My Annual Move

6 April

Each year when I return to Asheville, it’s a bit like moving—on a small scale, of course.  I have moved thirteen times in my life.  That doesn’t including cross-town moves, which I’ve done seven times.  It also doesn’t include the three times that I’ve lived in temporary housing during the moving process.  Most of those moves were long-distance, including three across the Atlantic.  Until 2010, I had made a major move every five years on average, and never lived more than seven years in the same town my whole life.

What changed in 2010 was moving back to Milan after a three year absence.  That was my first year as a missionary.  I had been doing the same work on a small scale for many years—I just hadn’t known that it was ministry.  Moving back to Milan was the first time that I had ever moved back to a town I had lived in before.  It was also the first time that I had passed that seven year mark.

Since 2010 I make a trip to the US each year to visit family for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I stay for a few months so that I will also have time to visit our corporate headquarters and my home church, both of which are in Texas.  I may also go to missions conferences while in the US, depending largely upon the timing.

Before leaving for a few months there’s a bit of planning that must be done: what to take, what to leave (as with many moves), who’s going to watch the house, and when you find that right person, leaving instructions and rent checks with them.  Then I drag a suitcase stuffed full through at least three airports.  And finally, I drive four hours (after a good night’s sleep at my son’s house).  So it’s also a bit like an airport version of a marathon: The Ironwoman Traveling Missionary Triathlon.

Happily, I have the Lord to help me—after all, I always say that my apartment is really God’s house that He has so graciously allowed me to live in.  Every year, He has brought the right person into my life at just the right time.  And the right timing is not only for me, but also for the other person.  I love how God’s way always benefits both parties, one way and another.

So, I’ve made this year’s move back to Asheville, and I’m looking forward to good things.  I have good friends here, good neighbors, a church I love, and best of all: family.  God is good!

Appointment in the Park


One organization that I have been collaborating with is Expo on 4 Wheels.  They have a decommissioned city bus that they gutted.  They built a really nice interior so that it is a mobile church, with a cozy sitting area, a small café, and a giveaway library of Christian books.  They have been parked on the busiest shopping street in Milan for the duration of the Expo (which ends at the end of October).  The purpose of the bus is sharing Jesus with the many, many tourists that the Expo has brought to town—an estimated 22 million visitors.  Most of those visitors speak English because it has become the universal language.

This is actually the organization’s second bus.  The first one travels all over Italy, stopping in the cities, parking wherever the city in question allows, and sharing Jesus with the passers-by.  Now they have gotten a third bus that they will park in Rome for the Year of Jubilee at the Vatican.  For the Jubilee, the pope has declared this year will be a year of Plenary Indulgence—the very thing that caused Martin Luther to nail his 500 Theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg, which started the Reformation.

I have been collaborating with the Expo Bus people in a number of ways: I have donated Christian books and Bibles (in English and Italian), I’ve offered my house as a place to rest and eat lunch out of the city’s summer heat, I’ve brought them some of my houseguests that were interested in sharing Jesus while they’re here, and I’ve prayed with them.  Now I’ve also been asked for the second time to come to the park and translate for them.

The first time I really didn’t know what to expect.  All I was told was that they needed someone to translate into English.  Turns out that the park is host to about two dozen refugees—many of whom do not know Italian, but do speak English, thus the need for a translator.  They mostly come from Nigeria, which is an English-speaking country.  Madonna had prepared two big pots of a one-dish rice meal.  It smelled so good that it made me regret my Saturday fasting.  A couple of Spanish-speaking pastors arrived soon after I got there and began setting up a tent and a portable microphone and speaker.

This activity drew people like flies.  The vast majority of them were young men from Africa, but there was one Italian woman and a couple of Italian men, too.  Some friends I knew from church began to arrive, too, including a young man with a guitar.

He began to play familiar church songs, both old and new, in Italian and in English.  That’s when I realized that we were going to have church in the park—and I was going to be translating the sermon.  I think that if I had known that ahead of time the first time, I would have been nervous.  But I didn’t have time to think about it, much less to get nervous about speaking in public—a fear that I still face, even after a lot of experience speaking in churches.  (Courage, I have learned, is not the absence of fear.  Courage is facing-down that fear and doing what you know you must do anyway.)

The songs were clearly enjoyed by all, with some of the men clapping hands and even a few dancing.  I love the way music bridges all barriers: language, culture, economic, etc.

Then Madonna told them about having cancerous tumors all over her body, how in fear and desperation she had cried out to God for help.  And the next time she went for treatment, the doctor could find no cancer.  She had been healed once and for all.  Translating her personal story was both fun and satisfying—especially when ten people received Jesus.

After that, the food was served.  Even the Muslim men who had stayed away until now were given a warm meal.  The Muslims were mostly from Egypt and Sudan.  Some of them also spoke English, and almost none of them spoke Italian.  Some of them looked very young, too, perhaps in their teens.

Despite the cultural and linguistic gaps, there were lots of smiles all around.  I couldn’t help but feel very hopeful about their future in Europe.  If they receive such a warm welcome from Christians, perhaps they will want to know this Jesus.  It hasn’t been this way throughout Europe, but I was so glad to be a part of a generous and loving group.  It’s not through tightening borders and armed guards that we will change the world.  It’s only through love.  And by loving our fellow man, we are the true ambassadors for our loving God because God is love (1 John 4:8 & 16).  And as I always say: God is good!

Another Fun Day’s Work

cat cafe2

I got a message from Giuliana on Facebook the other day.  She wanted to come to Milan to see me.  She had come to Italy to visit her mother in Ancona and could make a day trip to Milan, if I was available.  It turns out that I was available.  So this morning I met her at the train station.  This was our first meeting.  She had connected with me on Facebook through mutual friends that had visited me this summer.

Despite the Italian name and her mother in Ancona, Giuliana is from Ukraine.  Since she only had the day here, I asked her what she had in mind in coming.  She said that mostly she just wanted to meet up with me and to possibly make connections through me with other musicians in Italy.  But she had an issue with her phone to deal with first.  Since Giuliana doesn’t speak Italian, she needed my help to explain the problem to the phone store.

While the phone guy was dealing with her problem, I got a call from Nina.  She had come to my house, hoping to find me and go out to lunch with me.  This was important because the day after tomorrow I return to the US for my annual Thanksgiving and Christmas visit.  We made plans to meet for lunch, and Giuliana was invited, too.

man and cat

Once her phone issue was resolved, we decided to go to a place I had seen on Facebook: Crazy Cat Café.  It is close to the train station, so we walked over.  There was a line of people waiting to get in.  So we got into line and spent the next fifteen minutes getting to know each other better.  Then we were ushered in.  Our table had a sugar container, napkins, and a cat toy on it.  Although they say that they have six cats, from our table, we didn’t see any cats at first.

cat cafe5

The waiter took our order, explaining that since this was their Opening Day, they had a very limited menu.  We ordered American coffee and a brownie each.  After he went to fill the order, I saw a small gray cat dash by.  A woman at a nearby table lunged for the cat, but never got close to it.  I was horrified at her behavior.  Cats need time to warm up to people, and this one was clearly spooked already.

cat cafe7

In my opinion (which is what you always get on my blog), the Crazy Cat Café’s opening was a success.  The coffee was real American coffee, not espresso with hot water added.  And the brownie was both chocolaty and a light texture.  When we exited there was still a line of people waiting to get in.  I told those in line that it is worth the wait.  The owner was out there and heard me say it.  He said, “Thanks!”  The sincerest compliment is the one made when you didn’t know the person could hear you.

cat cafe

Then we returned to the train station where we met Nina and Michael.  We went for a pizza and they got to know Giuliana, as I translated.  It was a nice lunch and good time together.  Then Nina and Michael said their goodbyes, knowing that they would not see me for a few months.


Then Giuliana and I went to my apartment.  On the way we stopped at the bus, where lots of people (from all over Italy and beyond) have been sharing Jesus with passers-by on the busiest shopping street in Milan.  I explained my ministry, how I collaborate with missionaries, like those at the bus, and how my apartment is used for hosting missionaries that come to Milan.  She liked the idea of hospitality as a way of encouraging missionaries.  Then I went online and helped her buy her return ticket to Ancona.  She wanted to stay long enough to get a good visit, but not so long that she would arrive late at night.  So we got the ticket and hopped onto the bus that goes downtown.  Although Giuliana had been to Milan before, she’s never had the opportunity to see much of it.  I told her, “You’re in luck!  Pretty much everything worth seeing in Milan you can see in a day.”

Chocolate shoes

I said, “I think you need to see some chocolate shoes.”  If you want to see the look she gave me, look in the mirror because you’re probably making the same face right now.  On the seventh floor of the department store by the Duomo Cathedral is a display of chocolate shoes and chocolate purses.  Of course she took pictures.  Then I took her out the door to the rooftop café, where you have the best view of the cathedral’s roof.  Although it is possible to take an elevator to the cathedral roof, this is the best way to experience the roof (again, in my humble opinion).  She took some more pictures and we left before we would reasonably be required to buy an over-priced coffee.

pasta chandelier

From there we went through the Galleria, and on the way we saw a spaghetti chandelier.  Of course, I had to take a selfie under the spaghetti chandelier!  Then on to the Galleria, where people were spinning on their heels on the bull’s nether regions (for luck—I’m glad that I don’t have to depend on luck, being blessed).  And then a look at La Scala, which is really not very impressive from the outside.  I wanted to take her for a walk down Corso Dante toward the castle, and on the way we heard piano music.  I thought it sounded like a real piano, not a keyboard.  When we got close enough to see, it was indeed a real piano.  Since Giuliana plays the keyboards, she was very interested to see and hear this piano busker.  I admit, I’ve seen buskers with a variety of instruments, but this is the first time I’ve seen one playing a real wooden piano in the open air.  He was very good.

Giuliana really wanted some gelato, so we sat at an outdoor café, eating gelato and watching the parade of tourists go by.  What a life!

Then it was time to take her back to the train station.  I’ve said it before: my work hardly feels like work, and today was an outstanding example of that.  God, the maker of cats, is good!

cat cafe3

Web of Lies – Spin, Spin, Spin


Throughout my childhood, my dad watched the nightly news religiously and read the newspaper, believing every word of it.  When I was grown, my husband had the same daily habit of watching the television news and reading the newspaper.  All my life the one constant that seemed reliable was the news.  Like my dad, like my husband, I had believed that the news was a reliable source of current information.

Then I found out how wrong I could be.  For me it started around 1967 with the publication of The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan.  The premise of the book is the power of the media to effect people both individually and corporately.  That book gave me my first clue that news could be used to manipulate.  Of course, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao knew the power of the media to serve their purposes.  They knew used propaganda as a way to gain and keep power.

Then in the 80’s columnist William Safire coined the term spin doctor.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines spin doctor as: “a political press agent or publicist employed to promote a favorable interpretation of events to journalists.”  Soon the journalists themselves took on the role of spin doctors for either the left or the right wing (back in the days when there was a difference between the two).

I learned firsthand about the media spin doctors when I, together with other members of our local Mother’s Club, was interviewed for a newspaper article about stay-at-home mothers.  This was sometime in the early 90’s.  The reporter asked me if it was a sacrifice to stay at home with my kids.  I was innocently unaware that the question was loaded, and responded: “Of course it’s a sacrifice.  You have to give up some things.  But nothing could compare with being here to see my children grow.”  She left out the last sentence of my statement.  In fact, all of us were misquoted or had quotes taken out of context.  The reporter had a feminist agenda, and it served her purpose to make it look like staying home with our children had created a hardship on our families.  This reporter had made all of us sound like cry-babies because we had given up our nice offices, our extra income, and most of all our freedom.  In fact, none of us had said anything even remotely like that.

I wrote a letter to the editor, complaining about being misquoted.  My letter was acknowledged with a form letter.  The error was never corrected.  I felt so used.

I never really trusted the media again after that—and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  If I told you everything I believe that the media has lied to the public about, you would probably call me a conspiracy nut[1].  One in particular involves Israel: the media conspiracy of negative spin for Israel.  Every time a Palestinian is wounded or killed, it is reported as another Israeli atrocity.  At the same time, all the Palestinian attacks are overlooked as not being newsworthy in the International press.

For example today Reuters published a picture of a young Palestinian man who accidentally set himself on fire while getting ready to throw a Molotov cocktail at Israeli troops.  Here’s the photo and the caption:

Palestinian protesters put out a fire burning on a compatriot, caused by a molotov cocktail which he was trying to hurl at Israeli troops during clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron, October 13, 2015.

Palestinian protesters put out a fire burning on a compatriot, caused by a molotov cocktail which he was trying to hurl at Israeli troops during clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron, October 13, 2015.

Notice those words: protesters, compatriot, and clashes.  It makes these guys sound like the anti-war peaceniks of the 1960’s.  This young man is not some down-trodden protester whose rights have been denied.  This is a would-be terrorist.  If an Israeli had tried to do the same thing to the Palestinian guards, the media would have the world screaming in outrage.

Daily Israel is subjected to rocket attacks, bombs, shootings, and now stabbings and car attacks.  Most of the attacks have come from Gaza and the West Bank—regions that Israel surrendered to the Palestinians in the hopes of finding peaceful coexistence.

Israel surrendered those lands despite the facts that:

  • Palestine is not mentioned in the Koran—not once.
  • The Holyland is mentioned in the Koran as “the land that was written by Allah to Israel.”
    • The return of the Jews to the Holyland is foretold in the Koran (5:21 and 17:104).
  • The Holyland was given to Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob (AKA Israel) by God as a permanent covenant about 4000 years ago.
  • Palestine is not nor ever has been a sovereign country, despite the fact that it was under Arab rule for a couple thousand years—during which time they never established a Palestinian state, nor did the Palestinians ask for it.
  • The Palestinians didn’t even choose their name. The name was given to the land by the Emperor Hadrian who wanted to punish Judea for its revolt in the first century.
  • There is no Palestinian language.
  • The Palestinian people had no national anthem until 1996 when it was adopted by the PLO (a terrorist group).
  • Likewise, the Palestinian people had no flag until the “flag of the state of Palestine” was adopted by the PLO in 1964.
  • Hamas (also a terrorist group) was founded in 1987, and is situated in Gaza and other Palestinian areas.
    • Hamas’ charter calls for the “obliteration or dissolution of Israel.”
    • Hamas has never rescinded their charter, and has no intention of doing so. Therefore:
    • Hamas will never accept a two-state solution.
  • Shortly after the Six Day War, the Arab states went to Khartoum, Sudan and came up with their famous Three No’s:
    • No peace with Israel.
    • No recognition of Israel.
    • No negotiations with Israel.

Does that sound like people who are willing to share land and live in peace?

Attacks on Israeli citizens goes mostly unreported or is reported with the kind of slant that we see in the burning story above.  Furthermore, Hamas and the PLO launch missiles from houses and schools, using women and children as human shields.  This is why Israel doesn’t continually fire back.  They could, but they want to keep civilian casualties to a minimum.


The Palestinians fake their body count for the media, too.

Now there’s the very real threat of the whole region going into nuclear war thanks to the Iran deal.  Oh yes, I know that our politicians, news people, and even celebrities are saying that the Iran deal will make things safer in the region.  But that’s a dangerously ridiculous assumption.  The key selling point to the Iran deal is based on the assumption that it is the only alternative to war—it’s not.  It also assumes that Iranians love their children, too, but there are plenty of Muslim mothers who have gladly sent their children to die as suicide attackers.  There’s an important reason for this twisted mindset.  Women are not promised a place in heaven.  In fact, the only way that a woman can get into heaven under Islam is for one of her close relatives to die in jihad.

In addition, Iran has never changed its rhetoric about the United States being the Big Satan (or Israel the Little Satan).  It won’t under this deal, either.  Do you think that Iran has changed its mind about the Three No’s?  Of course not!

Let’s take a look at the Iran agreement.  The key points of the Iran deal are these:

  • Iran is required to give up 97 percent of its enriched uranium—without which it is impossible to produce nuclear energy.
    • Enriched uranium is also the necessary ingredient for a nuclear bomb.
    • Iran will maintain the capacity to quickly increase its stockpile of enriched uranium.
  • Iran will be allowed to continue producing enriched uranium, but required to decrease the purity of its uranium to very low levels—3.67 percent.
    • A purity of 90 percent is required for making a nuclear weapon.
    • Iran must keep to this low-purity level for fifteen years.
  • Iran will be required to give up two-thirds of its centrifuges.
    • Centrifuges are used to enrich uranium.
    • Iran currently has 19,000 centrifuges, and will have to reduce that number to 5,000.
    • Iran may maintain another thousand centrifuges for research.
    • Iran will be required to keep the low number of centrifuges for ten years.
    • After that it would take Iran a year to produce enough 90 percent pure enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon.
  • Lastly, there will be inspections.
    • UN inspectors will be monitoring nuclear sites.
    • Iran can challenge requests for access and deny access to military sites outright.
    • The inspectors must provide a basis for concern in order to schedule an inspection.
    • An Iranian challenge could delay inspection for up to twenty-four days—which is plenty of time to hide the evidence of violations.
  • And for all this, Iran gets sanctions relief and the release of $150 Billion of frozen assets.

Under Islam, lying to infidels is considered a virtue.  Of course they lied in order to seal this sweet deal and get all this jihad money released so that they can get on with their primary objectives:

  1. Kill all the Sunnis.
  2. Kill all the Jews.
  3. Kill all the Christians.
  4. Usher in the twelfth imam and establish a caliphate under him.
  5. Bring the whole world under Islamic rule.

Do you see what a terrible idea this is?  It’s like leaving your teenage son at home for the weekend with a liquor cabinet full of alcohol and telling him “No parties!  I’ll call the day before I come to check up on you.”  Pardon my mixing the metaphor, but we’re leaving the foxes in charge of the hen house.

Israel defends itself

This deal grants Iran the right to keep its nuclear program, despite the facts that:

  • Iran has continued for decades to proclaim its intention to annihilate the Jews and the Jewish state of Israel.
    • Iran has also continued to proclaim and hold “Death to America” rallies.
    • Iran continues to be the birthplace of worldwide terrorism.
    • Iran has sponsored the deaths of thousands of American soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon.
    • Iran has also sponsored the deaths of thousands of civilians on American soil (or have we forgotten 9/11?).
  • The proponents of the Iran deal claim that it is The Alternative to War, which is a load of baloney because:
    • The alternative was never war, the alternative was to continue tightening sanctions against Iran.
      • The sanctions were weakening the Iranian regime and
      • Reducing Iran’s ability to fund terrorist groups worldwide.
    • The Iran deal greatly increases the probability of war by strengthening the regime both politically and financially.
      • When expansionist regimes get richer they don’t spend their wealth on building their own nation, they spend it on expansion.
    • They also claim that the Iran deal will bring Iran into the Community of Nations.
      • That might work if Iran wanted to be in the Community of Nations, but they don’t.
      • No other country in the Community of Nations is committed to the annihilation of another country.
      • No other country is a bigger funder of worldwide terrorism.
    • All these assumptions fail to recall who it is that makes up the Iranian regime:
      • Al-Qaeda,
      • Boko Haram,
      • ISIS, and
      • Other, smaller terrorist groups.
    • The Iranian regime has executed more people than any other nation except China, which has seventeen times the population of Iran.
    • A woman has few rights in Iran, and is considered little more than chattel.
    • Likewise infidels have few rights and are considered less than human.

It doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to figure out what Iran will do with all that extra money.  They have always put money into terrorist groups, and it’s stupid to think that they won’t go right back to doing exactly that.

Once the weapons embargo is lifted, what will Iran do?  Again, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see them building up their arsenal, including nuclear weapons.

In conclusion here’s the latest assault on the Jews: UN Cultural Arm sets Vote on Designating Western Wall as Muslim Domain.

God said to Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you,” (Genesis 12:3).  It’s simple, even if the whole world is against Israel, if God is on their side, they can’t possibly lose.  God is good!

[1] In fact, I believe that there are quite a few conspiracies going on out there, all having to do with setting up the New World Order (see The Rabbit Hole, Wormholes, and Other Crazy Stuff).

A Visit to Tuscany



Mark this date with red letters: today I took my first train trip as a discounted senior.  In Israel, in addition to all the stuff we saw and did, I did this: I turned sixty.

I have to admit that this number sort of snuck up on me.  I certainly didn’t feel like I was approaching seniorhood—until I fell and broke my wrist, and then fell again and badly dislocated my hip.  Today I’m recovered, and have most of my strength back, but I have to admit that I am feeling sixty.

But that’s the nice thing about getting the senior discount.  Now I feel like I do deserve it—I’ve earned this discount, baby!

So today I came to Tuscany to visit the three dear sets of friends.  The first are Marta and Pietro (see Encouraging Gypsy Believers).  Marta and Pietro are expecting their first grandchild, but otherwise they are facing a lot of opposition in their ministry.  I knew about the former, but not about the latter.  They were very glad to have me come meet and pray with them.  Marta wanted to pray about her granddaughter, too.  I hadn’t heard that they knew the baby’s gender.  Upon hearing it, I nearly screamed in my excitement: “It’s a girl?  It’s a girl?”  It was like I was reliving that moment when I first found out about my own granddaughter.

The second set of missionaries I needed to meet were Elisa and Paul—Marta and Pietro’s daughter and son-in-law.  Elisa was preparing brunch for us because Paul had to leave early in the afternoon to go to a conference.  I told Elisa how thrilled I was to know that the baby is a girl.  And she looks very healthy, ready for Sara Grace’s birth in December.

The brunch (which Pietro pronounced brunk) was a delicious, multi-cultural event, with scrambled eggs, scones, homemade peanut butter, and a sweet sauce made from coffee and maple syrup.

We enjoyed a great, though brief visit, with a wonderful time of prayer together.  Then Marta drove me to another little Tuscan town to spend the night with my friend, Suki, and her family.  We’ll see what tomorrow holds.


go SA

Suki and Lincoln are missionaries who live by faith.  Their life is very different here in Italy than it was in their native South Africa.  There they both had jobs that paid very well.  They owned a nice house and had cars.  Then they got the call to Italy.  They sold everything and came to Italy.  They worked part-time and temporary jobs here, supplementing their meager income with their savings until that savings ran out and so did the work.  They have neither one had a job in a few years now, yet their rent gets paid and they have plenty of groceries.

There are a lot of missionaries like them who have no visible means of support.  But what makes Suki and Lincoln different is that they don’t worry about it.  They don’t complain about it.  They don’t stress over it.  They don’t scramble about, begging people to donate to their ministry.  They don’t try to make ends meet by their own human striving.  They simply believe that they are called as missionaries to Italy, and that since God called them, He will also provide for them.  And He does.  He always does.

Suki and Lincoln are evangelists, sharing the gospel one-on-one with everyone they meet.  In addition, Suki visits churches around Italy and shares her story about how she came to know Jesus (see Night and Day).  So even though they don’t work for any human, Suki and Lincoln work for God, and He pays their rent and food in miraculous ways.

So we spent some time in prayer, and then they asked me if I would like to watch the rugby match on TV after lunch.  I love rugby, so of course I said yes.  As a Texan, I love American football, but rugby is even better than football.  Rugby has the same heart-stopping passes and interceptions, fantastic catches, exciting dives into the end zone, and precision goal kicks from midfield.  But in rugby there’s also the scrum, which looks like a schoolyard brawl.  In fact, a lot of the time, rugby play will devolve into a pile of bodies, a tangle of random arms and legs that you’re almost certain will cause the referee to stop the clock.  Sometimes it does, but often it doesn’t, and someone will suddenly pop up with the ball and start running toward the goal.  After rugby, football seems so S-L-O-W!  In rugby the clock almost never stops.  South Africa won, which made the day even better.


Graffiti David

Their friend, Stefano, came over to have breakfast, house church, and lunch with Suki and Lincoln and their kids.  After which, Stefano was going to take them grocery shopping, since they don’t have a car and the supermarket is too far to carry a week’s worth of groceries.

Their house church evolved out of necessity because the churches in their town were either physically unreachable without a car or unbiblical in their preaching.  We ended with prayers for Suki and Lincoln, for Stefano, and also for me before my trip back to the United States.

After lunch Stefano drove me to the train station so that I could catch a train.  This has been a wonderful weekend of fun visits, great food prepared by a couple of gifted cooks, and lots of encouragement and prayer.  As I’ve said before, my Boss is the greatest.  He treats me like a princess, and like a daughter.  God is good!

Science: the Atheist Religion


Science—and most especially evolution—has become the religion of the atheists.  Let’s define a few terms, and I’ll show you what I mean:

Science – Systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation[1].

While most religions believe the cause of the universe to be a Creator, atheists believe that the cause was an event: the Big Bang.

The Big Bang – Happened when the universe expanded from an extremely dense and hot state and continues to expand today[2].

Ask them where the Big Bang’s matter and energy came from, and they have no answer.  In fact, asking this question has caused atheists to postulate that it came from other dimensions.  Other dimensions seems like an easy place to store a lot of unanswerable questions (more on that later).  But follow that trail by asking where other dimensions got the matter and energy, and they have no answer.

Entropy – The tendency of a system that is left to itself to descend into chaos[3].

Spontaneous Generation – The idea was that certain forms such as fleas could arise from inanimate matter such as dust, or that maggots could arise from dead flesh[4].

Abiogenesis – the natural process of life arising from non-living matter, such as simple organic compounds[5].

EvolutionThe theory that all existing organisms developed from earlier forms by natural selection[6].

The theory of Abiogenesis replaced Spontaneous Generation when Louis Pasteur disproved it in a laboratory.  Entropy—which is universally observable (remember the definition of science above!)—completely negates the possibility of either Abiogenesis and the theory of Evolution.  Yet the atheists, scientists, and atheist scientists hang onto evolution like a drowning man hangs onto a life preserver or a miser hangs onto his money.

Here’s the paradox: Remember, Entropy says that everything goes from order to chaos over time.  Yet, they believe that non-living matter can create life.  It’s absurd!  They believe that some biological features mutated in a beneficial way, despite the fact that no beneficial mutation has ever been observed.

And don’t even get me started on the Cambrian Explosion (impossible under the theory of Evolution) or the large and glaring gaps in the fossil record.  They have never found a missing link and they never will because there isn’t one.  Every previous discovery of a “missing link” turned out to be misidentified or a hoax.

science and God

So in the macrocosm Evolution absolutely cannot be proven.  Never mind what clinging to an absurd belief says about their sanity.  Let’s take a look at the microcosm now.

Irreducible Complexity – Describes a single biological system which is composed of several interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to cease functioning[7].

Scientists hate the concept of Irreducible Complexity because it is absolute and irrefutable proof that the theory of Evolution is complete hogwash.  Let me explain: If organisms evolved from simple to complex (as the scientists posit), then it stands to reason that there existed sightless creatures before creatures with eyes and the ability to see.  Eyes being more complex than no eyes, right?  So where is the mutation that brought about eyes?  Where is the millions of years of creatures with a pre-eye organ that evolved into an eye?  It doesn’t exist!  So if evolutionists are to be believed, then one day a creature spontaneously grew an eye where there had previously been no eye and no pre-eye organ.  This not only contradicts Irreducible Complexity, but it also disproves millions of years of Evolution.

The complex cellular motor called a flagellum is also an example of Irreducible Complexity.  No engineer on earth has ever been able to match the marvel that is the tiny rotor that propels the flagellum.  Yet, there has never been found a pre-flagellum organ.  Over millions of years, and not one single creature found with either a pre-flagellum or a pre-eye.

Yet they continue to hang onto the theory of Evolution like a starving person hangs onto bread.

Occam’s Razor – In explaining something assumptions must not be needlessly multiplied[8].  In other words, all things being equal, the simplest explanation is always best.

The theory of Evolution requires far too many assumptions to possibly be embraced as truth.  Yet they continue to cling to it like woman clings to her purse in a bad neighborhood.

That was when I realized that the theory of Evolution has nothing whatsoever to do with science.  Remember that science is defined as “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.”  Science seeks knowledge, but not truth.  Otherwise, they would drop the theory of Evolution in the trash where it belongs.  Here’s one last definition:

ReligionA set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe[9].  Atheists, scientists, and atheist scientists cling to this ridiculous set of beliefs against all reason and despite all the facts that cry out against it.

Atheism is actually very irrational.  The late Christopher Hitchens is well-known for saying, “There is no God and I hate Him.”  I can’t think of a more irrational statement than that.

It takes blind faith to believe in the theory of Evolution.  But perhaps eyes to see will suddenly spring into being, and they’ll see the light.  Until then, take their theories with a grain of salt—a large one!  God is good!

[1] According to, (emphasis mine).

[2] According to Wikipedia.

[3] According to

[4] According to Wikipedia.

[5] According to Wikipedia.

[6] According to, (emphasis mine).

[7] According to

[8] According to Wikipedia.

[9] Ibid. (emphasis mine).

Living on Borrowed Time – Part Three


Again, I’m going to let God’s Word do the speaking about Living on Borrowed Time:

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their Master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when He comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for Him.  It will be good for those servants whose Master finds them watching when He comes.  Truly I tell you, He will dress Himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.  It will be good for those servants whose Master finds them ready, even if He comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.  You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.

Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the Master puts in charge of His servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?  It will be good for that servant whom the Master finds doing so when He returns.  Truly I tell you, He will put him in charge of all His possessions.  But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk.  The Master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect Him and at an hour he is not aware of.  He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

“The servant who knows the Master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the Master wants will be beaten with many blows.  But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.  From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked,” (Luke 12:35-48, emphasis mine)[1].

Notice how many times in this passage Jesus reminds us to be ready.  He reminds us to keep at our assigned tasks and promises three times that it will be good for us if He returns and finds us doing what He told us to do.

In my last post (see Living on Borrowed Time, Part Two) I wrote about scoffers, people who say that everything is just continuing as it always has (2 Peter 3:4, paraphrased).  In reality, of course, they are so enamored of this world and its pleasures that they don’t want the party to end.  They see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear, and believe what they want to believe.  And Jesus said that life would continue as before, with people eating, drinking, marrying, and partying on right up to the final moment[2] (Matthew 24:38, paraphrased).  Not all of those caught unawares are unbelievers.  Notice verse 46 of our passage from Luke 12.  It says that He will “assign him a place with the unbelievers.”  So some of these partiers are believers.

I don’t believe that this means that He will send them to hell (unless they never made a genuine commitment to Jesus in the first place).  I believe that this means that they will be left behind at the Rapture.

The thing that differentiates the Bride of Christ from the average believer is that the Bride is making herself ready.  Let’s take a look at how a bride makes herself ready:

Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem.  She pleased him and won his favor, (Esther 2:8-9, emphasis mine).

Hegai was a pagan (demon-worshiping) eunuch.  Esther’s religion (Judaism) would have made her shun such people[3].  But Paul advised us:

Be wise in the way you act toward [unbelievers]; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone, (Colossians 4:5-6).

That is exactly how Esther pleased Hegai and won his favor.  And although the Bible doesn’t explicitly state it, I believe that the Holy Spirit imparted this wisdom to her.  Here was his response:

Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food.  He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem, (Esther 2:9, emphasis mine).

Hegai immediately gave her every advantage in the contest to win the king’s heart: beauty treatments, special food, seven royal attendants, and the best place in the harem (where no doubt, she could enjoy undisturbed sleep).

Let’s read on about Esther’s preparation for meeting the king:

Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women . . . (Esther 2:12).

Twelve months of beauty treatments speaks of a person’s commitment to the goal—going in to the King.  We need to be committed to our King, and desire to go in to Him.  Twelve is the number of government.  We need to be committed and submitted to His Heavenly government.

. . . six months with oil of myrrh . . . (Esther 2:12).

Six months also speaks to commitment and six is the number of humanity.  Oil of myrrh was a spice used for preparation of dead bodies.  We need to be sure that we have truly died to self.  I’ve noted before that self dies one of those long, drawn-out opera deaths: singing and dying, only to get up and sing some more, flailing and flopping on the stage before it’s finally dead.  We cannot become fully alive spiritually until we have put our flesh and its desires to death.

. . . and six with perfumes and cosmetics, (Esther 2:12).

Frequently the Holy Spirit will manifest as a pleasing fragrance (usually flowers).  “Pleasing is the fragrance of Your perfumes; Your Name is like perfume poured out.  No wonder the young women love You!” (Song of Songs 1:3).

Cosmetics are used to emphasize the good features, while de-emphasizing the bad.  This can be understood as developing good character traits while unlearning the bad.  The key to the cosmetic process is closeness with the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit will give you the grace (power) to overcome the bad stuff in your character, while drawing you into a deeper love with Jesus.  That deeper love will cause the good character traits to bud and blossom in your life—creating the fragrance of Christ in your life.

And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. . . . When the turn came for Esther to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai suggested (Esther 2:13 & 15).

Even more than the other things that Hegai did for Esther, his knowledge of the king’s tastes helped Esther choose something to bring—something that would truly please him.  What can we bring to our Heavenly Bridegroom from earth?  Only one thing, and that is the thing He wants more than anything: other people.  When you begin to understand God’s heart for the lost, you will develop that heart, too.  When you go into the King, take as many people as you can with you.  Nothing could please Him more!

Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her, (Esther 2:15).

I think it’s significant that everyone loved Esther.  Because they loved her, the king saw how they treated her, and this no doubt inspired his own love for her.  That’s not to say that God is influenced by how other people think about us.  But our relationships and our love is not only supposed to be vertical (towards God), but also horizontal (towards others).  If we love and forgive others, God counts that in our favor, even if they don’t love us.

She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, (Esther 2:16).

Tebeth is the tenth month.  Ten is the number of divine order.  It’s also double grace (five being the number of grace).  Seven is the number of perfection and completion.  Esther was divinely ordained to be queen and enjoyed grace multiplied.  The timing was perfect.  And all of this was not just for Esther, herself, but for her people.  God divinely set her in place to save her people.

We also must wait for the proper time, which only God the Father knows.  The timing will be perfect in every way, for us, for the world left behind, and for foiling the worst of the defeated enemy’s plans.  God has divinely ordained us to be a part of His Kingdom, but not only for ourselves.  We are given this amazing gift in order to share it with others.  I believe that part of God’s strategy in the timing will be snatching some people right out of the defeated enemy’s hands when he’s momentarily distracted.

So, like Esther, we should be preparing ourselves to meet the king by:

  • Good conduct with unbelievers.
  • Making the most of every advantage that we have for our spiritual growth, including:
    • Beauty treatments – “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight, (1 Peter 3:3-4, emphasis mine).
    • Special food – Feed on the Word of God every day. Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life.  Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty,” (John 6:35).
    • Seven royal attendants – Don’t hesitate to ask God for angelic help—that’s what they’re there for! “Are not all the angels ministering spirits sent out [by God] to serve (accompany, protect) those who will inherit salvation? [Of course they are!]” (Hebrews 1:14, AMP, emphasis mine).
    • The best place in the harem – As I noted, this was to give her undisturbed rest. So spend time with God.  Rest in Him.  The Lord told Moses: “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest,” (Exodus 33:14).  Sometimes you may find that you fall asleep during times of prayer.  This is nothing to be ashamed of.  Rather, I believe that spending time with God is sometimes, just being so comfortable in His Presence that you slip into sleep.  I’ve noticed that these are always times of the most refreshing rest[4].

Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins.  So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.  And the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials.  He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality, (Esther 2:17-18).

This story wouldn’t be complete without seeing the king’s reaction to Esther.  He was attracted to her, he favored her above all the others, he crowned her, he gave a great banquet for her, he proclaimed a holiday, and he generously gave gifts because of her.  Our Bridegroom will be attracted to us—like a magnet—and us to Him.  We will fly to Him faster than rockets.  Our Bridegroom will favor us above all the others who are left behind—believers who didn’t bother to be watching for Him.  He will crown us at the Bema Seat Judgment, in which our works will be tested[5].  He will give us a banquet like no other seen in Heaven or on earth.  He will proclaim a holiday—for us, his Bride!  He will generously give gifts because of us!

scary cake

This is going to be a celebration like none other.  After all:

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him, (1 Corinthians 2:9).

God thinks way bigger than we can even imagine, so this celebration will break all records of all the celebrations of earth combined—by an enormous margin.  Get ready to have the best time imaginable—or get ready to go through the worst suffering the world has ever seen.  The choice is yours.  God is good!

[1] I recommend reading the whole chapter to see the context and the other things that Jesus said right before and right after this passage.

[2] By “final moment,” I don’t necessarily mean their deaths, though some will surely die.  What I mean is the final moment before Jesus returns to Rapture His Bride away.

[3] For a better understanding of how Jews interacted with pagans, take a look at the reaction of the woman at the well to Jesus’ willingness to have her give Him some water (John 4:8-9).

[4] Of course, sleeping is no substitute for prayer.

[5] Note: the Bema Seat Judgment is not about salvation, and we can never do enough good works to ever hope to be saved.  Salvation is a free gift.  But we are expected to do something for the Kingdom with the gifts that God has given us.  This is where our works will be judged.  Some will win a crown, some will not, and some will win multiple crowns.

Living on Borrowed Time – Part Two


I’m going to let God’s Word do the speaking about Living on Borrowed Time.  Buckle your seatbelts and let’s go:

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.  They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ He promised?  Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”  But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.  By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.  By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.  Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.  The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?  You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.  That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him, (2 Peter 3:3-14, emphasis mine).

These days after the multiple disasters predicted for September 2015 didn’t happen, people—even believers!—have started scoffing.  After all:

  • The Jupiter Effect planetary alignment disasters of 1982 didn’t happen.
  • Heaven’s Gate cult, comet Hale-Bopp apocalypse of 1997 didn’t happen.
  • Nostradamus’ prediction of August 1999 terror from the sky didn’t happen.
  • The disasters predicted for Y2K didn’t happen.
  • The May 5, 2000 Antarctic ice mass disaster didn’t happen.
  • The End of the World deaths of millions predicted for 2008 didn’t happen.
  • The Mayan Calendar end of the world in December 2012 didn’t happen.
  • And now, the multiple deaths and disasters (both natural and economic) predicted for September 2015 didn’t happen[1].

All these failed disaster predictions have birthed a term called apocalyptic fatigue.  Apocalyptic fatigue no doubt explains why so many people (including believers) have become scoffers.  The above passage from 2 Peter addresses both the failure to predict the date of the coming judgment and the scoffing due to apocalyptic fatigue.

It’s true that everything seems to be going along just as it always has.  That doesn’t mean that judgment isn’t coming.  It doesn’t mean that God is asleep (or doesn’t exist).  God is patient, not wanting to have to condemn anyone.  He’s giving mankind a stay of execution (see Living on Borrowed Time—Wake Up!).

And even though it’s been delayed, it doesn’t mean that the Rapture won’t happen, either.  Some believers have become Rapture Deniers (see Scoffers and Rapture Deniers).  I think part of the reason why they deny the Rapture is because it just seems too good to be true.  You know how some people have the philosophy that if they expect the worst, then they will be pleasantly surprised when something better happens.  Well, it won’t work that way for believers who deny the Rapture.  They will get exactly what they’re expecting—only it will be far worse than they’ve imagined.  I do believe that some are called to stay behind in order to share Jesus with the world left behind.  But some will simply miss their divine appointment in Heaven because of unbelief.

Even though mankind has been granted a stay of execution, they need to accept the full pardon that has been given to all of us through the atoning death of Jesus Christ in our place.

If you haven’t accepted the full pardon, it’s very easy and completely painless.  Just admit to God that you have done wrong against Him.  Ask Jesus to be your Savior, and let the Holy Spirit fill you with His love.  Begin to live this new paradigm.  Draw on the Holy Spirit’s help to change and to live a life that pleases God.  It’s not a formula or a method, it’s a moment-to-moment loving relationship.

God will show you where you need to be attending church, whether it’s a traditional church or a simple house church.  Be ready to join a body of believers.  Get into the Bible (and the Bible into you).  The Bible looks like a book, but you will find that it will become very personal in its messages.  This is because the Bible is the Living Word of God.  God will speak to you through the Bible.

Most important of all, now that you’re a believer, get out there and share the love of Jesus with others.  Tell them what He has done for you.  Show them how easy it is to become a child of God.  There is no time to waste!  God is patient, but judgment will come.  God is good!

[1] The link recounts 27 predictions for September/October 2015, which is interesting.  Twenty-seven is the biblical number for the Holy Spirit (3 x 3 x 3) and for Holy Truth.

Living on Borrowed Time—Wake up!!!


So we have all survived September 2015.  As one friend put it, we’ve dodged a bullet.  But not forever.  Judgment will surely fall.  God in His immense and infinite mercy, has granted us a stay of execution.  Of course, not all are slated for execution, but many surely are.  This stay is granted in order to allow everyone who is not saved to choose Jesus—and thus, choose life.

For those of us who are already saved, this postponement is granted in order to give us the opportunity to share Jesus with as many people as possible.  Those who have been attending church, giving God one hour of their week, are being given a chance to win a crown.  They are like the eleventh hour workers (of Matthew 20:1-16)—the last will be first.

A third reason for this postponement is to catch the defeated enemy off guard, which God will surely do.  But that’s all the more reason for us to remain watchful and continuing in the ministry that He has given each of us to do.

And finally, here’s what God has to say about it:

For My own Name’s sake I delay My wrath; for the sake of My Praise I hold it back from you, so as not to destroy you completely, (Isaiah 48:9).


This is NOT the time to sit back and heave a sigh of relief.  This is the time to press on for the prize.  God is good—get out there and tell it to the world!

Livin’ Large in the Dead Sea

muddy friends

My first trip to Israel I did not swim in the Dead Sea.  I remembered the only other time I ever swam in hyper-salty water, The Great Salt Lake, as being a pretty horrible experience.  I did float effortlessly, but the surface of the water was covered in dead flies (or gnats or some other biblical plague of dead insects).  I didn’t know for sure that it would be like that, but with a name like “Dead Sea,” it certainly seemed possible.

But nobody at that time had mentioned dead insects, so I thought I would try it this time.  The water was very warm.  I wore my sports sandals and was glad that I had when I heard Sissy lament about the salt-stony bottom.  When we got about waist-deep, Fabio picked up his feet and demonstrated floating.  I followed suit and my legs flew up to the surface.  The water felt strangely oily, and yet it wasn’t really oily.  There was no oily film on the surface—and no bugs!  It also didn’t feel salty at all.  When a bit of water splashed my lips, it was so unpleasant that I still haven’t found the words to describe the taste.  Salty, yes, but with an exceedingly horrible taste.

Soon I returned to Nina and let her go for a swim.  She had let me go first, knowing that I would soon be back to the shade of the cabana.  My tolerance for the midday sun is practically zero.  Being the only fair-skinned person in our group has made me the one that’s always dashing into the shade, covering my head, and slathering on sunscreen.  *Sigh!*

As I sat, trying to drip-dry, I found that after about an hour, I had really only dried a little bit, and that to a gritty salt.  Mostly, I remained oily-wet.  Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer, and I went to the beach shower.  The water came out so hot that it felt like it was just below the boiling point.  Nevertheless, it felt good to get the salt off my skin.

As I was walking back to our cabana, I saw Fabio and Sissy, Nina and Michael walking toward me, covered from head to toe in mud.  I had to laugh.  They invited me to take a mud bath, but being freshly washed, I declined.  I wanted to enjoy being clean for a little while.

I stayed in the shade of our cabana until it was obvious that the sun was encroaching on my piece of shade.  I told Nina that I was taking the next shuttle back to the visitor center.  Back at the visitor center, I took a proper shower with soap and non-scalding warm water.

Once I was showered, I settled in for some people-watching and thinking.  Imagining dead flies on the surface hadn’t been the only reason I hadn’t gone swimming my first trip to the Dead Sea.  There was a major exhaustion factor.  It was really nice to have a moment to myself while the others took their hurried swim.  The tour had rushed us around for several days at that point, and I was numbed from exhaustion.

Tours to Israel, I realized, were made for the demands of the typical American tourist that wants to get the most “bang for their buck,” and see as much as possible.  So it was ten days of rush here, look at this, rush there, look at that—hurry, hurry, hurry up!  After a ten day trip like that, you need a vacation after your vacation.  So I didn’t feel like hurriedly undressing, rushing into the water (possibly a soup of dead insects!), and then hurriedly dressing again to rush back to Jerusalem for dinner.

Don’t get me wrong, our tour wasn’t a bad one.  But I’m just not a typical American tourist.  Instead of seeing a dozen things, I would rather see two or three really marvelous places each day—and have the time to really be in those places in that moment.

And finally, if I’m perfectly honest (and I try to be), I still struggle with body shame.  So another reason not to swim on the tour is because I didn’t want to be seen in a swimsuit among others, of whom I really only felt truly comfortable with my roommate.  Being willing to swim with these friends shows how comfortable I am with them, and how much I feel loved by them.  So with this swim I put away that idea of dead insects, enjoyed the moment, and healed a bit more from the body shame.  I still have a ways to go, but God is good!