Monday, October 9, 2017

For your viewing pleasure...






Over the past while, we've come across internet articles, here and here, which have decried a couple of popular television shows which, apparently, some Christians watch without batting an eye, shows filled with sexual perversion, foul language, murder and mayhem, and more. The points against were fairly well argued, employing sound and principled reason and backed with solid scriptural support, yet to a significant degree were met with snarky backlash and arguments appealing to the believer's "liberty in Christ".  

The authors referenced Game of Thrones and Stranger Things, two shows which, according to what we've read, seem like a slamdunk no way José kinda thing, but there are a lot more shows out there which contain enough seriously questionable content to make us raise eyebrows when we hear Christians talk of them as being their "favourite" or something they "don't want to miss" each week.  We could name some of them, but the purpose of this post isn't so much to call out specific shows or movies, rather to encourage us all to begin to ask ourselves if what we're putting before our eyes and those of our children should be reconsidered in the light of Scripture.  We really need to become brutally honest about the entertainment choices we’re making and why, as well as the impact they're having upon us and our kiddos.     

Psalm 50:17-18: For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you. If you see a thief, you are pleased with him, and you keep company with adulterers.

Are we keeping company with the adulterers on our screens? Are we in fact becoming adulterers, feeding the lusts in our hearts according to Jesus in Matthew 5:7?


Proverbs 4:14: Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.

When we watch TV or movies, are we figuratively entering and walking down the path of evil, refusing to avoid it, neglecting to turn away from it?

Proverbs 4:23: Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Are we keeping our hearts with vigilance or corrupting them with what we watch?   What's flowing out from us afterward?  What kinds of attitudes?  What manner of speech?   How about our children?  Are they adopting the views and attitudes of the characters in the shows we allow them to watch?

Matthew 5:29: If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.

Is what we're watching causing us to sin?  Is it actually sin to watch?  If there's the possibility of either, oughtn't we pull the plug?

Matthew 6:22: The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.

Are we filling ourselves with light or darkness through the window of our eyes?

Romans 1:32: Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Are we giving tacit approval to sinful behaviour by watching characters engage in it?

Romans 12:2: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Are our thoughts and behaviour conforming to this world through our viewing habits, or are we being transformed, having our minds renewed by the Word of God? Are we diligently endeavouring to discern what is good and acceptable in His sight or lazily giving in to feeding the lust of the flesh?

1 Corinthians 6:9-11: Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

How can we possibly justify our voyeurism as we watch people engaging in what God forbids, when the scriptures tell us that those who practice it will not inherit the kingdom of God?

1 Corinthians 15:33: Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals."

Are the characters we love to watch "bad company" who are corrupting our consciences?  What about our children?  What kind of attitudes and behaviour are the characters in children's shows modeling for our kiddos?

Ephesians 5:3-4: But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.  Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

But we can watch it without a pang of conscience from the comfort of our living rooms?   Really?  

Ephesians 5:11: Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

What’s not to understand about the phrase “take no part”? Aren’t we taking part by viewing these works of darkness?

Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Is what we’re watching true? Is it honourable? Is it just? Pure? Lovely? Commendable? Excellent? Worthy of praise?

James 4:4: You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Is what we're watching encouraging us to embrace an ungodly worldview, to become friends of the world and all it has to offer, or friends of God, desiring to align our thoughts and actions with His?

John 2:15: Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

What do we love? Those things which please the world or those things which please God?  And how does what we view influence that?

Brothers and sisters, it's time we stop justifying what we set before our and our children’s eyes, we need to pray for discernment and exercise it, in this and every area.   

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

We Will Not Bow... Or Have We?



“All the deviations, all the perversions are in the Book of Genesis after the fall, these have always been the corruptions that have marked human society.  Again, in America and the in western world, we’ve had a bit of a reprieve because of the prevailing influence of Christian morality.  The objective of Satan, the objective of demons and, consequently, the objective of all who are the subjects of Satan, the children of Satan as they are called in Scripture, is to destroy everything that God has made.  They are the enemies of God and Christ and the truth of Scripture and the gospel.  The objective is not simply to redefine gender.  The objective is not simply to redefine marriage.  The objective is to destroy what God has designed. 

Families provide a small, sovereign unit that acts as a small barrier against the corruption that seeks to dominate.  Shatter the family, destroy the family, and the small sovereign barrier is disintegrated. 

And by the way, the goal in all of this… is not homosexual, same-sex marriage.  The goal is the total elimination of all marriage.  Which then means that you don’t possess any privacy, you don’t have that small sovereign unit, and your children are not yours.  They’re public children and they belong to the education system, and they belong to the country, and they belong to the village, but not to you.  And so when they’re 15 in the State of Oregon, they can have a sex change without telling their parents and the State will do it and pay for it.  

This is not about same-sex marriage, this is about the total obliteration of the family, so that there will be no more family, no more covenants, no more private, sovereign units that stand up against the corruption.

If you go back to contraception, you go back to where this all began.   It is the product, admittedly, of the feminist movement.  Go back to contraception… you have sex without children.  For the first time, the greatest restraint against having sex is eliminated.  The greatest natural restraint against having sex with just anybody, anytime, was children will be produced, possibly.  So contraception comes along and you can have sex without children.  But that’s not enough, that doesn’t cover enough ground, because that’s not complete enough, so you add abortion.  Now you can have sex without children, and if it misses and you do have a child conceived, just kill it.”

~ John MacArthur (We Will Not Bow)




Bingo. 

We maintain that birth control and abortion are intrinsically linked.  If the church stands against the latter, and it must, it must also question the former and the worldview behind it. A worldview which is expressly opposed to God’s natural design.  A worldview which implies God is a liar when He says children are a gift, a blessing, a reward, a heritage, and a crown from Him.

Psalm 127:3-5

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

Psalm 128:3

“Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the 
Lord.

Proverbs 17:6

“Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.”

The above lengthy quote came from John MacArthur’s linked-to lecture entitled, We Will Not Bow.  The entirety is well worth listening to, but it begs the question, haven’t we already? 

Hasn’t the church almost as a whole bowed low to the god of this world through the intentional closing of the womb? Doesn’t it promote the use of contraception when it disparages those with large families? Haven’t our elders done a disservice by shying away from tackling the underlying implications of contraception?

For decades we’ve said no to more children.  We’ve shaken our fists at God and said, “I know what I can handle, You don’t, so thanks but no thanks!”, as we’ve swallowed birth control pills, inserted IUDs or diaphragms, applied condoms, tied our tubes, had vasectomies, and refrained from sexual intimacy, not in order to fast and pray according to 1st Corinthians 7:5, but to thwart the possibility of having more children, or trying to time things to suit our personal plans and agendas.

When we despair of the state of the world, when we grieve over the escalating promotion and celebration of sin which threatens our families and nations, we’ve only to look inward, to consider our own worldview, to ask ourselves if how we live lines up with His Word.  


From contraception to divorce, the buck stops here, with the church.  The world is doing what comes naturally, but what about us?  What about our example?  We’ve hidden our lights under a bushel and expect the world to find their way in the dark.  



~~~~~~~~~~


We have a number of copies of the DVD below and would be pleased to send you one free of charge if you'd like to provide us with your name and address, or you can google and purchase or rent it online.  




Monday, September 18, 2017

Triple Dip!


The girls had fun playing Triple Dip by Robert D. Vandall in a local music festival.  Afterwards, one of their teacher's parents asked if she could film them playing.  Here are the results.  So much fun!



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Two Months Old Already!

Grandbaby 4, she's such a little dolly, just like her big sisters!






Practicing for "Talk Like a Pirate Day!"


Love This Bunch!




Just missing our Bethany and Spencer.

We've decided globalization is highly overrated. 



New Driver!



Exciting times!

Qualifying for my third "Nerves of Steel" Award!








Just trying to buy a bit of mercy from other drivers.  ;)



Please Choose Life

National March for Life ~ 2017

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.


Psalm 139:13-14





Music Festival ~ 2017


Well done, girls!  You worked hard!

Lots of 1sts, 2nds, and a couple of 3rds!







Awards Night


Most Promising Student!


Highest Mark Baroque!


Highest Mark Sight-Reading!


Highest Mark Trio!

Their bridesmaids dresses from Bethany's wedding came in handy!





Monday, March 20, 2017

Mr. & Mrs. Spencer Johnson ~ January 20th, 2017

Spencer & Bethany's Wedding

January 20th, 2017

"He who finds a wife finds a good thing

 and obtains favour from the LORD."

~ Proverbs 18:22



Finishing touches on Bethany's hair...


 ...then the veil.


Sister Bridesmaids














Helping hand from a cousin...




... and aunt.


Mother of the Bride


Bride's turn!




Lovely dress details.




Not exactly stall mucking boots.














Something borrowed... an embroidered handkerchief 
from her precious friend and wedding photographer, Rachel.





Contemplative moment...


She's so lovely.





Bethany's beloved sister-in-law, Jordan, and nieces.






Help from their other Grandma, Shelly.





Spencer's mom's first glance at the bride.  Priceless!

  Mary, Spencer's pastor's wife.



Precious...


About to be sister-in-law, Maryia, and her boys.




Pastor Jeff H. getting a sneak peek at the bride.


Aunt Dianne and cousins.



Good friend, Mary-Lou, always ready to lend a hand.


A few pre-wedding photos.





























Tender moments with Mom and Dad
 before the ceremony.




Family prayer.



The handsome groom!


Spencer and Best Man, his brother Kyle.




Groom & Groomsmen
Dan, Kyle, Spencer, Jeff, Matt




Spencer with his groomsmen,
his father, Steve, and step-dad, Rich.


Sweet moment with his mom, Wendy.


Friend and sister in Christ, Caroline Mack, has taught all of our children to play
 the piano over the past 23 years, Bethany included.  We were so blessed that she and her husband, Larry, came all the way to Florida to be part of this special day!  




Almost time!


Processional
















Here comes the groom!




Everyone's in place!








Here comes the bride!









Two very important men in Spencer's life.

Pastor Jeff H. officiating.


Pastor Jeff M. commissioning Spencer.






All for Your glory, Lord.








Spencer approaches for his bride.


Paul's tender parting words to sweet Bethany
 and his loving exhoration to Spencer.




Giving of the Bride


Presenting Spencer with an antique key from our old farmhouse which
 Bethany had affixed to a cushion she'd sewn for her dad when she was
thirteen, asking him to help her guard her heart for the Lord and for her future
 husband, should it be His will for her to marry one day.  A sweet moment. 


Joy!



Parting Hugs









Pastor Jeff H. preparing to officiate.


Sweet sisters relishing the moment.











Spencer's brother and Best Man, Kyle.

Bethany's brother, Caleb, also spoke, but 
we don't have a photo.






Exchanging Vows


~ Spencer's Vows ~

I, Spencer Thomas Johnson, take you, Bethany Elizabeth Yuck,
with gratitude and joy, to be my wife.

By the help of the Holy Spirit, who lives and abides in us through faith:

I vow that the greatest and deepest love of my life will always be Jesus Christ.  Only in Him is our strength and our hope for a long life and a blessed marriage.  Only in keeping Jesus on the throne of my heart am I able to love you as I ought to love you.

I vow to submit to His headship over me as I lovingly exercise headship over you; to lead our family in prayer and worship, to build our lives on the counsel and authority of His word, to trust, love, and obey His testimonies and commandments, and to sing, share, and teach them to you and our children if our gracious God chooses to bless us with them.

I vow to seek to glorify, honor, and please Him with my words, thoughts, actions, priorities, and prayers, that the aroma of Christ would be spread to all, inside and outside of our home.

I vow to love, honor, and care for you as myself, to stand between you and evil, and to die to self every day in order to protect you, wash you in His word, and fill your life with delight.

I vow to seek your wisdom and counsel, to listen in order to understand, and to invite your voice into all matters of our life together.

I vow to be faithful to you, to guard my eyes and my heart, and to keep you as my only love, in all times and in all circumstances, until our God takes us from here to be with Him forever. Come what may, I’m yours for life.

I know that apart from the lavished grace of Jesus that I cannot keep these vows, and so I vow to humble myself, turn from my selfish sin, and seek your forgiveness when God reveals to me that I have broken them, and to completely and freely forgive you when you do the same.




~ Bethany's Vows ~


I, Bethany Elizabeth Yuck, gratefully and joyfully take you,
Spencer Thomas Johnson, to be my husband.

I vow to keep as my first and deepest love, Jesus Christ.
Only in Him will I be able to love, honour, and reverence you as I should.

I vow to be faithful to you, to keep you as my only earthly love
until death parts us, come what may.

I vow to submit to you as my head, even as the church submits to Christ

I vow to quickly seek His and your forgiveness when I sin against you, and to freely extend forgiveness toward you when you sin against me.

I vow to walk and work with you in building our marriage upon the counsel and authority of God’s Word, to join with you in prayer and worship, to trust, love, and obey His testimonies and commandments, and to teach them to our children should the Lord bless us with them.

I vow to dwell with you and care for you tenderly, no matter our circumstances, whether in sickness or in health, in want or in plenty.  Where you go, I will go.  Where you lodge, I will lodge.  Your people will be my people, 
and your God, my God.

Without the enabling and equipping power of the Holy Spirit, I cannot keep these vows, and so my heartfelt prayer today and every day is for Him to grant me the gift of humility, that I may remain teachable, desiring above all to 
honour and obey Him in all I think, say, and do as I spend my life with you in service to Him.


Exchanging Rings




Signing their vows.




Witnessing the signing of the vows.


First kiss ever!






Final Hymn





Mrs. & Mrs. Spencer Johnson!!




Recessional








Not sure what was so funny, but these are great!






Lovin' on their new brother-in-law.







Those faces!


Group Photos


Bride's Family
(Not sure how we ended up with that formation!)


Groom's Family
(They obviously had things more together than we did!)


Aunt Dianne and cousins.


Dear friends, 
pianist Carolyn and her husband Larry.


Spencer's pastor, Jeff M., and his wife, Mary.


Bethany's precious friend, Rachel, who photographed
the wedding along with her brother, Jon.


They laugh together a lot!
























Spencer's long-time friends, Quinne and Dan.


More good friends, Leslie and Matt.


Bethany's best friend and brother, Caleb, and his precious family.  
What a gift they are to us!



While photos were being taken prior to the reception, guests were
 provided with a light snack of seasonal fruit, cheese and crackers, and beverages.  

During their wait, they were encouraged to fill out a "Marriage Advice Questionnaire", as well as have a little fun getting to know others guests by doing a people-finding scavenger hunt.  Some of the clues included:

- Has live video-chatted with astronauts. 
- Watched their hotel burn down during a riot in Cairo.
- Was once wanted for armed robbery. 

It made for some interesting conversation!

Oh, and that armed robbery thing?  That was me, Mother-of-the-Bride.  
It was a case of mistaken identity, but the story has provided many laughs throughout the years.  :)








The Kissing Bell
















This sweet Holstein calf, as well as the milk and ice cream served with the
 brownies, were a nod to Bethany's dairy farming heritage.





Spencer enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee, so each guest
 received a frisbee commemorating their wedding day.


Seating Chart


This photo makes me chuckle.  

Planning a wedding from a considerable distance is not without its challenges, 
including ordering the correct amount of bulk flowers from Costco (can't say enough about the excellent quality, I highly recommend them!).  When they arrived at our resort in Lake Buena Vista, we were shocked at how much baby's breath we'd ordered!  



Not wanting any to go to waste, we used it in every conceivable location, including
interspersed with the leaves on some pretty "weathered" fake trees they had at the church, which we'd strung with white lights.  They actually turned out beautifully thanks to my talented sister, Dianne!  

We still had so much left that we decided to use some of it on the stage in the sanctuary in order to try to camouflage or soften the harsh-looking "technical backdrop" during the ceremony.  Without having enough vases, we had to resort to using waste bins from our condo.  This is one such arrangement.  I don't think the guests could tell.  :)


We made all of the bouquets, boutonniéres, and corsages ourselves.  
Remind me next time to just order them pre-made.  ;)

Jordan did a lovely job on the Bride's bouquet
 with some help from Bethany's Aunt Dianne.


Fabulous tasting and beautifully arranged brownie "Wedding Cake",
 provided by Linda at Cakes So Simple in Melbourne, Florida.






We had arranged for Linda to bake birthday cakes for Jordan's birthday,
which was also on January 20th, as well as to celebrate Spencer's nephew's
 1st birthday, which had taken place shortly before.


Reception Entry





Excellent buffet provided by Cathy and her staff at
Any Occasian Catering in Melbourne, Florida.






Ready to serve brownie sundaes and milk to their guests!


Oops!  Better get their aprons on!


But first, a little kiss for energy!


Anticipation!




Intense chocolate syrup squirting!






After serving their guests, they managed to enjoy a bit of dessert too!



Bethany and Spencer's brothers, Caleb and Kyle, did
such a great job co-MCing the reception.




The bride's long-time friends, Hannah, Emily-Jayne, and Molly,
did an absolutely fabulous job harmonizing a Psalm and a couple
of Andrews Sisters' songs.  They left everyone pretty much
gobsmacked by their incredible talent!


"The Observation Game!" 

Spencer & Bethany were given between 10 and 30 seconds per powerpoint
 prompt to determine why any particular group of guests rose to stand.
  
Each correct answer netted them $25.00, with the potential to
 "earn" $500.00 for their honeymoon fund.  


Exercising their combined knowledge of their guests.


 They did alright!


Pastor Jeff M. and others spoke of and to the couple. 

As Bethany's parents, one of the sweetest blessings was to listen to
those who know Spencer best as they testified of his humility and gentleness.












"

Wonder what marriage advice a sweet little sister might have given?


Precious Nieces and Nephews




Dale and Sandy, two of Spencer's dearest friends 
and supporters. 




Sweet Sue-Ellen and Gordy



Pastor Jeff H., a fatherly mentor to Spencer.



Our wonderful friend and mother of the photographers, Carrie. 


Bosom Buddies!


We're immensely thankful for those who went to such considerable effort and expense to celebrate this joyous day with us!  It was such a joy to have you there!

For those who simply couldn't pull it off, we completely understand!  For most of our friends and relatives on both sides it was a great distance to travel, but we hope this compilation of photos gives you a taste of how lovely and Christ-infused the day was.







Changed and ready to leave.


Not sure I'm ready to let her go...


Tender good-bye to her precious niece.


And there they go amidst a barage of bubbles!!








God speed, Love Birds!!


*Throughout this blog post, I've mentioned the photographers, brother and sister team, Rachel and Jon, friends of ours.  This was the first wedding they'd ever shot and I just wanted to give them a shout-out, as they did such a good job!  Thanks, Loveys!  We so appreciate all you did!


A little wedding slideshow of their lives and relationship.





We're immensely thankful for how and when He brought Spencer and Bethany together.  

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!"
~ Psalm 107:1 ~ 

Spencer and Bethany are currently living just outside of Washington, DC.  Come July, they'll be moving to Wake Forest, NC, where Spencer will attend Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in order to obtain a Masters of Divinity degree with a missions emphasis.  Though no one knows the future, they're planning on taking the gospel to unreached people groups in Asia.  Pray for them as they seek to live out their lives in service to Christ.