Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Little Man Eats Dirt

 I just read a brief article about how some blogger criticized Ann Romney for having "another book" out on the market. On Your World with Neil Cavuto, Ann responded,

"To this blogger, I say: you know what? Don’t get in my way. Don’t say I can’t do something. I can write as many books as I want. And I can speak out as much as I want,"

Way to go, Ann! My first thought was to wonder who this guy is. My second was to ask who does he think he is.

It's interesting to note that I know who Ann Romney but had never heard of her critic. Who is this guy? Why is he so jealous of Ann Romney? I applaud and support her for writing all the books she wants and speaking out as much as she wants.

Here's the poor little man's tweet:

Kudos to Ann for writing about her MS and speaking out for those who suffer the same yet have no voice.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

How Michelle Duggar Helped Fuel her Son's Infidelity

I work with and help people in abusive situations and I long ago recognized the Duggars as abusive.

In previous blog posts, I mentioned how Josh was a victim of his father's obsession with sex. Jim Duggar could not go one episode of their TV show without mentioning or referring to sex in some way. Even recently, with their show cancelled, he made a cringe-worthy comment on a vlog at a family friend's wedding. He does not get it.

Josh's mom, Michelle Duggar has also fueled a sex addiction for her son. She has repeatedly stated that men have a "need" for sex and advises wives to never, ever say no to sex with their husband, even if they are tired or not feeling well. She said, "Anyone can make him a sandwich, but only the wife can fulfill that physical need for love he has."

No, no, no. Sex is not a need. There is no such thing as a "physical need for love." Josh was openly taught that he needed this. When this turns into a need, a  young man like Josh, who has had no introduction to the world whatsoever, can only see that "need" and will seek to fulfill it in any way he can, in or out of marriage. He was never taught where to draw the line. He was not taught what the Bible says about this; he was taught what Bill Gothard says about this.

He was raised in a patriarchal society where men are always in charge and women are always submissive. Michelle's teachings fit right in....if he wants sex, he gets sex, no matter what. They even excused his reprehensible behavior of molesting his sleeping sisters by saying "this happens a lot" in homes. No. No it doesn't.

This is the exact opposite of what Jesus teaches. It's beyond me how women can sit under that teaching and nod their heads in agreement while they feel all godly doing it. They are nodding to oppression. They are nodding to abuse. They are nodding to the demise of the family they so long for and hold dear. Strong women who stand up to oppression and abuse make for strong families. Women who hide behind a faux-godly facade with a submissive pose do not make for strong families. They belie the very family they are trying to create.

Jesus teaches that men are to love their wives sacrificially. Always sacrificing their felt needs for the benefit of their wife. Always. Jesus, Himself, was the ultimate example of this, sacrificing His life on the cross for us all.

However, this is not an excuse for Josh's behavior. The Bible teaches us that we sin because we are drawn away of our own lusts and enticed. (James 1:14)

The Duggars have stated that "many" people have struggled like Josh and they have taken comfort in this. How odd for professing Christians to take comfort in the sin of others.

Anna Duggar's father stated that "King David had an affair," which is also disturbing because he
appears to justify Josh's actions. King David paid dearly for his sins in the loss of his and Bathsheba's son. King David also owned his sin and did not bring up the sins of others in an attempt to justify or minimize it.

I fear for the Duggar family and the remaining children because all the kids, boys included, were taught what Josh was taught. The boys were (are) taught that they need sex and the girls are taught to provide it without exception.

If you study the FLDS cult in OK and UT, you will see very similar teachings. While the Duggars, as far as we know, do not practice polygamy, many of their teachings are the very same as Warren Jeff's, the FLDS leader imprisoned for child rape and sexual assault. Men lead and take charge, women submit, always, in everything, no exceptions, right down to their hair style and clothes.

Because the Duggar's erroneous teachings have been so public, it deserves a public admonishment. Women, stop taking a back seat in your marriages and in your homes. Yes, we are to submit, as the Bible says, to our own husbands, but that is all. And, your husband cannot make you submit; your submission is between you and God and no one else. Submission, by its very definition, is voluntary; no one but God has any say in your submission.

More than the Bible teaches submission of wives, It teaches submission of all people to all other people. Ephesians 5:22 is often cited as a powerful verse for marriage, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord," but the previous verse is often ignored, "submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." We don't get to take one portion of a passage of Scripture and not the rest. When you take Ephesians 5 in its full context, it's teaching submission to one another. The previous verses (18-20) are talking about being filled with the spirit, not drunk with wine, and speaking to each other in psalms and hymns and singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord and giving thanks. 

It's so interesting that the Duggars teach that men "need" sex because the Bible does not teach this. This is secular humanistic teaching. I Corinthians 5:7 admonishes couples, not just wives, "Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." As you can clearly see, this verse speaks of mutuality. The husband is not to call the shots any more than the wife is. His desires are not put before hers, but they are mutual. For more mutuality in marriage, read Song of Solomon. The bride and bridegroom equally pursue one another. There is no male "need" for sex taught in Scripture. 

I fear for the Duggar children. I fear for the many who sat under the Duggars' teachings at conferences, church events and seminars. Oppression of women is not easily overcome. It gets into a woman's mindset about herself, her relationship to others and, most importantly, her relationship with God. 

People, this is not what fundamental Christianity is about. This is not what the Bible is about. This is not what Jesus Christ is about. The Duggars and other like them fail to see what the Bible says. They follow "principles" they've learned from some other person, not Christ. 

Look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith. 
Throw away your Biblical principles and look to Jesus.
So-called Biblical principles will lead you down sin's road, either by blatant sin or pride of not sinning outwardly. 
Either way, you lose and your family loses.
Look to Jesus.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Cat Was Out of Food

So, this morning, our cat, Oliver, was out of food. I saw a piece of broccoli on the floor next to a dish of milk. I commented to my daughter that she was being really nice to Oliver by giving him milk. That is not an everyday thing. She told me he was out of food. Now, I knew he was low on food, but I plan to go grocery shopping tomorrow and thought his food would last another day. I was wrong. He had eaten it all.

So, I ran into the grocery store after dropping my daughter off at her job, which happens to be at that same grocery store, and I bought a big bag of cat food.

Upon getting home, I put the bag down just inside the door so I could put my keys on the shelf where they belong, kick off my shoes and put my wallet and sunglasses away. Oliver went berzerk over that bag of cat food. He kept whining around it, then walking over to the basement door, trying to lead me to the basement where his food dish is kept. Because it takes a minute to put things away and take off my shoes, things were not moving fast enough for him and he repeated his actions several times before I finally picked up the bag and started to follow him downstairs.

At the bottom of the stairs is our home office and my craft space. His food dish is behind the stairs. I stopped at my craft desk to cut the bag of cat food open and Oliver almost had a heart attack. He could not believe I had stopped and had not gone directly to his food dish. He circled around me and the chair the bag of food was on, then kept trying to lead me to his food dish. Well, it takes a few seconds to cut the bag open, but he had no tolerance for what he seemed to think was my snail's pace.

When I cut the bag open, he nearly jumped out of his skin because the smell was so much stronger. After a few short meows, he seemed relieved that I was finally picking up the opened bag and walking over to his dish. As soon as I poured some of the food into his dish, he attacked it with gusto, making it spill over the sides and make a mess. He didn't care. He acted as though he was starving to death and could not get enough food fast enough.

Literally two minutes later, he was lounging around upstairs like all was right with his world again.


This is exactly how I feel right now about the lack of expository preaching we're finding in our search for a church home. We are working to plant a church, but, in the meantime we need a church home. We have had a very hard time finding a church that is preaching the Word. They are standing up in their pulpits putting cold broccoli and milk on the floor while we are starving for good, chewable food that will feed our souls.

We've heard preachers actually preach out of someone's book, not the Bible. We've seen preachers not even take a Bible into their pulpits. We've heard preachers say things like, "Jesus is a replica of God. If you put God in the copy machine, Jesus will come out the other end." (No, no....Jesus IS God, not a replica of God.) We've heard preachers take a passage of Scripture completely out of context to fit their point.

This is exhausting.
We are in a famine.

Let me tell you preachers something. I am not interested in what you think or feel about the Bible. I am interested in what God says in His Word. He manifests His Word through preaching, but preaching is not defined by what you want it to be. Preaching is expounding what God has said, not what you think about what God has said. Expository preaching is the only real type of preaching. If it's not expository, it's not preaching; it's just a speech.

I can relate to Oliver.
We will continue our quest to find a church that is really preaching the Word.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Cancer Killers Strike Again

As many of you know, my husband was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, specifically B-Cell Lymphoma, and he's been undergoing chemotherapy. His last chemo treatment was July 21 and just this past week, he was declared to be in remission. We are thrilled! We knew he could beat this thing, but it was not without its setbacks. A serious blood infection landed him back at The Johns Hopkins Hospital for a full eight days, not to mention he's still having some side-effects of chemo.

Cancer is rough. The treatments left him without energy, hair, clarity of thinking and motivation, yet he went to work daily (when not in the hospital) and still preached twice every Sunday like he always does. I think it's incredibly remarkable that he was able to keep up on work and preaching and we as a family gave him room to rest and sleep with no expectation of participation. He was able to join us for dinner most nights, but that was all.

Now, however, his hair is growing back, his energy is returning and his doctors told us we can finally exhale. He'll follow up with blood work every three months for a year while they monitor his remission and he still has to give himself abdominal shots twice daily till the end of this month, but we are now getting on with life.

They are cancer killers at Johns Hopkins and we feel very fortunate that he was able to get his treatment there. They are top-rated and we can see why. His team of seven oncologists attacked his case with gusto and confidence, giving us confidence in turn. His nurse cares deeply and stayed late for him when his treatments took longer than expected. All their wisdom comes from our living God.

And the bill. I want to talk candidly about the bill. As of right now, his medical bills are over $200,000.00 and we do not....I repeat do NOT.....have health insurance. We have something better. We have something so much better that I wish all my friends had it, too. We have full, 100% coverage and we do not have to think twice about these bills. Johns Hopkins Hospital sends us a bill and we send them a check, just like that. And, no, we're not wealthy.

We belong to Samaritan Ministries, a Biblical, non-insurance approach to health care and it tops every health insurance plan I've ever seen. We published our bills to Samaritan and they notified other members and those members sent their "share" (monthly payment) right to our house, allowing us to pay the bills ourselves and completely cut out the middle man altogether. No red tape. Very small deductible ($300), which was absorbed by doctors giving us self-pay discounts, and no worries about how we are going to pay these bills.

And, to top it off, each member who mailed a check also sent a note of encouragement with the promise of prayers. We have a huge stack of envelopes with the notes and each and every one has encouraged us along the way. Some have brought us to tears. Some have sent extra gifts to lighten the load of cancer and the toll it takes. One family sent a restaurant gift card and told us to try to go out and enjoy an evening out...and we did. The prayers were heard, and answered. And we know that more than these Samaritan members prayed and are still praying. We are confident our God hears and is answering.

Samaritan is the way to go. We have not had to worry about thousands of dollars in deductibles or thousands in a percentage we would have to pay. The members of Samaritan pay it all. All we have to do, after we publish the need with Samaritan, is deposit the checks, then write a check to the hospital. It sounds too good to be true, but we are living it and it's all true.

Johns Hopkins was not used to this. For months they called once a week to ask for our insurance information and we told them over and over that we do not have insurance, but that if they will send the bill to us, we will pay it. They would reply, "What? Send the bill to your house?" The billing department was not prepared to do that, but I think they should get used to it as more and more people need to join up with Samaritan Ministries and knock the health insurance industry - and, yes, it is an industry - for a loop.

Some of the checks we've received are large, sent by organizations and churches who purchase Samaritan for their staff. This is open to companies, not just individuals.

We met people who could not get their needed tests or medical care because their insurance company would not approve it. This is unthinkable. No such nonsense exists with Samaritan Ministries. If you need an MRI, you get an MRI. If you need an $8,000.00 PET scan, you can get it. We did not have to postpone or get approval for any test. If the doctors ordered it, we got it. No phone calls for approval, no waiting for someone in an office somewhere to consider it.

We praise God for leading us to Samaritan Ministries. We praise God for their wisdom in handling health care in such an efficient and tangible way. We praise God for remission!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The First of the Last (My Top 10 Favorite things about Home Schooling)

Today is the first day of our last year of home schooling. This year will complete 29 years of home educating my offspring.

When I started, I had four kids. My oldest was 5 years old, my youngest 8 months. I started our home school in 1987, a time when not that many people were home schooling. We got a lot of questions if we were out during the day. I welcomed every question and was happy to answer them because I felt very privileged to be able to home school.

Learning came naturally to all my kids, which made home schooling one of the easiest things I've ever done. I learned early on that each one of the kids learned best at their own pace and this took all the pressure off to meet some criteria set by the world. I let them learn their way whenever I could. They naturally fell into a learning routine that really set the pace for all the kids as they came along and grew.

Learning became part of life, not limited to school hours. We learned how to incorporate official learning into everything we did, giving credit-worthy validity to every day. On trips, they learned to read a map and navigate. They learned to observe as we played games on the road with the landscape around us, along with other cars and road signs. They learned harmony as we sang on road trips.

In light of all this, and in light of the blog post I wrote a few years ago about 25 things I learned in 25 years of home schooling, I want to share my top ten favorite things about home schooling:

1. I got to spend all day every day with my kids, my favorite people on the planet.

2. My kids learned to be independent thinkers, not ones that go along with the herd. I think this is one major key to anyone's success.

3. We loved not being bound by a school schedule. We could vacation while the rest of the world went to school.

4. Learning is a lifestyle, not at all limited to the formal class room.

5. No homework, ever.

6. We got to teach theology with no restrictions.

7. The kids got to interact more with adults than with kids their own age. This is a huge benefit to home schooling.

8. The kids were able to pursue their own interests and I could tailor their curriculum to meet their individual needs.

9. The kids got school credit for making dinner or baking cookies.

10. No school on birthdays.

There you have it, my top 10 favorite things about home schooling.
As I made this list, I had to force myself to keep the list to 10 things because there are many, many more things I love about home schooling.
Next September, it will be very odd for me to not be starting classes yet again.
So, this last year of our home school, I will savor every moment, as I've tried to do for the past 28 years.
If you're thinking about home schooling, by all means, do it.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Goodbye My Friend

There are so few people who know how to be real friends. I've had people in my life who called themselves friends, but when times got tough or we disagreed on something, they flew away, unable to hold true to their own declaration of friendship.

In the summer of 1977, I met Eldon Brock. He was the director of the Regular Baptist Camp of Lake Ann, Michigan, and I went there as a counselor. Before I got there, I had never been to camp before in my life. I had no idea how to be a camper, let alone a counselor, but Eldon believed in me because of my testimony of faith in Jesus Christ. Most of the people in our circles knew my husband long before they met me, but that wasn't true of Eldon Brock. I knew him first.

A few incidents stand out from my summer at Lake Ann, but nothing more drastically than the fact that Eldon Brock believed in me. He listened to me. I'm talking about looking me in the eye and really listening as though what I had to say had validity. He listened to every word I ever said to him as though he had all the time in the world just for me.

This blew me away and I have never forgotten. He was the camp director, I was nearly a waif, new in my Christian walk and not even knowing the "language" of Christianity, yet he was so incredibly kind. He treated me as an equal, not someone under him. My respect for him was sealed at Lake Ann.

Life gets full and busy and I moved on from Lake Ann, got married and had a couple quivers full of children. But, I have never forgotten how kind Eldon Brock was to me.

In the past few years, my husband got to experience a deep friendship with Eldon through E-TEM, Ethnic to Ethnic Ministries, which Eldon founded. David serves on the board of directors for E-TEM and so often, the two of them would have long, encouraging phone calls. Eldon called him just two weeks before he died and further encouraged us both through that phone call.

We got the email from Eldon's daughter, Eldonna, on August 25 that he had died. He'd known his time was coming and told us. I've never known that people could die with such grace.
I miss him already.
He had the youngest, most energetic vision for ministry I have ever seen.
He never grew tired of truly listening.
What a rare, rare friend, indeed.
Goodbye for now, my friend. We will see you again.
Until then, I will miss you and your constantly positive influence in my life.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Biblical Principles Don't Work

For years, Jim and Michelle Duggar told the reality TV world that they rear their children by Biblical principles and they said, more than once, that these principles work to produce godly children.

Then their world caved in when their oldest son's sins of pornography, adultery, lying and hypocrisy surfaced. What happened to the Biblical principles they reared him by? Many people have said, "No one is perfect," but do we really want to bypass what's going on by hiding behind our own sin and declaring what is already obvious?

Biblical principles don't work when it comes to human hearts. Biblical principles are man-made, feed the ego, fuel sin and give those who practice them a false sense of godliness. When I hear someone say they practice Biblical principles for living and raising a family, I cringe.

Now, I know I've created The Priscilla Principle, so this blog post might make me sound like a hypocrite, but I'm not advocating living by Biblical principles with The Priscilla Principle, it's simply a Bible study guide that is meant to keep the Scripture the center of your Bible study instead of mankind's ideas. The Priscilla Principle is not a set of principles to live by, it's simply a Bible study method that discards mankind's ideas about what the Bible says. There is no comparison to the "Biblical principles" the Duggars tout. The Priscilla Principle does not apply any "principles to live by" to your life. It won't tell you what to wear, how to style your hair, whether you should watch TV or not, etc.

I've seen Biblical principles fail before the Duggar scandal hit. I once had a friend who believed Biblical principles could not fail. She thought that as long as she lived by this set of principles which she believed came from the Bible, she would not fail, her kids would not fail and a victorious life would be hers. Trouble is, my friend and all her family members were sinners. She forgot about that when she adopted these Biblical principles and she devoted her entire life to living by these principles.

When she and I talked about these things, she often put these principles out there and would tell me that as long as she raised her kids by these principles, they would grow up to be godly. She said they couldn't fail because God cannot fail and since they lived by "His" principles, they could not fail. She warned me to raise my kids by Biblical principles.

She wore the skirts. She banned TV. She deprived herself of nice things in the name of humility. She reveled in suffering inconvenience, feeling super godly. When my stove broke once during a visit from her and her family, she said, "Oh! You're just like a missionary, suffering for Jesus!" I called a repair man and ended my "suffering." She spiritualized everything she heard, did, said and felt. She was convinced her life was godly and that her kids and husband were godly and that everything they did would see wild success and they would win many, many people to Christ through their victorious, principled living.

Then one day, she locked herself in a shed and set it on fire.
Utter failure. No return. I was devastated and grieve not having her in my life to this day.

If we don't live by Biblical principles, how do we live?

We have to throw away Biblical principles and the man-made standards we think so highly of.
We have to run to the Gospel every single day.

I recently heard a missionary woman give a testimony about her ministry. She said, "We love getting together for Bible studies. I mean, so many times we don't even open a Bible, we just talk about last week's sermon and what we learned from it. I mean, do we really need more Bible knowledge? No! We just need to apply what we've already learned."

I was taken aback. I applaud this woman's lack of hypocrisy in publicly stating that she no longer needs Bible knowledge and doesn't open her Bible at a Bible study, but she's fully embraced Secular Humanism and is headed for a bad fail.

After we throw away Biblical principles, we are free to throw ourselves on the mercy of our Christ and, like Isaiah in Isaiah 6:5, and realize our constant need for the Gospel of God. We need to realize that when James says in James 1:14 that "a person sins when they are drawn away by their own lust and enticed," he's telling the truth and no amount of modesty is going to change that. We have to throw ourselves on the mercy of Christ and not Biblical principles.

I firmly believe Biblical principles, and modern "Bible study books" that teach them, are Secular Humanism in practice. These principles have opened the door of our churches to Secular Humanism and it has come in and gotten very comfortable. It has gotten so comfortable that people don't even recognize it. Instead, they look for principles in the lives of others and even call them out if they think they are not living by what they think are Biblical principles.

The Duggars live by Bill Gothard's principles and Bill has gotten himself into a lot of trouble by sexually harassing and molesting young women repeatedly for years. This is further evidence of the pitfall of perceived Biblical principles.

People cannot create godliness through what they think are Biblical principles.
No matter how many times you post your Bible study online for all to see, it will not produce godliness in you.
We are all without hope in ourselves, ready to lock the shed door and set it on fire.
There is only hope in Jesus Christ, the Giver of life.

Read your Bible.
Observe what It says without speculation.
Interpret It in Its own context without speculation.

Do not, I repeat, do not apply It to your life. The Holy Spirit does not need your help or input.

This burden to rid the church of Secular Humanism often fuels my blogging in hopes that I can help prevent another devastating loss like that of my dear friend who ended her life in the fiery shed.

Biblical principles are Secular Humanism. They need to be rejected in favor of the Gospel.