I never really knew what to do or say to him, so I tended to avoid him altogether. One day, at a conference we'd both attended, I accidentally said hello to him. I was leaving a building as he was coming in and neither of us saw each other until we were face to face. I am friendly and say hello even to strangers, so I automatically said, "Hello!" in a cheerful voice, only to realize who he was. I was very frustrated with myself because I thought he would take my greeting to mean that all was well between us. All was not well between us, and couldn't be until the situation was at least talked out. But, I could not demand an apology, nor could I really approach him at that point; he had closed that door. I prayed. That is all I ever did about this. I simply prayed.

Several years later, my husband was at a meeting which this man also attended. He approached my husband and apologized for his part in the hurt that took place. He said he was under so much pressure from others involved that he really had no concept or comprehension of how his actions would affect me. He said those others literally hounded him until he didn't know which way to think and he'd given in to their demands to try to discredit me. He told my husband he felt very bad about how things ended, that he never believed the lies he, himself told and he said he was very sorry. They shook hands and the relationship was restored. Even though I was not there to hear and receive his apology myself, I accepted it and have felt at peace with him since.

No hard feelings remain. This man was wrong, no doubt, but there was clearly more going on behind the scenes than I realized. I had no idea he was being bullied like he was. I had no idea that he really did not agree with his bullies, but felt he had no choice but to stand with them or face their anger. He was fearful of the consequences of not standing with them. He was fearful of standing for what he told us later was right. When the cloud of bullying had lifted, this man saw clearly where he had weakened under their pressure. I honestly felt bad for him and ended up with compassion in my heart toward him instead of the hurt I originally had.

He was bullied into bullying. He saw no way out of being bullied but to go along with the demands of his bullies and turn on me. Later, when he told my husband how sorry he was, I realized that the cloud of bullying was very thick around him. He had never learned the language of bullies. He had never been taught about their tactics and how they work. So, he had no idea he was bullied into bullying. It wasn't until much later that he saw what he had done, and then he was appalled and ashamed.

His intention was never to hurt or bully me as he did. His entire intent  was to get relief from those who were bullying and pressuring him. It had nothing whatsoever to do with me, yet it affected me deeply. He did not lean on this as a way to justify or excuse his behavior.

So, this man has my forgiveness. Although I now live across the country and will likely never see him again, I do understand what he went through and I have compassion. Had he not come forward about his situation, however, I would not have had the opportunity to see what he'd been through. While his intent was never to hurt me, he did hurt me, so it was good that he acknowledged and owned that, with no strings attached. His true repentance, even though he had no ill intentions, was important to the relationship moving on. He had to own it first, then forgiveness and restoration was automatic. He never once said, "I'm sorry, but....." He said he was sorry, period; he owned it, and only then did he tell my husband what was going on behind the scenes, what he was reacting to.

Don't allow bullies to bully you into bullying. That's one of their goals. They do not like to work alone; they like to get you on their side and they have satisfaction when you bully as they bully.  It's comforting to them because they perceive your behavior as approval for their own. You do not have to react to a bully by bullying others. This man learned this the hard way.

The joy - and yes, there is joy - comes when a hurting heart is suddenly moved from pain to compassion.

Imagine that.
~Tricia