Monday, February 28, 2011

The Stylish Blogger Award

I have been nominated by my dear friend Michelle for the Stylish Blogger Award. I was really surprised. I have been reading the past few days about my favorite blogs receiving this same honor and never dreamed that I would be chosen also. Now, this is what I need to do to:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you. 
2. Share 7 things about yourself. 
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers. 
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award. 

Thank you Michelle at My Life as a Help Meet and Homeschooling Mom of Many, for nominating me for this award. I feel very honored.

Now, seven things about myself:
1. I was born and raised in Washington state until age 17, when I moved to Hawaii.
2. I met my husband on a blind date and 3 months later we were engaged.
3. I am not a morning person, but get up early (5 am) to I can spend a quiet time alone with God.
4. I have taken over 12 years of piano lessons and still cannot play.
5. I am an introvert until I get to know you.
6. I was terrified when my husband told me over 21 years ago that he (we) was (were) going to get out of the Army (after over 12 years, only 8 years until retirement) and go to Bible college, so he could become a minister. I could not imagine me becoming a pastor's wife. But I love it now and am really glad God called him to be a minister.
7. I was also terrified over 25 years ago when God called us to home educate our children. I really didn't think I could do it. But now over 25 years later, I am still home educating and loving it.

And now for my 15 nominations, in no certain order:
1. A Holy Experience
2. Maxwell Family blog
3. For By Grace
4. The Welcome Home blog
5. You Were Saying? Communicating Creatively (now I must confess, this is my husband's blog:)
6. Domestic Felicity
7. Welcome to the Seppi blog
8. The Life of a Prairie Mom
9. Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound
10. Anderberg Family blog
11. Paratus Familia
12. Rural Revolution
13. Praying for Noah
14. Stetson Family Happenings
15. Lorentzen Family

Friday, February 25, 2011

Follow up to Jailed Christian in Afghanistan...May God be PRAISED!!!


    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — 

An Afghan man who was jailed for nine months for converting to Christianity has been released after an intense campaign by international diplomatic missions and Christian activists, an official said Friday.

Sayed Mussa, a 46-year-old father of six, left a Kabul jail earlier this week and was taken to see Afghan prosecutors, who did not have enough evidence to charge him, said Gen. Abdul Qayum Safi, director of the detention center.

Aidan Clay, regional manager for the International Christian Concern, cheered Mussa’s release but said another convert, Shoaib Assadullah, was still in detention in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Assadullah was arrested in October after allegedly giving a copy of a Bible to a friend.

“It has been encouraging to see the international community, including churches, reporters and government officials in Europe and North America work together for the common goal of freeing Sayed,” he said. “Many sleepless nights, prayers and tears have paid off, however, the battle has not yet been won. Shoaib is still imprisoned in northern Afghanistan and fears the death penalty.”

In a Feb. 13 letter, disclosed by International Christian Concern, Mussa said representatives of the U.S. and Italian embassies in Kabul visited him in the detention center and offered him asylum. Mussa wrote that after the foreigners left the room, three Afghan officials told him he would be released within 24 hours if he signed a statement saying he regretted his conversion to Christianity. Mussa refused.

“I laughed and replied ‘I can’t deny my savior’s name,’” Mussa wrote in the letter. “I am 100 percent ready to die.”

The Christian group said they received a call from a U.S. official in Kabul on Monday, confirming that Mussa had been released and was safely out of Afghanistan.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul had no immediate comment on Mussa’s release.

Mussa, a slight man with salt-and-pepper hair and beard, was arrested in late May after an Afghan television station broadcast images of alleged Christian baptisms in Kabul. Proselytizing is illegal in Afghanistan.

A number of Afghan Christians fled the country after the broadcast, but Mussa was arrested before he could get away. His case made it into the news after a group of international Christian activists pressed their governments to push Afghan President Hamid Karzai to release Mussa and the other convert.

Afghanistan is an Islamic state but the country’s constitution is unclear on whether Christian converts are breaking the law. The document says freedom of religion should be protected, but it also states that the ultimate authority in legal matters is the Muslim holy book, the Quran, which condemns conversion.

Mussa recounted his conversion in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month at the detention center. He was wearing a brown zip-up sweater, gray shalwar kameez and plastic yellow sandals and had a prosthesis on his left leg – the result of a mine explosion 23 years ago when he was a young army officer in southern Afghanistan.

Mussa said his move to Christianity began during the Afghan civil war when the house of his neighbor, a porter with eight children, was bombed.

He saw two foreign women arrive in a white vehicle who were not afraid to search through the rubble despite the presence of armed men nearby.

“Many tried to hide, but the women didn’t,” said Mussa.

He was curious about the women, who were able to find one person alive in the rubble. He later learned they were Christian aid workers who helped Afghans in a clinic.

That prompted Mussa to learn more about the Christian faith. He met a man named Mohammad Hussein, who had recently returned from Iran and was a Christian convert. Mussa pressed him for religious books and other information about Christianity.

In the interview, Mussa said that if he was freed, he would rejoin his wife and children, who are living with a brother in Pakistan.

“I want to have a normal life again,” he said. “Of course I love all my children. And I’d like to see them.”

“I will stay here in Afghanistan and will ask my family to come home,” he said.

—Associated Press writer Deb Riechmann contributed to this report.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

7 Minutes

Check out this graphic my husband created over on his portfolio blog. I hope it makes you stop and think.

ralphsportfolio: 7 Minutes

Monday, February 21, 2011

America Quiet on the Execution of Afghan Christian Said Musa

By Paul Marshall

A terrible drama is unfolding in Afghanistan: There are reports that Said Musa, whose situation I described at Christmas, will soon be executed for the ‘crime’ of choosing to become a Christian. (For background, see here.)

Musa was one of about 25 Christians arrested on May 31, 2010, after a May 27 Noorin TV program showed video of a worship service held by indigenous Afghan Christians; he was arrested as he attempted to seek asylum at the German embassy. He converted to Christianity eight years ago, is the father of six young children, had a leg amputated after he stepped on a landmine while serving in the Afghan Army, and now has a prosthetic leg. His oldest child is eight and one is disabled (she cannot speak). He worked for the Red Cross/Red Crescent as an adviser to other amputees.

He was forced to appear before a judge without any legal counsel and without knowledge of the charges against him. “Nobody [wanted to be my] defender before the court. When I said ‘I am a Christian man,’ he [a potential lawyer] immediately spat on me and abused me and mocked me. . . . I am alone between 400 [people with] terrible values in the jail, like a sheep.” He has been beaten, mocked, and subjected to sleep deprivation and sexual abuse while in prison. No Afghan lawyer will defend him and authorities denied him access to a foreign lawyer.

Any and every human being who is imprisoned, abused, or tortured for the free and peaceful expression of their faith deserves our support, but Musa is also a remarkable person and Christian. In a letter smuggled to the West, he says, “The authority and prisoners in jail did many bad behaviour with me about my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. For example, they did sexual things with me, beat me by wood, by hands, by legs, put some things on my head.”

He added a thing much more important to him, that they “mocked me ‘he’s Jesus Christ,’ spat on me, nobody let me for sleep night and day. . . . Please, please, for the sake of Lord Jesus Christ help me.” (View the full letter here)

He has not, in fact, even appealed to be released, only to be transferred to another prison. He has also stated that he is willing to give his life for his faith. “Please, please you should transfer me from this jail to a jail that supervises the believers. . . . I also agree . . . to sacrifice my life in public [where] I will tell [about my] faith in Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, [so] other believers will take courage and be strong in their faith.”

Newspapers in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe have reported the story, but with, the exception of the Wall Street Journal and, of course, NRO, American outlets have not found it worthy of attention. The Journal reports that “Afghan officials have been unapologetic: ‘The sentence for a convert is death and there is no exception,’ said Jamal Khan, chief of staff at the Ministry of Justice. ‘They must be sentenced to death to serve as a lesson for others.’”

The U.S. government — reportedly including Secretary of State Clinton — and other governments have pushed for his release, but to no avail.

But the president has been silent, even as we fight a war that has among its goals the creation of a government that conforms to international human-rights standards.

An American president certainly needs to guard and shepherd his political capital, and should not speak out about every prisoner. But Musa himself has appealed to “President Brother Obama” to rescue him from his current jail. And when an obscure and aberrant Florida pastor, Terry Jones, threatened to burn a Koran, not only President Obama but much of his cabinet, as well as General Petraeus, weighed in on the matter.

If the actions of a Florida pastor who threatened to destroy a book holy to Muslims deserved public and presidential attention, then the actions of the Afghan government, ostensibly a ‘democratic’ ally, to destroy something holy to Christians, a human being made in the image of God, also deserve public and presidential attention.

— Paul Marshall is the co-author, with Nina Shea, of Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide, forthcoming from Oxford University Press in October 2011.

We need to pray for Said Musa and many other Christians around the world who are being persecuted for their faith and being put to death. Get the word out to your friends and churches to pray, as well.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Today in 1678 Pilgrims Progress Was Published

by Fred Sanders of Scriptorium Daily

"Today in 1678 John Bunyan brought out the first version of the Pilgrim’s Progress. He did make some revisions after that first edition, but the book was recognizably itself as soon as it was published."

To read the entire article by Fred Sanders, go to Scriptorium Daily.
You Can find this DVD at

You can find this book at

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Be A Man...Biblically by Paul Washer

Here is a great message on what it means to be a man of God. Paul Washer is a great speaker.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Help Stop the Indoctrination of Our Nation

IndoctriNation Trailer from IndoctriNation on Vimeo.

Twelve indispensible pursuits that prepare the next generation for marriage

By Scott Brown, NCFIC

  1. The Sweetest harmony in marriage, Eph. 5:22-33
  2. The Gladdest embrace of God, Psalm 100
  3. The Thirstiest passion for the word of God, Ps. 119
  4. The Keenest inclination for repentance, Psalm 51
  5. The Hottest desire for holiness,1 Pet. 1:16
  6. The Quickest pursuit of reconciliation, Eph. 4:26
  7. The Highest investment in the church, Eph. 1:23, 5:32
  8. The Biggest vision for life, 1 Cor. 10:31
  9. The Liveliest zippiest daily life, Deut. 6:1-9
10. The Sharpest conception of marriage, Eph. 5:22-33
11. The Tightest embrace of biblical manhood and womanhood, Titus 2
12. The Strongest sense of the sovereignty of God, Dan. 4

Happy Birthday Christopher

 Wishing my son, Christopher a happy 27th birthday today.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Here is another set of videos by Louis Giglio on the awesomeness of God.

How Great Is Our God

Watch this awesome message by Louie Giglio on how great our God is. You will learn things about the universe that are so awesome and just go to show how wonderful our God truly is and that He is truly the Creator and thoughtfully hung the stars and universe in place.

Monday, February 7, 2011

An Example of Devotion to the Local Church

by: Scott Brown February 7, 2011

Convenience often is the determining factor for church attendance and regularity is often governed by schedule, weather, whim and busyness. In sharp contrast, John G. Paton speaks of his father's devotion to the local church. He walked four miles and missed only three times in 40 years.
"Our place of worship was the Reformed Presbyterian Church at Dumfries, a full four miles from our home. The tradition was that during forty years my father was only prevented three times from attending the worship of God. Once by snow so deep that he was baffled and had to return; once by ice on the road, so dangerous that he was forced to crawl back on his hands and knees; and once by a terrible outbreak of cholera. All travel between the town and the surrounding villages was publicly prohibited. The farmers and villagers, suspecting that no cholera would make my father stay at home on the Sabbath, sent a deputation to my mother on the Saturday evening, and urged her to restrain his devotions for once! Each of us, from very early days, considered it no penalty, but a great joy, to go with our father to the church; the four miles were a treat to our young spirits, and occasionally some of the wonders of city life rewarded our eager eyes. We had special Bible readings on the Lord's Day evening, and the Shorter Catechism was gone through regularly."

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Children In The Meeting Of The Ephesian Church

By: Scott Brown of NCFIC

Ephesians 6:1-4 is the flagship New Testament passage on child rearing and fatherhood. It is an extremely simple and steadying message in light of the dizzying array of advice the world gives to parents. We find four major ideas arising from the text. First, the setting: the meeting of the Church. Second, there are two simple commands for children: obey and honor (Eph. 6:1-2). Third, there are two understandable results for children: good life and long life (Eph. 6:3). Fourth, there are two dangerous pitfalls for fathers: provoking and neglecting (Eph. 6:4).

This article is focused on the first point — the setting of the meeting of the Church.

In the first two verses, Paul is clearly speaking to children. These are the children who are in the meeting of the Ephesian church and are hearing the letter read. Paul uses a Greek grammatical form called the vocative case, called the “vocative of direct address.” He is directly addressing the children in the meeting of the church. This makes it an obvious fact that children were present in the meetings of the early churches.

In his commentary on Ephesians, William Hendricksen explains it this way:
The apostle assumes that among those who will be listening when this letter is read to the various congregations the children will not be lacking. They are included in God’s Covenant..., and Jesus loves them.... Were Paul to be present with us today he would be shocked at the spectacle of children attending the Sunday School and then going home just before the regular worship service. He has a word addressed directly and specifically to the children. (William Hendricksen, Galatians and Ephesians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979) pg. 258)

The meetings included young boys like Eutychus (probably between 7 and 14 years old) who left the meeting after midnight by falling out a window. He was overcome with sleepiness during a long Pauline preaching session, nodded out and rolled off the window’s ledge (Acts 20:7-12).

We need to understand that the meetings in the early church included babies who were cutting teeth, eight-year-old boys who were wired for movement, and budding teenagers being tempted by the worldliness of the world. The children were not in age-graded Sunday schools, but were in the midst of the meeting, and were taught side by side with everyone else. The meetings of the early church were conducted with a full complement of relationships.

There is no indication from Scripture that children were ever removed from the meetings designed for preaching, Scripture reading, prayer, and worship. But, in our culture, it is automatic and comprehensive. Contrast the normal meetings of our churches with the normal practices of the meetings recorded in the Bible:

The Time of Moses: Deuteronomy 31:12-13;

The Time of Nehemiah: Nehemiah 8:1-3, Ezra 10:1;

The Time of Jesus: Matthew 18:1-5, 19:13-15; and

The Time of Paul: Ephesians 6:1-4, Col 3:20.

Jeremy Walker sums it up:
The constant presumption of Scripture is that children were present in the worship of the people of God. In Nehemiah’s time, men and women and all those who could hear with understanding gathered to hear Ezra the scribe read the Law (Neh 8.1-3; Ezr 10.1). Moses certainly anticipated the literal “children” of Israel to be present when the Law was read (Dt 31.12-13). Paul’s letters, intended to be read to the churches, assume the intelligent presence of children (Eph 6.1-4; Col 3.20), and children were present when the Lord Jesus taught (Mt 18.1-5; 19.13-15). (Quoted in Banner of Truth magazine, November 7, 2002, “Attendance of Children in Public Worship”)

For further study, see the following passages where it is mentioned that children were present in meetings of God’s people.

In Joshua 8:35, Joshua built an altar to the Lord in Mount Ebal of whole stones over which no man had ever laid an iron tool. He read “all the words of the law.”

There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them. (Joshua 8:35)

Joel 2:15-16 describes a time of repentance of the people where all were to gather—even the bride and bridegroom on their wedding day.

Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. (Joel 2:15-16)

I would like to pose four questions to help us to reflect more deeply on this subject and, hopefully, help us understand how important it is that we experience the worship of God and the fellowship of the saints alongside our children.

I. Which way is more Biblical?
Should children be in the meeting of the church, alongside their parents? If you only had the Bible, what would you conclude about what to do about childcare? Is there any evidence of childcare services to support the worship and instruction of God’s people? Do the apostles ever allude to a nursery or Sunday school? Are there any commands relating to the subject? Are there any examples to follow in Scripture for this area?

II. What effect does worship singing have on a child?
This question gets to the point of the power of music on all human beings. We may say, “Our children don’t get anything out of the services,” but we can’t really believe it. We get goose bumps when we sing to children while they are in the womb. We believe that the sounds and even the attitudes surrounding them are affecting their development process. Some people play classical music to their children in the womb, while others contend that just hearing it makes their kids smarter outside the womb.

Let me suggest that it is truly wonderful to immerse children in the rich songs of the faith from the time they are babies in arms. So what is the optimal time for bringing your children into the meeting of the church? I counsel families to bring their babies on the first Sunday after their birth, and continue weekly throughout their lives.

Children get something out of everything they experience
First of all, it must be said that children get something out of everything they experience. So we should abandon the idea that “my child gets nothing out of ‘big’ church.” This is subterfuge and misinformation. Plus, nobody gets everything out of anything, particularly a sermon. We take them to the library and they do not get everything out of what is there. They listen to all of our conversation, but don’t think for a minute that everything goes over their heads.

There is great value for a very young child experiencing the deep and authentic worship of the church. Something is being transferred as they watch their fathers give of the family resources during the offering. As they grow up, their understanding will increase. Something is being transferred as they watch the adults “worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23).

They don’t get everything, but they can get something from observing the fervency and genuineness of the church’s expression of love for God, dependence upon Him, and joy in Him. This is the value of having children in church.

Children progressively understand what a parent and the wider church members love and appreciate. Year after year, their understanding builds. Year after year, the well is filling up. The cumulative effect of deep and significant thinking and activities is what we are looking for.

III. What effect does the teaching of the Word have on a child?
By joining in the main services, children will be experiencing the teaching of God’s Word and beginning to understand the importance of preaching. This is a perfect opportunity for a father to share with his children how the preaching of the Word is affecting him and how he plans to bring his family in line with it.

Only God knows what a child gets from hearing father pray.
Only God knows what a child gets out of hearing God’s people worship.
Only God knows what a child gets out of seeing men standing up and speaking of the things of God.
Only God knows what a child gets out of experiencing Christian community.

It is really much simpler than you might think. The attitude should be: the church is family time. Our family, and the family of God.

We enjoy eating out together as a family. We enjoy going to the beach together as a family. Then, why do we not enjoy worship and instruction and fellowship as a family with our spiritual family of brothers and sisters?

IV. Which way is more wonderful?
This question helps us to think clearly about what is truly superior. All options are not created equal. Recently, after our worship service, I passed by a mother who was carrying her baby girl. She took a deep breath through her nostrils as if to take in the aroma of her baby. She said:

I can always tell who held my daughter during worship because of the perfume. For instance, I can tell that your wife Deborah was holding my daughter during worship.

Where would you rather have your child? In the arms of one of our mothers or fathers or teenagers, or in a soundproof room, playing with saliva-encrusted toys? Is it better for a child to be held by his mother while she sings the words of precious hymns, or to be in the back room with a childcare worker and who knows how many children?

Would it be more wonderful if we rose up and involved our children in the meetings of the church? And if we used these meetings as opportunities to serve as their personal coaches to grow their love for the Body of Christ; to increase their appreciation (and appetite) for prayer; and to cultivate their affection for the preaching of the Bible? In doing so, we would be resisting the child-neglecting, child-rejecting, and child-depreciating practices that are at work in our churches. It is more wonderful!

Why have children in the meetings of the church?
The question would be a strange one for people in the year 1800 since they always had their children with them during worship. It was normal. The question would not have come up because people were used to keeping their children with them.

The question would also have been an unusual one for people in the early church. The early church met in homes with all present and Jesus made it clear to His disciples that children were always welcome.

The question would be a strange one for people in Israel. We have many Old Testament references that record children present during major events where God’s Word was being communicated to groups of people. The Old Testament writers make mention of this without interpretation.

It is obvious that the normative practice for Israel and the early church was to integrate children into the normal practices of the gatherings of the people. Nowhere do we find a trace of teaching or example of our modern age-graded approach to the church.

Let’s bring our children back into the meetings of the church. I sincerely believe that if the Lord Jesus Christ were here in the twenty-first century, He would be the first to invite them back.