Thursday, December 30, 2010


Although some see the first day of the year as an extraordinary “new beginning,” I really don’t view it as being different than any other day. In fact, Thomas Mann clearly describes my prespective on marking the passage of time,

Time has no divisions to mark its passage,
there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets
to announce the beginning of a new month or year.
Even when a new century begins
it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols.

I do love new beginnings, though, …when God does it that is! For it is our Father who “makes all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Through the working of His Spirit, “a new birth” is conceived! A “new person” is created (Eph. 4:24, Col 3:10)!

Did you catch that? Our creator didn’t do a “patch up” job. He created a new being! Those who are His are human, but they are a totally new “breed” of human! There are two different “species” of man, if you will. The heart and spirit of the first “species” is different from that of the new!

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit in you and
move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
Ezekiel 36:26

Many argue over whether or not we have free-will or if God chooses us. It seems that what gets in the way of our understanding is that we fail to consider that there are these two “species” of man:

• The man with a heart of stone cannot love God.
o However, the man to whom God gives a new heart is capable.
• The man upon whom God’s Spirit does not move cannot follow His decrees. His absolute corruption makes this impossible. He has no desire for God.
o However, with a new heart and God’s Spirit, the new creature has a new attitude (Ephesians 4:23). The desire and the power to follow God’s law is available to the one upon whom God has moved.

What is God’s law for His new creature? The new law is to love (John 13:34). Is the new creature’s love for God “forced” by God, thus not genuine, as some suggest? No! The new creature chooses to love God because that is his nature! Isn’t it the created nature of all mankind to have the ability to choose God? Obviously not, or every man would! Instead, our Creator designed only the new ‘breed” with this priceless ability. “This can’t be! That’s unfair!” some say.

If God, as the Creator, chooses to place the ability to love Him in one “breed” but not the other, isn’t that His prerogative? We don’t consider it unfair because He didn’t plant the ability to love in a cow! Why do we get in a quandary when it is suggested that He planted the ability to love in His new “breed” of man, but not the old?

Manmade “new beginnings” are only deceptions.
Truly, what counts is a New creation
(Galatians 6:15)!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Spirituality - A More Pure Celebration of the Gift

When my husband, Gary shared with me an analogy that the Lord had placed upon his heart regarding the mixing of good and evil in our celebration of Christ’s birth, I felt strongly that it was meant to be shared with others. So…I invited him to share it with you….

CHRISTMAS!--Just the mention of that word has always brought a stirring of excitement within me. The reasons for that have changed and matured over the years. The typical anticipation of a child lost in a super-charged wonderland of special sounds, smells, sights, activities, music, cookies and gifts eventually morphed into a busy pastor's concern to help others anticipate the wonder of God's gift from heaven which alone brings help and hope in an often dark and challenging world.

In recent years, however, less busyness and fewer responsibilities have provided time for a genuinely deeper reflection and more careful observation of all this seasonal holiday activity. As a result, the word "Christmas" stirs more sadness than excitement. A recent conversation helped to bring into more clarity the reason for this shift of emotion. A story was shared among several of us about a woman who serves both as an ordained Christian pastor as well as a faithfully practicing Muslim. We all were horrified, recognizing that such an attempt at mixing two contradictory beliefs could only weaken, cheapen and ultimately destroy the effectiveness of what is true. However, I saw there a parallel to our modern observance of Christmas.

I certainly have no desire to be a "bah! humbug!" Scrooge, but I do believe that some words of caution are in order for those of us who honor the Name of Jesus as our King and Lord.

There is no denying that worldly greed and pleasure-seeking,
along with heathen fantasy have been mixed with
the pure thanksgiving for
the wonderfully supreme gift from the God of the universe,
sent to us in His Son,
Is it possible to mix these without cheapening the gift and dishonoring our God?

Several years ago, Bonnie and I began to re-evaluate and re-design our celebration of Christ's birth, removing those things which distracted from what is true and pure. We were absolutely shocked to discover how thoroughly this worldliness had infected us and how deeply we had been dishonoring our King.

We concluded that even such seemingly innocent inventions as Santa, the elves, Christmas trees, Frosty and Rudolf had to go. Next we jettisoned many of our "favorite" Christmas carols, movies and stories which had nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. Decorations, gift-giving, and card-sending all came under scrutiny in the effort to purge the "evil" from the "pure" in our home and lives. Many believe and tell us that we have become too radically extreme in all of this; perhaps so. However, the Bible, from beginning to ending, demonstrates that our God is also radically extreme about the dangers of mixing the worldly with the holy. May this word of caution become an encouragement for all of us to more seriously evaluate "Christmas" and bring us to a deeper, purer celebration of the wonderful gift that injected the glories of heaven into our world and lives.

"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
We have seen His glory, the glory of the ONE and ONLY,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
- John 1:14

Gary & Bonnie Jaeckle

Thursday, December 16, 2010

THE CHURCH : A Living Organism or a Legal Organization

Christian groups of nearly every variety have obtained a “tax exempt, non-profit status.” It is often believed that unless this label is acquired that the group is untrustworthy. In fact, some are taught that a religious establishment must obtain this status in order to “legally” exist.

In actuality, it is the right, guaranteed by the Constitution, of any religious group to operate free of the corrupting and compromising influence and control of the State:

Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion
prohibiting the free exercise thereof…!

Additionally, according the Internal Revenue Code, “a church, its integrated auxiliaries, and conventions and associations of the church are excluded from taxation.” United States Code, Title 26, 508(c)(1)(A). Section 508, subsections (a), (b) and (c) shows that religious groups do not need to “notify the Secretary” to be treated like a tax exempt organization!

What baffles me is why any Christian group would seek unity with a worldly government when it so obviously goes against what the Church stands for. The work of the Holy Spirit is a ministry of the Body of Jesus which is a living organism. We must wake up to the reality that when we seek to establish His Body as an incorporated organization, we are subordinating ourselves and His work, in a covenant relationship, to the civil government!

“A corporation derives its existence and all of its powers from the State and, therefore, has only such powers as the State has conferred upon it…the source of this power is the charter and the statute under which the corporation was organized.” - Len Young Smith and G. Gale Roberson, Smith and Roberson’s Business Law, West publishing Company, 1966, page 796.

The church is not a “corporation” (a “legal entity”)!
It is a living, breathing organism!

Many religious groups seek to establish a “tax exempt” status believing that this is the only way that those making contributions to it can receive tax deductions for their gifts.
Even if this were true, why would we desire to compromise by seeking “privileges and benefits” from a worldly government?

Are we not entering into a covenant with pagan powers when we sign a contract uniting ourselves with a worldly government (Exodus 23:32; 34:12)? According to the Supreme Court, organizations with 501(c)(3) status are restricted from any communication which “intends to, prevail upon, indoctrinate, convert, induce, or in any other way influence a recipient or any section of the public within the United States.” We must understand that by signing this oath we are agreeing to remain silent about that which Scripture tells us to proclaim ( 2 Tim 4: 2)!

Jesus never delegated His authority to rule in the affairs of His church to the civil jurisdiction. The ecclesia has been called out of the world’s political and religious system.

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,

2 Corinthians 6:14-18


Thursday, December 9, 2010


Have you ever noticed that the people of God seem to have as much difficulty resolving issues in their lives as unbelievers? Gossip, immorality, harshness, addictions, deception, impatience, selfishness, etc., are often as prominent among those claiming to be of Christ than those who do not!

Throughout the years, I have counseled a multitude of people, mostly Christians. Although I saw the powerful hand of God move in many lives, it seemed that there were almost always barriers to the deeper levels of healing which I knew God intended. In fact, there are issues in my life that I just can’t seem to get beyond. I’ve often wondered if there is any hope of deeper healing this side of heaven!

Although I’ve frequently sought the Lord for answers, it wasn’t until recently that I’ve recognized the missing link:

there is limited healing in the Church,
there is minimal community among God’s people!

During my years of counseling, I quickly became aware that those sitting in pews are often hurting, but their Christian “family” typically had no clue. Because most of us have been programmed to believe that “good Christians” are supposed to “have their act together,” we rarely admit otherwise fearing that we’ll be perceived as a “back-slider” at best or not Christian at all! This apprehension leads to isolation and loneliness.

It’s common practice to wear the “plastic smile” for the weekly hour while in the presence of “family members” who know little about what goes on behind the scenes in our lives. However, it wouldn’t take long when living in close community, before the mess which often exists behind the fa├žade is identified. It is through this life of transparency that our unhealthy behaviors are more likely to be exposed and confronted for what they are. It is here where the Holy Sprit most often does His deep and abiding work.

There are always “sandpaper people” in life who are difficult for us to deal with. It is these precious individuals whom God places in our lives to expose our rough edges and whom He uses to smooth them out! While it’s bearable to tolerate them once a week for a few minutes; it’s yet another thing to “deal with them” on a regular basis! However, it is through the close and on-going fellowship of community with them that our sinful nature is exposed in order for the necessary healing to take place!

Gary and I recognize that there are issues in our lives that we’ve learned to “sweep under the rug.” Sadly, this seems easier than digging to the core and allowing the noxious invaders to be uprooted. However, in a community setting Family members would eventually bump the rug and the “piles of dirt” would no longer go unattended! Having them exposed certainly wouldn’t be pleasant! Yet, Jesus never promised that purification would be easy!

I believe that, thankfully, there is hope for pervasive healing this side of heaven! However, it may only be found in the unity of His Body. Father desires for the world to see His glory. Yet, John 7:23 reminds us that its fullness can only be recognized in the close fellowship of His Family.

I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity,
so that the world may know that You sent Me,
and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

The level of intimacy among Christians determines, to a large extent the level of healing within the Body of Christ. “Every healthy group is therapeutic . . . . Community groups should be therapeutic, inasmuch as they assist members to grow to the fullness of their life in Christ” (Hammett & Sofield, Searching Together, 24:3, 1996, p.4).

“People need to see a group of persons, motivated by the gospel and their love of God, who live in such a way that loneliness and alienation are dispelled” (Hammett & Sofield, PP.2-3).


Thursday, December 2, 2010


Not only have millions of hand sanitizer dispensers been placed in checkout lines, restaurants, schools and health-care facilities across the country, more and more people are carrying small containers of this product in their pockets and purses. However, according to a study funded by the Dial Corp, researchers discovered that the effectiveness of these alcohol-based hand sanitizers against pathogens was statistically insignificant!,0,553132.story

Not only are these commercially available sanitizers ineffective,
they contain chemicals that are known carcinogens,
weaken the immune system, cause reproductive complications,
birth defects and uncontrolled cell growth.
In fact, instead of reducing the risk of infection,
such “antibacterial” products actually augment it by
supporting the growth of resistance bacteria!

Why does man desire to manufacture that which God has already made available in a much purer, helpful form? Most essential oils have disinfectant, antiseptic and antiviral properties and can easily and quickly be used to make an effective and safe hand sanitizer! Here is a good example:

1. 1 cup of 100% pure colorless aloe vera gel
2. 1-2 tablespoons of witch hazel.
3. Organic essential oils:
3 drops Tea Tree 3 drops Lavender
2 drops Thyme 2 drops Oregano
4. Mix every thing well and dispense in a bottle.

Use approximately 1 tsp. of the organic hand sanitizer per application. In order for the essential oils to be effective, DO NOT rinse.

**Note: Be watchful when you purchase aloe and witch hazel. They are often mixed with unnecessary chemicals which tend to defeat our goal. As always, I recommend for quality ingredients.

How do the properties of these ingredients help?

Witch Hazel extract - antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal and anesthetic.
Aloe Vera - Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral
Tea Tree - Analgesic, antibacterial, antibiotic, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic, antiseptic, antiviral, fungicidal, stimulates immunity and heals wounds.
Thyme - Analgesic, antifungal, anti-infectious, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, astringent, bactericidal, parasiticide and stimulates immunity.
Oregano Oil - Analgesic, antiseptic, antiviral, bactericidal, fungicidal, parasiticide and stimulates immunity.
Lavender - Analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, stimulates immunity and heals wounds.

In an age of much concern over harmful pathogens and chemical exposure, why risk loading yourself and loved ones with more? Preparing homemade hand sanitizer can be a fun family project with squeaky clean results!


The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc. Each of us is accountable to God to weigh everything according to His Word.

All content of this article is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. The author sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. The information herein is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is best left to the Creator of the universe. In all health-related situations, “qualified healthcare professionals” should always be consulted. The author deems THE GREAT PHYSICIAN to be most qualified. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Have you ever wondered why we call them “holidays” (holy days) when our attention is most often turned toward ourselves? Would our celebration activities change if we stopped to consider that over-indulgence in food, drink, entertainment and meaningless conversations are self-serving rather than glorifying to God?

Father’s Word speaks of offering “sacrifices of thanksgiving”. I realize that Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice made once and for all, yet as His followers, we are called to be “holy and living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1). However, out of our abundance, our “generous” offering is often a bag of canned goods for the poor; rarely is there personal contact with those in need. Rather, our attention is turned toward “family gatherings” while those without loved ones spend the day alone. Instead of filling the day with praises to Jesus and encouraging one another in our journey of faith, we often ignore one another while singing praises to our favorite sport teams and cheering for our favorite player! At best, our conversations are seldom concentrated on being thankful.

Not only is there no scriptural direction to set aside one day a year to be thankful, isn’t it hypocritical to say that we are doing so when in reality the day is most often filled with worldliness, selfish-ambition and pride?

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world (1 John 2:16).

When scripture describes the activities of God’s people seeking to offer sacrifices of thankfulness we see:
Hearts that are softened to the ways of Jesus. - “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart ….” (Psalm 51:17).
A community of believers renewed in their thinking and surrendered to the will of God. - “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
Tongues speaking only that which pleases and glorifies God - “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).
Generosity - Do not neglect doing good and sharing: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16).

This is hardly a picture of the “traditional thanksgiving celebrations” familiar to most of us! Instead, this is “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father…” (James 1:27).

My encouragement is this:
If we choose to set aside a day and call it “Thanksgiving”,
at the very least we must ask the Spirit of Jesus to search our hearts,
expose anything that is not worthy of Him
seek His power to honor our Lord Jesus in all that we say and do.

“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me” (Ps 50:23).


Thursday, November 18, 2010


“Koinonia” is a Greek word most often translated as “fellowship” in the New Testament. However, the meaning of koinonia runs so deep that few Christians today even comprehend it, let alone live it out. According to Strong’s (an authoritative resource that explains the original text of the Bible), koinonia means sharing, intercourse, fellowship, intimacy!

In our culture, looking at the backs of each other’s heads for an hour on Sunday and an occasional potluck dinner is considered fellowship! However, the relationships among God’s children are to be so profoundly intimate that the gift of unity offered to the Father demonstrates an embodiment of Jesus! One body!

Paul urges the church in Rome to offer their individual bodies as a unified “living sacrifice” to God. He describes how this is to be accomplished through living together in community (Romans 12:1-8).

In order to reflect the glorious radiance of Jesus, we must begin to live out that which God desires for us. The life amongst His people is to be so intimate that we:

live together. And all those who had believed were together (Acts 2:44).
The word “together” is translated from epaulis. According to Strong’s epaulis means, “living quarters, cottage, cabin, farm”. In the New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries it is defined as, habitation, homestead.
daily share meals with generous hearts in one another’s homes (Acts 2:46).
share duties and possessions, even selling property and possessions in order to provide for those in need (Acts 2:44, 45).
teach and preach Jesus as the Christ in each other’s homes, regardless of persecution (Acts 2:46, 5:42).
give generously and corporately providing for Christian siblings in other communities (Romans 12:13, 15:26; 2 Corinthians 9:13).
suffer together; being strong for those who are weak, (Romans 15:1), bearing one another’s burdens (Galatians. 6:2) and weeping together (Romans 12:15).
encourage one another day after day (Hebrews 3:13).
recite Scripture and songs to each other and to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19).
rejoice together (Romans. 12:15).
admonish the unruly (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
confess our sins to and pray for one another (James 5:16) and in a spirit of gentleness, restore those caught in sin (Galatians 6:1).
show affection to one another (1 Corinthians 16:20).

The culture that we live in has a very individualistic perspective of life, even within the Christian community. However, God’s design is that we live a life together that is so beautifully intimate that those looking in from the outside are in awe! Can you imagine such satisfying habitation, that the believers are held in high esteem by those around (Acts 5:13)?

The New Testament scholar, Richard Hays irrefutably explains why our Father has called us to such a level of intimacy,

The community, in its corporate life,
is called to embody an alternative order
that stands as a sign of God’s redemptive purposes in the world.

In fact, this intimacy amongst God’s people is what Jesus prayed for: that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. John 17:21

I long for a community life in which I’m daily working side by side with brothers and sisters, singing praises & reciting scripture. I dream of joyfully sharing daily meals with my family in Christ. It’s my heart’s desire to openly acknowledge my weaknesses, knowing that my siblings will lovingly bear with me in prayer and encouragement. And I pray that my heart would be so full of love that others could confess their sins to me, knowing that I will gently help them find healing. I’ve come to understand that the bounty with which I have been entrusted is meaningless unless I am blessed with seeing others enjoy it.

The Lord is bringing me to a place of realizing that nothing else but His Body really matters. George Bernard Shaw poignantly expresses my heart in this regard;

I am of the opinion that
my life belongs to the whole community
and as long as I live
it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.
I want to be thoroughly used up when I die.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

HEALTH - Oregano Oil: God’s Provision vs. Man’s Experiments

Shortly after arriving at our friend Dale’s home, he rolled up his sleeve and asked for my opinion. While there was no sign of drainage, his forearm was visibly discolored and swollen, as well as warm to the touch and tender. Dale had acquired this infection by inadvertently puncturing his arm with a needle while administering antibiotics to hogs! “Any suggestions,” he queried.

I happened to have some oregano oil
which has been proven to be
an effective antibiotic in killing staph, E.coli and other bacteria.
Studies have also shown that oregano oil
supersedes many anti-inflammatory drugs
and is a very powerful pain killer.

Recognizing that oregano oil has the ability to penetrate skin, after 20 minutes of a hot salt water soak, I asked Dale if he was willing to give it a try. He admitted later that he was skeptical, but agreed to the application.

Pure oregano oil is very caustic and must be diluted to be safe. In fact, the effect of taking oregano oil orally is “hot” like cayenne pepper. I have found that if the diluted oil is poured into the back of the throat rather than sipped; the “fiery” affect is nearly eliminated!

In Dale’s case, I mixed three drops of oregano oil with one teaspoon of olive oil and rubbed a small amount into the tissue of the affected area and encouraged him to take the remainder internally. I recommended that Dale follow this procedure 3-4 times daily for 7-10 days.

Although I was hoping to see changes, I wasn’t sure if that would happen within our short three-day visit. Dale’s skepticism was demolished after the second day and I was delighted when he rolled-up his sleeve and we saw that the discoloration was disappearing and the warmth and tenderness had greatly decreased in intensity! Within a few days, Dale reported that there was absolutely no sign of infection!

A few days later, a friend shared that she had tendonitis in her heel and arthritis in her hip both of which caused her great pain and limited activity. Having studied that oregano oil penetrates as far as the sinovial fluid in joints to reduce inflammation and pain, I left her with a jar of the mixture mentioned above. She reports that she is experiencing great results from faithful application!

While visiting this friend, an out of state visitor arrived shortly after twisting her ankle. It was tender and already beginning to swell! I offered to massage her ankle following the mixture proportions given above. Although I don’t know the end results, she did say that the pain level had decreased within a few minutes!

Do you have plans to travel, yet fear Montezuma’s revenge? Studies have shown oregano oil to be powerfully effective against water borne and other parasites, as well as food poisoning with only a few drops before meals and added to drinking water.

Rather than exposing ourselves to antibiotics which are useless against fungal and viral infections, why not daily administer diluted oregano oil which has been found to be possibly the most powerful antifungal, antiviral and immune building therapy available? For the occasional “bug” that sneaks in, it has been reported that more frequent dosages of oregano oil, often stops them in their tracks!

While smaller doses are recommended for children, internal consumption of oregano oil is not recommended for children under 5 years of age. Instead, mix 1 drop in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and massage into their feet.

Like Dale, you may be skeptical. It all sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? I understand. I was once there myself. However, oregano oil
is only one example of God’s glorious provision. If we would simply pay attention, He has provided all that we need without exposing ourselves to the imperfect, harmful experiments of man!


The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc. Each of us is accountable to God to weigh everything according to His Word.

All content of this article is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. The author sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. The information herein is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is best left to the Creator of the universe. In all health-related situations, “qualified healthcare professionals” should always be consulted. The author deems THE GREAT PHYSICIAN to be most qualified. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

SPIRITUAL - Surrender: The Potter and His Clay

Birthdays….have you ever pondered, “What is the purpose of celebrating the day of my birth? Is it for reflecting upon what has occurred in the past year? Or….is it the anticipation of what is to come in the new year of life?” I suppose it can be both. However, I’m coming to realize that, more importantly, it is the celebration of what God intended for me when He created me. It is commemorating the unique way in which He equipped and gifted me. It is honoring the very special purpose designed for me which no one ever born nor will ever be born can fulfill.

This is nothing less than astonishing to me! However, I’m also coming to realize that -

I can’t truly enjoy the celebration
of what and whom He has created me to be
if I can not fully surrender to Him;
the Creator, the Equipper and One who offers the gifts!

Surrender: it is an ongoing battle isn’t it, my friend? Yet, when I consider my resistance to it, behind the battle I re-discover selfishness, pride, isolation and inner turmoil. Oh, how I abhor that sinfulness which lives within me and how I long for full and complete submission to my Lord! Yet, where, how do we find it? It seems illusive. Doesn’t it?

like the clay in the potter’s hand,
so are you in My hand…!
Jeremiah 18:6

If we find ourselves genuinely longing for such total yielding, we are closer to it than we realize. As painful as it is in that place of longing, it is through this hunger and thirst, this searching, sorting and seeking that we learn how helpless and incapable we truly are. When we realize at the very core of our being that the ability to surrender is not in us, rather it is in the precious, yet fiery work of the Spirit of Jesus, then we become pliable enough for Him to accomplish His finishing work within us. In this, there is no credit that we can claim for finally figuring it out or mustering it up. Instead, all praise, glory and honor goes to the only One who deserves it, Christ Jesus!

It is my prayer that, at your next birthday, the Holy Spirit will be your guide helping you to more fully celebrate the birth of the precious child and servant whom God created you to be.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

HEALTH - Cataracts: Is There an Alternative to Surgery?

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. About 20 percent of all people over 60 have at least the beginning development of a cataract. The numbers increase to 80 percent for people over 75. Cataracts are characterized by a cloudy haze inside the lens caused by a random clumping together of lens proteins. As the cataract develops, it reduces the amount of light passing through the lens. The scattering of this light forms a fuzzy image. Colors are often unclear and many people notice a halo of light around bright objects, causing a glare.

About a year ago, my husband, Gary was told that surgery was imperative due to this phenomenon occurring in both of his eyes.

Although cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgical procedure in the world,
in the U.S. 30-50% of all patients
experience complications which require additional surgery.
Additionally, dangerous infections are not an uncommon post-operative complication.

Determined to find a less evasive, high-risk approach, I started searching. I believe many of you will be interested in what I discovered!

Sun exposure, heredity, poor nutrition, smoking, high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes and long-term use of steroids are precursors to the development of cataracts. However, people without these risk factors also develop cataracts. So, what’s the underlying factor?

In each of these health issues, destructive free radicals are produced which damage vital molecules resulting in deterioration of the eye’s lens. However, it has also been discovered that cells age due to the accumulation of free radical damage over time. The underlying factor is that our natural defenses, including anti-oxidants in the eye, decrease with poor health and as we age!

Antioxidants are the antidote to free radicals! In fact, many scientists belive that “abundant consumption of antioxidants may delay the onset of cataracts”! There is an abundant amount of material available regarding a diet rich in antioxidants. However, the focus of this article is not as readily available.

Based on research performed mainly by Russian scientists in 1997, it was concluded that due to its antioxidant properties and ability to inhibit chemical processes in aging, “carnosine seems to delay the impairment of eyesight with aging, effectively preventing and treating senile cataract. Carnosine actually restores the proteins in the lens.”

It was also determined that NAC (N-acetylcarnosine) “may pass through the lipid membranes of the corneal and lens cells more easily than carnosine, and may thereby gain access more readily to the cells’ interior. There, the N-acetylcarnosine is gradually broken down to carnosine, which then exerts its beneficial effects.”

Statistics show the following improvements in all patients with cataracts after 6 months of applying N-acetylcarnosine eye-drops twice daily:

1. 88.9% in glare sensitivity.
2. 41.5% in transmissivity of the lens.
3. 90% in visual acuity.

Studies are also showing that N-acetylcarnosine may provide other beneficial results with the following eye-disorders:
Corneal disorders.
Computer vision syndrome.
Blurred vision.
Dry eye syndrome.
Retinal diseases.
Opacities and lesions.
Complications of systemic diseases such as diabetes.
Contact lens difficulties - (Lubrication, as well as reducing the build up of lactic acid).

Side effects:
To date, no serious side effects or contraindications have been noted in any of the clinical trials.

After only a few weeks of applying Can C eye drops, Gary noticed a marked difference in his vision, especially night-time glare. He returned to the ophthalmologist after 6 months of application. After visual examination, the doctor concluded that, although the cataracts were not totally dissolved, Gary’s vision had markedly changed and that surgery was no longer necessary!

If you are interested in learning more about this potential alternative to surgery, you may find helpful information at the following sites:
The Cataract Cure: The Russian Eye-Drop Breakthrough: The Story of N-acetylcarnosine.

If you are interested in ordering, the authorized company is:


The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc. Each of us is accountable to God to weigh everything according to His Word.

All content of this article is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. The author sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. The information herein is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is best left to the Creator of the universe. In all health-related situations, “qualified healthcare professionals” should always be consulted. The author deems THE GREAT PHYSICIAN to be most qualified. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

HEALTH - Human Dignity in Medical Research?

I have previously made some clearly accusatory statements directed at the Food and Drug Administration and Public Health Services of the U.S. and the World Health Organization which may cause many to question my accuracy and possibly even my sanity. To some, it may seem that I am deliberately encouraging fear. While it isn my intention to provoke fear, it is my goal to encourage people to be cautious about assuming that the federal and global health care systems are truly looking out for our best interest. In my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth! I came upon some information (Washington Post Oct, 2, 2010) that may help explain why I take such a strong stance.

While conducting investigations for a book, Professor Reverby of Wellesley College in Massachusetts recently discovered that the U.S. government conducted medical experiments in the 1940s in which doctors infected soldiers, prisoners and mental patients in Guatemala with sexually transmitted diseases. The experiments involved about 1,500 men and women who were unwittingly drafted into studies aimed at determining the effectiveness of penicillin in preventing sexually transmitted infections. The studies were sponsored by the Public Health Service, the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization and the Guatemalan government. The documents show that a number of high-ranking U.S. government officials knew about the research, including the acting U.S. surgeon general.

Men in Guatemala City's Central Penitentiary were used for the study because its prisoners were allowed to have sex with prostitutes. Some of the prostitutes tested positive for syphilis; in other cases, doctors put infectious material on the cervixes of uninfected prostitutes before they had sex with prisoners. But because so few men were getting infected, the researchers then attempted irect inoculations made from syphilis bacteria poured into the men's penises and on forearms and faces that were slightly abraded . . . or in a few cases through spinal punctures. In some cases, the subjects drank syphilitic tissue mixed with distilled water.

According to an investigation by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only a portion of those who became infected received treatment!

In their joint pology to Guatemala, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated,

The conduct exhibited during the study does not represent the values of the United States, or our commitment to human dignity Today, the regulations that govern U.S.-funded human medical research prohibit these kinds of appalling violations. The United States is unwavering in our commitment to ensure that all human medical studies conducted today meet exacting U.S. and international legal and ethical standards.

I not convinced that the ethical standards are any higher in medical research today! Have U.S. governmental officials forgotten the 1996 testimony of Professor Shamoo of the organization Citizens for Responsible Care and Research:

"This type of research is on-going nationwide
in medical centers and VA hospitals supported by tens of millions of dollars of taxpayers money.
These experiments are high risk and are abusive,
causing not only physical and psychic harm to the most vulnerable groups
but also degrading our society system of basic human values.
Probably tens of thousands of patients are being subjected to such experiments.

Have they forgotten that their abhorrent practices have been exposed over and again prior to and since this testimony (

As we move closer to a global health care system, which is more interested in control and wealth than superior health and healing, these detestable events are powerful reminders to take responsibility for our own health and to seek alternatives to governmentally controlled ealthcare


The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc. Each of us is accountable to God to weigh everything according to His Word.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Recently, I lovingly cautioned a sister about a quote which she had posted on FaceBook. Although the quote was from a “Christian leader” and was obtained from a devotional Bible, it absolutely cannot be rightly supported by Scripture. I was genuinely concerned for her and those who might read it! Sadly, she was intensely offended by my caution, and “everybody and their second cousin” on her friends list spewed their poisonness venom in my direction!

I pray that my response to her will be helpful to others, as well:

I understand that you don’t know my heart, nor do your friends and family. I realize that this makes it difficult to hear my tone or understand my intention in a written response. Regardless, that doesn’t justify the vicious retorts which I received. As you have said, you are not responsible for how others respond and I certainly don’t hold you accountable for their reactions. What saddens my heart, though, is that as sisters in Jesus, this was a perfect opportunity to demonstrate His love to a fallen world and it was missed.

I’m frequently in dialogue with brothers and sisters in Jesus via FaceBook and thoughts are often posted for the purpose of others commenting, agreed or not. The purpose in this is to sharpen one another, to hold one another accountable, to cause one another to re-evaluate opinions by returning to Scripture for clarity, etc. My response to your post was done in this light. If you don’t utilize FaceBook for this purpose, I can see how you might have mistaken my response to your post as unloving. I truly meant no harm.

When someone disagrees about something we’ve posted, wouldn’t it be helpful to thank them for pointing out a different perspective and for caring enough to encourage us to reconsider. Shouldn’t we commit to them that we will prayerfully consider their perspective. Responding defensively isn’t necessary. As brothers and sisters our hearts should be open for this kind of sharpening and molding. I know that I don’t have all the answers and that I have lots to learn! Therefore, I hunger for this kind of interaction! I thank God that He has given me spiritual siblings who care enough to be this kind of tool in my life.

If the dialogue about something which I’ve posted becomes disrespectful, I have a responsibility to reflect Jesus in that situation. The love of Jesus can be demonstrated by protesting, “I appeciate your insights, but this is my brother/sister in Jesus whom you are mistreating. I need to hear what they have to say! It’s ok to disagree with them, but if you can’t communicate in love, you must excuse yourself from this conversation!” By intervening in this way, the world sees the unity of Jesus amongst His people. It breaks my heart that it was missed in this situation.

Initially I was shocked by the hurtful responses. I began to second guess my decision to comment on her post. Yet, as I sought the comfort and wisdom of Jesus, He reminded me of several things:

1) When I read her post, I believed that the Holy Spirit prompted me with Colossians 3:16, Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.
2) ‎Matthew 24:10-12, Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

When we are dead to Self and only Jesus is alive in us, absolutely nothing will offend us!
Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing will offend them!
Psalm 119:165

As we stand for Truth, we can expect that others will disagree with us! The fact that they disagree shouldn’t be our greatest concern. Instead, our focus must be on responding like Jesus. Following S. Hamm’s suggestion, “If we are gonna demand grace from those we disagree with should we not show it to them as well?" In our own strength, this is impossible! That’s why “Father, Give me an unoffendable heart like Yours” is one of my most common prayers!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

NATIONALISM - COLUMBUS: A Leader in “America’s Christian Heritage”?

Most of us made paper ships and colored pages depicting Columbus’ trip to “prove that the world” was round and “discovery of America”. A little research, however, reveals that amazing civilizations with millions of indigenous people had been built long before Columbus arrived in the Caribbean and scientists had known for centuries before that the world was round!

More importantly,
many are taught that Columbus’ voyages
played a major role in the
“Christian heritage of America”.

Is this erroneous teaching, as well?

Let’s allow the personal letters and journals of
Columbus and his crewmen
to speak for them:

Q: Admiral Columbus, what was the purpose for your voyages?
A: I shall remain till I collect as much [gold and spices] as possible, and for this purpose I am proceeding solely in quest of them.

Q: What kind of people was native to the land?
A: They are artless and generous with what they have. …and show as much lovingness as though they would give their hearts. They should be good servants and intelligent. They neither carry nor know anything of arms.

Q: What was your intention regarding them?
A: …with fifty men they can all be subjugated and made to do what is required of them. ….they were a people who could be more easily freed and converted to our holy faith by love than by force….

Q: How did you go about demonstrating “love” to them?
A: So that they might be well-disposed towards us, I gave to some red caps and to others glass beads, which they hung around their neck, and many other things of little value.

Q: After acquiring their favor, how did Columbus’ crew go about converting them, nobleman Cuneo?
A: We gathered …one thousand six hundred male and female…, and these we embarked in our caravels.

Q: What did you do with them, Admiral Columbus?
A: It is possible, with the name of the Holy Trinity, to sell all the slaves which it is possible to sell.

Q: How did you demonstrate “love” to the women?
A: A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm …there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten (years old) are now in demand.

Q: Cuneo, what about you?
A: I captured a very beautiful Carib woman…with whom I wanted to put my pleasure into execution but she did not want it…. …I took a rope and thrashed her well…. Finally we came to an agreement.

Q: Father Las Casas, what did you observe Columbus’ crew doing “in the Name of Jesus”?
A: They hanged 13 natives at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the 12 Apostles. Straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive. They took babies from their mothers’ breasts, grabbing them by their feet and smashing them against rocks. They would cut an Indian’s hands and leave them dangling by a shred of skin and threw others to the dogs and thus were torn to pieces.
(Las Casa copied Columbus’ personal journal -

Q: After the Pope granted absolute power of the “New World” to Spain, how did they demonstrate Jesus to the natives, Admiral Columbus?
A: They were told to accept "the Church as the Ruler and Superior of the whole world" or:
We shall take you and your wives and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such shall sell and dispose of them as their Highnesses may command; and we shall take away your goods, and shall do all the harm and damage that we can.

Q: After acquiring much wealth, how would you advise others about riches?
A: …he who has it [gold] does all he wants in the world, and can even lift souls up to Paradise.

Q: How would you encourage others to share the “Love of Jesus”, as you so boldly did?
A: No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Saviour, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His holy service.

Q: Mr. Columbus, as you near the end of your life, how would you describe yourself?
A: I ought to be judged as a captain who for such a long time up to this day has borne arms without laying them aside for an hour.

Q: Chief Hatuey, before you were burned alive,
“a Franciscan friar urged [you] to take Jesus to [your] heart so that
[your] soul might go to heaven, rather than descend into hell.”
How did you respond to this “Christian Heritage” introduced by Columbus?
A: If heaven is where the Christians go, I would rather go to hell.


The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc. Each of us is accountable to God to weigh everything according to His Word.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I’ve invited my friend, Jon Zens to be a guest columnist this week. His article, Finding the Mind of the Lord Together might “rock the boat” at bit, but is a must read, especially for couples!

"Who's in charge?" is a source of friction in many marriages. Latching on to the traditional concept of "male headship," a number of Christian husbands use this mantra to abuse or marginalize their wives. I would like to suggest that there is a healing paradigm that would liberate couples and vastly improve marital relationships—seek the mind of the Lord together. This paradigm is unfolded in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5.

1 Corinthians 7:1-5 is the only place in the New Testament where the word "authority" (Greek, exousia) is used with reference to marriage. Yet it is not the authority of the husband over the wife, or vice versa, that is in view, but rather a mutual authority over each other's body. 1 Corinthians 7:4 states that the wife has authority over her husband’s body. One would think that this would be a hard pill to swallow for those who see "authority" as resting only in the husband's headship.

In the context of this passage Paul states that a couple cannot separate from one another physically unless there is mutual consent (Greek, symphonou). Both parties must agree to the separation or it shouldn’t happen. There is, then, nothing in this text supporting the contention that the husband’s "authority" should override his wife's differing viewpoint.

John Piper suggests that "mature masculinity accepts the burden of the final say in disagreements between husband and wife, but does not presume to use it in every instance" (What's the Difference?, p. 32). But 1 Corinthians 7:5 challenges Piper's assumed maxim. If the wife disagrees with a physical separation, the husband should not overrule his wife with the "final choice." Biblically, such separation can occur only if both husband and wife are in "symphony" (unity) about such an action.

Now if mutual consent applies in an important issue like physical separation from one another for a period of time, wouldn't it seem proper that coming to one-mindedness would be the broad decision-making model in a healthy marriage? Piper feels that "in a good marriage decision-making is focused on the husband, but is not unilateral" (What's the Difference?, p. 32). Yet in light of 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, I suggest that decision-making should focus on finding the Lord's mind together. Over the years the good ideas, solutions to problems, and answers to dilemmas will flow from both husband and wife as they seek the Lord as a couple for "symphony."

1 Corinthians 7:5 throws a wrench into the works for those who would conclude that the husband has the "final say" under presumed authority commonly known as "male headship." Paul teaches that unless the couple can agree on a course of action, it should not be executed. I suggest that this revelation invites us to re-examine what the husband's headship really entails (cf. Gordon D. Fee, “1 Corinthians 7:1-7 Revisited,” Paul & the Corinthians: Studies On A Community in Conflict, Trevor J. Burke/J. Keith Elliott, eds.).

It is safe to say that most evangelical husbands have been affected by the "final say" position embedded in traditional ideas about "male headship." I would invite believing husbands to meditate on 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, pray about it before the Lord, and discuss it with your precious wives. I think you will find that seeking the Lord together and waiting for the "symphony" that brings unity and peace is a far better way to function together in a Christ-honoring marriage. The traditional top-down, hierarchical, the-man-is-in-charge model is out of sync with Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5.

Remember, 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 is the only place in Scripture where the word "authority" is mentioned in connection with marriage. The really striking thing about this "authority" is that it is a mutual authority over each other's body, and has nothing to do with the husband's alleged "authority" over his wife. The truth is, compared to traditional ideas about male headship since the 3rd century AD, Paul's perspective here is revolutionary—especially when it is recalled that in the first century AD women were often viewed as property or chattel.

*Jon is editor of the quarterly publication Searching Together, manager of a Christian bookstore, and author of What’s With Paul and Women?: Unlocking the Cultural Background to 1 Timothy 2and A Church Building Every 1/2 Mile: What Makes American Christianity Tick?



Thursday, September 23, 2010


Flu season is on its way and the health care system has been gearing-up to “help” you with their armory of vaccines. As some of you may recall, I wrote an article last year about the risks of vaccines. If you would like to read it, it can be found at

If “Big Brother” were truly looking out for our health, something would be done to eliminate the adverse effects of vaccinations. Instead, they are escalating! The awareness of this might have something to do with the high percentage of health professionals who are rejecting flu vaccines!

There is plenty of information available that attempts to scare us into receiving flu vaccines. On the other side, there is increasing documentation which warns against them. However, it seems that we are lacking in adequate and accurate information about flu prevention!

Have you ever wondered why the health-care system rarely educates the public on appropriately preventing influenza? While my goal in this article is not to get on another soap-box about the whys of that,

I can assure you that the
FDA, pharmaceutical companies and World Health Organization
are all sleeping together
have little desire to prevent transmission of communicable diseases
here or around the world!
With this in mind, what measures can we take to protect ourselves?

My focus in this article is prevention, not treatment, with the goal to educate on how to boost the immune system so that you become resistant to microorganisms which lead to illness.

We’ve heard over and again the importance of proper diet, fluid consumption, exercise and eliminating stress for maintaining ultimate health. However, there are additional ways that we can arm ourselves against the onslaught of harmful viruses which may not be so commonly conveyed:

Vitamin D3 – I am not referring to synthetic D2 found in most supplements and fortified foods which has been shown to be toxic. D3 comes from UV exposure, fish oil, eggs, organ meats and fats.

Although, studies indicate that most of us regularly have low D3 levels, that level declines even more during the flu-season. As a result, our body’s natural antibiotics diminish making us more vulnerable to contracting influenza.

What dosage is right for you? Vitamin D needs vary with age, body weight, body fat, sun exposure, health status, etc. The following wesite is very helpful in determining your needs: One can also order kits at this site for testing D3 levels.

Probiotics - are live microorganisms thought to be healthy for the host organism. Because 80% of our immune system resides in our digestive tract, studies have shown that by building the “friendly” bacteria that naturally reside in our digestive tract we can effectively reduce episodes of flu symptoms.

Probiotics are most often consumed through cultured yogurt with a label which reads, “Live Cultures” or in supplement form. Since it is not wise to trust every label, you can find a list of products that have passed the stringent testing of ConsumerLab at .

Supplemental probiotics are especially necessary if you have been on antibiotics which destroy these helpful organisms.

Herbs - “An ounce of herb is worth a pound of medication”! The following herbs have been proven to be effective immune system builders and antiviral agents:
o Goldenseal
o Garlic
o Ginger
o Astragalus
o Echinacea
o Peppermint

I would especially like to focus on:

o Tulsi (Holy Basil) – one of the most effective adaptogens known. An adaptogen helps the body adjust more efficiently to stress.
 Dosage: infuse 2 teaspoons in 8 oz boiling water twice daily.
o Olive leaf extract – provides protection against a wide variety of viral strains.
 Dosage: 1 dropper full in tea, juice or water twice daily.
o Oregano oil – possibly the most powerful antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal remedy available.
 Dosage: three drops three times per day in one teaspoon of honey, maple syrup, or olive oil.

Our body responds most favorably to herbs if we use them six days a week with a random day or two off.

Although they may have good intentions, medical doctors are trained to prescribe medications for health problems, but are typically ill-informed regarding prevention. Regardless, it isn’t necessary to live in fear over whether to risk the dangers of the vaccines or the viruses. If we are willing to do our homework and take responsibility for our own health, we can avoid most, if not all contagious diseases. I hope this article gives you a good start!


P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts or topics you’d like to ponder.

The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc. Each of us is accountable to God to weigh everything according to His Word.

All content of this article is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. The author sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. The information herein is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is best left to the Creator of the universe. In all health-related situations, “qualified healthcare professionals” should always be consulted. The author deems THE GREAT PHYSICIAN to be most qualified. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


An upright bass is a giant “fiddle” which a person plays standing next to it. I love the story behind the bass fiddle that I learned on and I thought you might enjoy hearing it:

A musician friend of my brother was fishing with some buddies. He snagged what he thought was a large fish. However, as he started to reel in his “catch,” he realized that it was much bigger than a fish! In fact, he needed help getting it in without breaking his line, possibly even his pole! He summonsed his friends for help and they worked together to land the “monster”! Much to their surprise, their “catch of the day” was an old bass fiddle!

I’m sure that there were many speculations among these fishermen regarding how on earth this bass ever ended up in the river and how long it’d been there. I can almost hear the “fishing” tales flying!

The instrument lovers of the group concluded that they must attempt to preserve this new friend. With TLC, they gave it a new back, using floor under-layment and screws, a fresh coat of paint and a new set of strings. One final thing was necessary! It needed a name! So … they called it “The River Boat”!

Knowing that my brother, Art, wanted to learn to play a bass fiddle, “The River Boat” was passed on to him. He played it for several years and was told by a number of seasoned musicians that it was the best sounding bass they had ever heard!

After of few years of learning on and enjoying “The River Boat,” Art had an opportunity to purchase a beautiful, nearly new bass fiddle at a very reasonable price. He decided to take the offer, but knew that he didn’t need two basses. Knowing that I’d always wanted to learn, he said to me one day, “Why don’t you take ‘The River Boat’ home with ya?” Realizing that “The River Boat” had become Art’s close “friend” with sentimental value for his musician friends, I choked back tears and responded, “Really? Are you sure? What if I accidentally damage it or something?” He assured me that he’d like for me to take it and not to worry if something would happen to it. I felt so honored!

I had so much fun learning and felt a connection with my brother every time I played “The River Boat”! Often when I played publicly, I would share its story and then talk about how God took the trials in my life and transformed them into something which beautifully glorifies Him, just as He did with “The River Boat”!

One day I opened its case and one entire side was coming unglued and pulling away from the rest of the instrument! I panicked … then I prayed!! I called my musician friends and asked them to pray for the necessary extensive surgery! Having heard its story, it seemed that everyone who played in our band felt a special fondness for “The River Boat.” They were all devastated! A few days after the shock had settled, Gary & I worked together to loosen the strings and loving re-glue this instrument which had become a dear “friend.” Although we had no clue what we were doing, “The River Boat” seemed to make it through our amateur surgical abilities just fine, thanks to all the prayers!

A few weeks later, I had placed “The River Boat” on the ground next to our motor home while we were loading other instruments etc. after a music event. The shadows were settling in such a way that Gary couldn’t see as he came around the corner. He tripped over “The River Boat” and his knee landed right in the center of its belly! Not wanting to see the damage, I slowly opened the case and found that its body was shattered! I felt sick! My first thoughts were, “How will I ever tell my brother? He trusted me with his “friend”!

We were scheduled to play in a few days and there was no way that we could attempt the necessary surgery and have “The River Boat” ready on time. In fact, we weren’t sure that “The River Boat” would ever be playable again! So… we made a quick trip to visit a fella who made bass fiddles. He had several available that I could choose from, but my heart kept coming back to one that was painted Ocean Blue. It reminded me of “The River Boat” story. We brought “Big Blue” home and I’ve been playing it since.

We eventually took the time to painstakingly put “The River Boat” back together and returned it to my brother who was very understanding and seemed pleased with our reconstruction. In fact, he planned to hand it down to another friend who wanted to learn.

Yes, “Big Blue” and I are now good friends. However, there is a place in my heart for the “The River Boat” that another bass will never fill!


Thursday, September 9, 2010


This past weekend we attended an “organic church conference” in LeRoy, MN. I’m not even sure where to begin in describing the experience. There were only a few of us in attendance, but the presence of Jesus was very strong!

The couple who hosted the “conference” are two of the most hospitable people I think I’ve ever met. They obviously had little to share financially. However, not wanting those attending the conference to incur the added expense of hotel rooms, meals, etc., this couple hosted all of us in their home! When the wife wasn’t preparing meals for us she’d say, “There’s food in the freezer and pantry. Help yourself to whatever is here!”

These “goat farmers” welcomed us to their humble abode with open arms, having deep appreciation for what the Lord has provided them. They shared that when they told their new neighbors which house they live in, their neighbors’ response was, “Oh! We didn’t think anyone even lived there!” With barrels, palettes, machinery and appliances scattered all about their yard, there was barely room to walk. However, between and around each “treasure” burdock grew profusely! If you know anything about burdock, you know that their pretty flowers turn to burrs which stick to everything that touches them! Regardless, goats love burdock and many of them were freely roaming the yard eating these tasty “wild flowers”!

Between conference sessions, some of us helped feed and milk goats while others prepared meals. Because I’ve had a desire to obtain a milking goat it was interesting to learn about their milking system and exciting to milk a goat for the first time! One “city slicker” attendee wasn’t nearly so fascinated. Unaccustomed to farm life, he was utterly disgusted with the number of flies! I teased him about how nice it would be when both hands are busy to have horse skin to shake the flies away!

Gary & I had parked our motor home in the driveway of this farm. Throughout the night the little goats were curiously clunking around underneath and inviting themselves to climb up and down the steps to our front door! The roosters worked in unison and were like a non-electric alarm clock, snooze option included! Before dawn was even thinking about cracking, one rooster would sound his alarm….and about ten minutes later another would sound his reminding prompt. They took turns until we finally gave in and got out of bed!

Each morning and night, once the work was done, we all sat around the kitchen table eating, sharing, laughing, crying, and exhorting one another! There have been few instances when I have experienced the presence of Jesus so strongly amongst a group of His people. Yes, we all brought our part; however, the more I got to know this precious couple the more I recognized the love of Jesus flowing from every pore in their bodies! Consequently, I found myself not wanting to leave their presence!

Have you ever noticed that
those who experienced the presence of Christ, followed Him everywhere?
They didn’t care if they ate!
They didn’t care if they had to walk many miles.
They didn’t care what they had to leave behind.
They just longed to be in His presence!

Before the weekend was over, I think everyone there was more than willing to forego rest and wade through the burdock and goat manure (maybe “city slicker” was even willing to be eaten-up by the flies), in order to be in the precious presence of one another. Why? Because it is the place where Jesus dwells!


Thursday, September 2, 2010


Have you ever been told that you shouldn’t ask, “Why” or that you should simply accept God’s Word for what it says without questions? I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been accused of asking far too many questions! It has even been suggested that I “need to learn to just believe!”

The truth is I haven’t always had so many questions. In fact, I pretty much accepted and taught what was passed along to me for many years. Oh, I studied Scripture. However, I read with lenses that had been tainted from ideas and opinions of others.

At some point, I felt prompted to begin to ask questions and to ask the Holy Spirit to guide me through the Scriptures. When the answers of others didn’t match up with what I was learning, I became very unsettled. I was beginning to realize, like Thomas Merton, that

The unanswered questions
aren't nearly as dangerous as
the unquestioned answers.

Jill Carattini shares in her article entitled, “Kingdom (Without) Questions”

"The kingdom of God is for the gullible," I read recently. "You enter by putting an end to all your questions."

It's true that Jesus moved all over Judea pronouncing the reign of God and the kingdom of heaven as if it were a notion he wanted the simplest soul to get his mind around. But simplicity was not what hearers walked away with. With great disparity, he made it clear that this kingdom was approaching, that it was here, that it was among us, that we needed to enter it, that we need to wait for it, that we desperately need the one who reigns within it....

Contrary to putting an end to one's questions,
the kingdom of God incites inquiry all the more.

What is the nature of this kingdom? Can it be all of these things? Who is this messenger? And what kind of proclamation requires the herald to pour out his very life to tell it? Whatever this kingdom is, it unmistakably introduces to a world far different from the one around us, one we cannot quite get our minds around, with tensions and dynamisms reminiscent of the promise of God to answer our cries "with great and unsearchable things you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:3). It is a kingdom that tells a story grand enough to master the metanarratives which otherwise compel us into thoughtless, gullible obedience. It is a kingdom with a king whose very authority exposes our idols as wood and reforms our numbed minds with great and surprising reversals of reality.

In this kingdom Jesus proclaims we are shown a God who opens the eyes of the blind and raises the dead, who claims the last will be the first, and the servant is the greatest. But his proclamations did not cease with mere easy words. Jesus put these claims into action, placing this kingdom before us in such a way that forbids us to see any of it as mere religion, abstraction, gullibility, or sentimentality....

The kingdom he proclaimed in life and in death continues to unravel our own....

In this world of gullibility, crafted ignorance, and much distraction sounds a clarion call for a new means of perception. Living somewhere between this foreign kingdom of God's reign and the familiar kingdom of earth, some of us never fully see or live in either. Still others somehow find themselves moved beyond the familiar borders of the world they know, to the very threshold of the kingdom of God where, longing to see in fullness and relishing here and now, they discover the one who reigns.

(excerpts from “Kingdom (Without) Questions,” by Jill Carattini, A Slice of Infinity, originally printed 02 July 2010 (www.rzim.0rg). Used by permission of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.)

God isn’t impressed with credulous acceptance of what someone else teaches us. In fact, unless we become serious students of God’s Word, we are easy prey to false teachings. Instead, we are encouraged, “If… you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with your whole heart and with your whole soul” (Deut. 4:29). If the totality and depths of one’s being is required to find God, how can we rightly consider that His Kingdom is one without questions or that a quick “sinner’s prayer” purchases an entrance ticket?

If you find God with great ease,
perhaps it is not God that you have found.
Thomas Merton


The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc. Each of us is accountable to God to weigh everything according to His Word.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


We recently obtained three precious little “mouse catchers” from our Amish friends. I think they had one of every possible color and combination of colors! The Plank girls lovingly helped us handpick from three litters! I think the girls were having even more fun than we!

We decided upon a black and white one which we’ve named, "Rev." It looks like he is wearing a black shirt with a white “pastor’s” collar. “Laity” seemed to me to be the perfect name for the gray one since he was close to dying. But Gary thinks it sounds like I’m calling this little fella, “Lady.” We’ve considered naming the pretty little calico “Silence,” since traditionally (but wrongly!) “women are to be silent in the church.”

I guess we’ll eventually figure out their names. However, the health of our new little friends became much more important than names when “Laity” developed rapid respirations and wheezing! We had noticed the day before that one of them had vomited a worm.

Often momma cats that have worms will pass worms on to their litter.
If one has worms….they all have worms!

So, I got busy doing some research and discovered that often the worms will pass through the lungs. I knew I needed to act quickly, especially for our little “Laity” friend, but I knew that if I destroyed the worms too quickly this could make matters worse! I kept researching and praying!

My first step was to attempt to strengthen their kidneys so that the waste from the destroyed worms could safely and effectively be eliminated. I did this by giving them parsley tea:
• Cover and cook 2 cups fresh parsley (2/3 cup dried) in 3 cups water for 3 minutes.
• Strain and throw away the parsley.
• Keep 1/2 cup tea in refrigerator and freeze the remainder; thaw as needed.
• Daily mix 1 tsp. parsley tea with 1 tablespoon chicken broth, sprinkle over and mix into their food.

After one week, I continued to supply the parsley tea and began to slowly attack the worms by providing Black Walnut/Wormwood tincture.
This was difficult to calculate for such little ones. I mixed together:
• the smallest possible drop Black Walnut/Wormwood tincture
• 1 teaspoon parsley tea
• 1 tablespoon chicken broth.
Daily, I sprinkled this over and mixed it into their food.

I used precautions when cleaning-up their messes. Their vomit and stools are extremely infectious and worms are often passed on to humans!

After a week of eliminating the worms, the focus needed to be turned to their eggs. Cloves kill worm eggs! However, cloves are very potent! Measuring carefully, I daily mixed:

• one of the smallest drops possible of clove oil (a very small pinch of powdered cloves will work)
• one teaspoon parsley tea
• one drop Black Walnut/Wormwood tincture
• one tablespoon broth.
For one week, I daily sprinkled this over and mixed it into their food.

Now that this regime is completed, I’m working at maintaining parasite free pets by continuing to offer (twice weekly for cats and daily for dogs):
• one teaspoon parsley tea
• one drop Black Walnut/Wormwood Tincture
• 1 drop clove oil (or small pinch of powdered)

**Note: All ingredients are based on amounts for an animal weighing 10 lbs. Yes, a three hundred pound cat would get 30 drops per day, but…. work up to it by increasing by one drop daily! ( is a great resource for the ingredients.

After a few short days of the Black Walnut/Wormwood Tincture “Laity’s” breathing returned to normal. They all look very healthy and are even more playful than when we first brought them home!

Now… we’re back to the difficult challenge of naming them. “The Rev” is a keeper. He seems to know that he’s in charge. However, “Laity” is now full of life and “Silence” is everything but quiet and submissive!


The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc. Each of us is accountable to God to weigh everything according to His Word.

All content of this article is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. The author sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. The information herein is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is best left to the Creator of the universe. In all health-related situations, “qualified healthcare professionals” should always be consulted. The author deems THE GREAT PHYSICIAN to be most qualified. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


When I was a young girl, I learned to interlace the fingers of both hands with my palms together and joyfully recite, “Here’s the church!” Then, with my little index fingers pinched together and pointing way up to the sky, I would imitate, “Here’s the steeple!” Finally, with my palms turned upward and the tightly interlaced fingers visible, I proudly proclaimed, “Open the doors and see all the people!”

Having accepted what I was taught, it never dawned on me to question the idea of a steeple. Not only are they littered across the skylines of the country-side and cities, they are commonly the focal point of famous paintings, hymns and poems. As a budding Christian, I simply accepted steeples as part of the “church” structure and marveled over their beauty along with most everyone else. In more recent years, however, I’ve questioned the history and purpose of these prominent formations.

The first biblical mention of such a structure is noted in Gen. 11:3-9,
“Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.”

In determining to “make a name for ourselves,” the Babylonians were demonstrating their aspiration for independence. They didn’t want their selfish desires stifled by their Creator’s sovereign plans. The notion to build a city communicated their determination for permanence so as “not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” They were aware that living cooperatively would accomplish their desire for human achievement and power; “nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”

But, why an obelisk (steeple)? The first century Jewish historian, Josephus explains the construction of the tower as a prideful act of defiance against God ordered by the arrogant tyrant Nimrod, the “father” of the Babylonian fertility cult. The phallus came to represent his religion and phallic-appearing towers were built on high places visible from far distances in honor of the fertility gods (1 Kings 14:23). In fact, The Encyclopedia Of Religions (Vol. 3, p. 264) states that Queen Semiramis in Babylon erected an obelisk one hundred thirty feet high in memory of Nimrod!

When God scattered the people of Babylon they obviously didn’t leave their pagan beliefs behind!
“Sacred” buildings of all religions of the world have obelisk-like
pillars, spires and towers appearing to reach heaven as part of their construction.

Have the people of God simply followed tradition without realizing its meaning or relationship to the religion of Babylon? Nowhere in Scripture does God ask His people to erect such a structure. In fact, He condemns it!

As followers of Jesus, we are called to “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:2). “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He removed the foreign altars and high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles [phallic symbols]” (2 Chron. 14:2-3). What about us? Will we choose to be obedient to God’s command, “You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces” (Ex 23:24)?

( has a helpful, extensive bibliography for those interested in researching this topic for themselves.)


Thursday, August 12, 2010


It is common for brothers and sisters in Jesus to declare, “We are not to judge one another!” The truth is, there is judgment that is necessary, and there is unacceptable judgment which is harmful. For example, in response to the reports of sexual sin within the church of Corinth, Paul responded, ”I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present” (1 Cor. 5:3). Was Paul sinning in his judgment?

Was Paul misleading God’s people when he taught,
“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?
Are you not to judge those inside?
God will judge those outside”

(1 Cor. 5:12, 13).

If judging one another is wrong, how can we live out what God’s Word teaches?
“I urge you brothers to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way” (Romans 16:17).
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (I John 4:1).
“And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not” (Malachi 3:18).
“I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false” (Rev. 2:2).
“..if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?” (1 Cor. 6:4-5).
“Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment” (John 7:24).

Has God commanded us not to judge and then contradicted Himself? No! Instead, He has given us very clear instructions regarding how to judge:

1) Scripturally – God’s Word, not our opinions and traditions, is our measuring stick! "To the law and to the testimony: if they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20). ”Put everything to the test. Hold on to what is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).
2) Prayerfully - "Give your servant a discerning heart to judge your people and to distinguish between good and bad: for who is able to judge this great people of yours?" (I Kings 3:9).
3) Without favoritism - "To show partiality in judging is not good” (Proverbs 24:23). “My brothers, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ” (James 2:1).
4) According to Spiritual manifestation - We are not to judge according to what others say about someone or even what one says about themselves. We are not even to judge according to the measure of a person’s “Christian” activity. Rather, the determining question is, “Are they producing spiritual fruit?” (Matthew 7:16).
5) With mercy“Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (James 2:12-13).
6) Without hypocrisy“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5).

It is true that Jesus warns those who judge with a fault-finding and condemning spirit, because their hypocritical attitude is no better than the one they are accusing. However, read in context, Jesus’ words, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” must be seen as a precursor to His instructions regarding the proper heart condition necessary before we can rightly and effectively minister to another (Matthew 7:1-5).

Could the rejection of God’s Word concerning judging one another be, at least in part, why the church is often indistinguishable from the world? Rather than resisting judgment or being judged, should we not invite this vital dimension of love into our lives?


Thursday, August 5, 2010


My husband, Gary & I recently attended the 11th annual Searching Together Conference in St Croix Falls, WI. The theme for this year was FAITH, HOPE & LOVE AT WORK IN THE EKKLESIA. The purpose of this conference is to encourage brothers and sisters to come together to mutually edify one another in love. Although the conference is attended by only forty –fifty people, these are brothers and sisters from around the world! This was our second year of attendance and I can honestly say, I’ve never attended anything more accurately representative of God’s Kingdom!

The conference is set-up in such a way that it emulates Paul’s instructions, “when you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation” (1 Cor.14:26). There seemed to be a deep understanding among those in attendance that “the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7)!

The expression of oneness of the body of Jesus (1 Cor. 12:13, Gal. 3:28, 1 Peter 2:5) was evident in that there was never an indication of:
racial or cultural distinction – God’s people from various countries were accepted, appreciated and loved without a tone of any earthly country being God’s “chosen nation”.
social distinction – People from all walks of life joined us without a hint of favoritism related to social status being expressed.
gender distinction – Men and women alike were equally involved in the teachings and open discussions resulting from a shared persuasion that in the body of Christ there is neither male or female.
pastor/laity distinction – No one attempted to be nor sought for another to be “the expert” because it was recognized that all the ekklesia (called out ones) are being built into a holy priesthood.

My heart was touched by those who understand and acted upon God’s admonition to “confess your sins to one another” and by those who responded in prayer (James 5:16). The precious transparency of some and the tenderness offered in response still linger in my mind. I was impressed with the universal deep awareness that intimate sharing, including admonishing in love, truly is for the purpose of strengthening the people of God (1 Cor. 14:26).

I often wonder when I observe what many consider “church,” if there is any genuine life amongst God’s people. However, as I reflect upon these three memorable days, I am assured that faith, hope and love are at work in the ekklesia!

We’d love to have you join us next year. It’s a family reunion you won’t want to miss! Stay in touch at!


Thursday, July 29, 2010


When our daughters were young they often liked to play “church”. It was interesting how they concluded which role each of them would hold. I don’t recall there ever being any prayers said to guide them in their determinations. Instead, the decisions were made according to perceived abilities.

Susan, the oldest was selected to be the organist because she was the most capable pianist. Julie, the middle one was selected to be the pastor because she had a good, LOUD singing voice. And ... because you can’t play “church” without an audience, that role was thrust upon Laura, the youngest.

Julie’s personality made it natural for her to dictate to the others how things were going to run in their “church”. However, Laura was never easily persuaded. In fact, Laura often complained that she always had the “unimportant” job and that she didn’t like having to always do what Julie and Susan decided!

Julie would demand, “I’m the pastor and it’s my job to make decisions!” Susan would assert, “That’s the song that I know how to play. SO…that’s the one we’re gonna sing!” In her frustration with never having any say, Laura would retort, “Why do I always have to be the audience?”

As a result of sitting in a “church” pew every Sunday listening to their daddy preach, the girls had several liturgies memorized. However, because it was the one they heard most often, #158 was typically their service of choice!

When our girls get together now as adults, they reminisce and laugh about their childhood “church” services. Sometimes Gary & I fear that our sides are going to split from laughing so hard listening to their stories. Yet, when I think about the narrow view that they were given for all those years of God’s Kingdom and the family life of His citizens, my heart breaks!

All too often the fellowship of God’s people “play church” in similar stifling ways:
• Decisions are made without prayer!
• The “pastor” runs the show!
• The seminary graduate is the only one qualified to teach!
• The only folks capable of sharing God’s love through music are those “trained for the job”!
• Repetitious services having little to no presence of the Spirit’s power in them!
• And the concept that there should even be an “audience” in the Church at all!

Oh, the devastating affect this approach has on God’s Kingdom! Rather than “everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation” (1 Cor. 15:26), the “audience” is oppressed from lack of participation. Sadly, unlike Laura, offering little if anything of themselves, the majority feels unneeded or has expectations to be bottle-fed. While the “pastor” and musicians are puffed up over their “important roles,” the fellowship gradually becomes dehydrated from lack of Living Water and weak due to lack of exercise. And we wonder why “the church” is lifeless!