Brother, where art thou?

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This is one post that I hope I can take down as fast as I put it up.  I’m looking for my missing, homeless brother.   His name is Eddie … Ed, to most people that he meets.  He is the second to the youngest in my family and has for the past 20 years been homeless, by his own choice, shy of a few periods of time where he will attempt to put down roots.  Box him in (so to speak), or offend him in any way, he’ll be gone.  He is a man who has chosen to not be subject to rules and regulations and wishes only to be free and ‘his own man’.  He’ll say he hurts no one, but he really has no grasp of what that means to those who love him.  He says he loves his family and I’m sure, in his own way, it is true.  I can say that because he does choose to keep in touch with us as he is going about his travels.  I make sure to keep minutes on his Tracfone for that very purpose—keeping in touch with his family.

It’s that last comment that brings me to posting this on my blog.  He has not kept in touch with his family recently.  He was last talked to on the phone with me on June 25, 2016.  He was ‘in Oregon’ which is about as specific as he often gets when giving us his location.  He knew we had relatives in the state and wondered if I had phone numbers.  I did not but said if I could find out I would call him.  On August 3, 2016, my youngest brother notified me that he had been trying to call Eddie but kept getting a recording saying, “The number you are trying to reach is no longer in service.”  I thought perhaps he ran out of minutes so I contacted Tracfone.  They told me he was issued a new phone number (most likely because he did run out of minutes and didn’t notify me he was getting low) and I assumed he got money somewhere and put more minutes on his phone.  He, on that day, had 70 minutes.  I gave my siblings his new number BUT ever since that day no one can reach him on his phone.  All anyone gets is a recording saying, “The person you are trying to reach is not accepting calls.  Please try your call again later.”  It has been weeks now and still the same message.  I contacted Tracfone again and they said he had 70 minutes on his phone—no difference weeks later.

I contacted every family member that I could think of whom he might have contacted.  I contacted his former places of residences as well.  No luck anywhere.  I called Oregon State Police and spoke to several people, none of which could help.  I finally made the decision to contact the FBI and file a report.  Sadly, there isn’t much they could do because this is not a crime of any kind so their search capabilities are limited.  Uh huh … the FBI.  They did call a week later to say they had no news for me but did at least say that should anyone check the FBI database on his ID or fingerprints, etc., it would be flagged.  I guess that is something.

I am praying for my brother, Eddie.  The family is praying for brother, Eddie.  What friends he has are praying for Eddie.  This has always been my biggest fear with my brother being homeless.  He has lived with us on a number of occasions, as with other family members as well.  He does not conform well and always moves on.  His old flip phone is all that he has to keep in touch with us.  If something has happened to it, or his wallet with all his contact(s) info, he may not have the where-with-all to find a way to find us although each of us have lived in the same location for years.  I would rather ponder that than the alternative that something has happened to him.  Life as a homeless person is hard and he has had health issues because of it.  My last hope is this, posting this in an attempt someone, somewhere will see him and notify me.  Please share if you would … it would be very much appreciated.   A small sliver of hope.  Please message me HERE or the comment section below at any time and thank you!

His info:

Edward J. Hoag

5’ 7”

160 lbs (approx.)

55 yo

brown/gray hair

thin mustache/goatee

wears baseball hat

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The Case of the Ruffled Bed Ruffle

A Story from my ‘Mysteries from a Housewife’ Series

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One of my very first housewife duties that I perform after I get out of bed each morning, following turning on the coffee pot, is to make my bed.  I’m a bit OCD, you see, and making one’s bed is a must for someone like me.  I don’t know how people can live with themselves by going about their daily routine without FIRST making their beds.  I bristle at the site of visiting a person and by happenstance see their bed not made.  I know, I know … plenty of people don’t make their beds and the wrath of God doesn’t fall on them.  Still, I’m convinced my husband would think I was taken over by aliens if he ever came home from work and saw our bed not made.

It is about this bed-making routine that brought about one of the greatest mysteries of my housewife life.  I love a good mystery and pride myself on the fact that I can solve any mystery novel half way through.  The same can be said of any TV mystery or movie on the big screen.  It drives my husband absolutely nuts.  Early on in our nearly 35 year marriage he would venture to bet me on my predictions.  But, after losing big time, he had learned his lesson and never touches a bet with me on guessing the outcome of a who-done-it.  I am sad to say that the ‘Bed Ruffle Mystery’, as it’s now come to be known, had me stumped for quite a while.

While making our bed each morning I start at my side pulling the top sheet up to the head of the bed.  I work my way around the bed to my husband’s side and then I return to my side to do the same with the comforter.  On one particular morning, as I approached my husband’s side of the bed pulling up the comforter, I noticed that a portion of the bed ruffle on his side was tucked up into the metal frame that holds the box spring.  I pulled it back out and straightened it nice and neat.  Lo and behold, the very next day the same thing occurred. “What on earth?” I said, and then proceeded to correct the disturbed ruffle once again.   This went on for many a day.  I must confess that there was a brief moment in time where I pondered whether my husband might be putting something under the mattress and inadvertently disturbing the bed ruffle.  You know, like some teenager with a dirty little secret that needed hidden.  I brushed this thought away immediately and did not even bother to look as I trust my husband implicitly and something about looking would have given the thought credence.  Still, it kept happening day after day, shy of the odd day here or there where the bed ruffle remained appropriately near the floor.

One day I finally got up the courage to pose this mystery to my husband.  I had not till this day because I prided myself on being the Sherlock Holmes of housewifery.  But I set aside my deerstalker for the time being in order to get this mystery solved.  He had no clue and even offered up that he was not hiding anything after I ‘humorously’ admitted about that thought crossing my mind—briefly.  Back to the drawing board.  The next time it happened I got out my cell phone and took a picture of it and sent it to him just to prove I was not crazy and this was actually happening.  His happy face emoji in return did little to settle my nerves.

It took another daily routine to render the glorious, “Aha!” upon figuring out the ‘Bed Ruffle Mystery’.  Each night when we go to bed, my husband and I pray together.  As the spiritual head of our household, he prays out loud every night.  He sits on the bed and for 40+ minutes he prays for family, friends, organizations that do God’s work, missionaries, world events, leaders, etc.  He faithfully does this every night, shy of the occasional night here or there where he may be too exhausted from a particularly hard, late day at work, or he might not feel well, in which I then pray.  On one particular night, I noticed that as he sat on his side of the bed, he propped his left leg up on the metal frame of the bed for a more comfortable position for his ever increasingly painful back.  I glanced over to see him doing this and belted out a hearty, “AHA!!!”  The look on his face, while he tried to benevolently pray, was priceless.  I pointed to his left leg and said, “Don’t you see it?”  I told him to sit perfectly still while I jumped out of bed and went over to his side and victoriously pointed to his toes and bed ruffle tucked into the metal frame of our bed.  There you have it folks!  The Case of the Ruffled Bed Ruffle was solved.  The odd nights where he was too tired to pray were nights that I sat and prayed while he laid there and no toe-tucking was done.

Now each morning when I see the toe-tucked bed ruffle, I am reminded that it is due to a loving husband who faithfully prays each night for family, friends and many others. :)    Stay tuned for another exciting adventure in my Mysteries from a Housewife series.

 

                                                                                                                                    The End

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Michael G. Morrow – Servant of God

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This is not the type of blog post that gives me great pleasure to type.  It is, however, a blog post that I feel I must write.  It is out of deep respect and gratitude for a man who has greatly influenced and shaped my life that I write this.  So, in memory of Michael G. Morrow I dedicate this post.

Upon hearing about Mike’s passing just last week I felt much that can only be described as bittersweet.  He had been ill and in the intensive care unit of the hospital and my husband and I were praying for him daily.  I felt the pain of sadness (bitter) at the news of his death but, at the same time, I felt relieved (sweet) that he no longer would suffer and his spirit was immediately in the presence of the Lord, Jesus Christ … the moment he longed for most of his life.  I spent most of the night giving thanks to God for His mercy in finally taking Mike home. But I also spent some time trying to recall when, exactly, I first ‘met’ Mike.  I put the word met in air quotes because, you see, I have never actually met Mike face to face.

It was just about five years ago.  I was trying my very best to spend time each day studying God’s word.  As is so often the case I would wind up with more questions than I had answers.  As much as I loved my (former) pastor, my attempts to approach him time after time with Bible questions were met with disinterest.  He was a very busy man taking care of many business items for the church and had little time to spend in discipleship.  Yes, I know, it didn’t seem right.  Anyway, in an effort to keep learning, I would seek out teachings on YouTube of those that I came to trust theologically.

One of these ministers of God’s word was pretty well known and I spent many hours listening to him and even ultimately doing his Bible studies that he had available.  But when it came to questions about something he taught, well I just couldn’t get in touch with him.  Now, I want to say that he is very well known, and is a very busy person, so I hold no ill will toward him.  BUT, it did me little good when it came to trying to better understand God’s word.  In one of his online sermons he spoke of a man that was older than he and he considered him a mentor.  He happened to mention where that man was from.  Something inside of me thought that if he was a mentor to him then surely he must be a worthy person to look up.  And so I did.  And I’m happy to say that I found him online with sermons of his own.  I began to listen to this man known as Mike Morrow.

I remember that the particular series that he began teaching was the book of Romans.  He was teaching from his home, in his study.  I remember the bookcase behind him was floor to ceiling covered with books.  I was absolutely happy to begin studying while listening to him.  Here’s where it really all begins.  On one of the first of those videos I got stuck on something he was teaching about.  I can’t remember now what it was but I do remember that I posted my question in the comment section below the video.  To my great surprise he answered my question almost right away.  AND, for the rest of his study in Romans, whenever I had a question and posted it in the comment section, he would answer over and over again almost right away.

From there I took to reading his blog appropriately titled ‘The Theolog (Student of God)’.  He, in return followed my blog(s) and we would comment back and forth on things that we wrote.  From there I sent him a friend request on Facebook to which he accepted.  It was there that I could again walk through some difficult aspects of a study and he would offer his answer or advice.  He was always quick to recommend a book or article that dealt with something I was studying.  No matter what the topic, Brother Mike would search out resources to help me out.  Here was a man who didn’t even know me but he took the time to help me better understand God’s word … even during times of health scares, his and mine.

I want to offer up some observations about Mike that I will carry with me for many, many years.  First, his love of God’s word was glowingly obvious.  You just knew it was a subject that was near and dear to his heart and one he would talk about whenever the opportunity by God was given.  Second, he loved his wife with every fabric of his being.  Mike often shared his love of Susan and took every opportunity to interject something of their lives that pertained to what he was teaching.  Whenever he mentioned Susan, his face lit up.  Third, and probably most important to me, when many others would not take the time to teach God’s word to a virtual stranger, Mike would.  I had no fanciful ideas that I was the only one.  No, I believe that it was probably true of many, many others who passed through his life in one way or another.

Today I am grateful that God was so gracious to allow me the opportunity to ‘meet’ Mike and to be blessed by his wisdom, grace and humbleness.  I pray that in some small way this honors his memory.  May Mike’s teachings that are now wonderfully, digitally saved be a blessing to others who come to hear of him.  He leaves behind a legacy of always sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, and wisdom to understand the depths of God’s love.

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Our Passion for Christ’s Passion

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My daughter called me two days ago asking if we could do lunch and a movie at my house.  I asked her if she had a particular movie in mind and she said, “I really would like to see The Passion of the Christ because I’ve never seen it.”  Knowing that my daughter is not one to hold her own when it comes to blood, I asked her if she understood the graphic nature of the movie and was she sure?  I have to trust that the Holy Spirit was working in her life because she insisted that’s what she wanted to watch.  I gratefully indulged her and today we enjoyed subs for lunch followed by The Passion of the Christ.  Following the movie, she asked many, many questions … all of which are questions that any believer should be prepared to answer.  I wanted to share with you how we can use even movies that may not be completely correct to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Her questions:

Why did God forsake Jesus on the Cross?
• A very good opportunity to explain about how horrible sin is—our sin! To explain the justice of God against sin AND at the same time explain the love of God who saves us from sin. To explain the full price Christ paid on the cross and that, for believers, God now sees us as redeemed because of the ransom paid.

Did Jesus’ mother know that this was going to happen to her Son?
• An excellent opportunity to talk about God’s prophetic word in the Old Testament. To speak about her submission to God’s will to bear the long awaited Messiah. To see in her the acceptance of Jesus as her son and her Messiah.

Why was Satan following him all during most of the trials but he wasn’t there at the very end during the crucifixion?
• A great time to explain about the ‘poetic license’ taken by the producers of the movie.  But it was also a good opportunity to talk about the victory over sin and death that Christ won on the cross and in the resurrection.

What was the point of the snake at the beginning of the movie when Jesus was in the garden?
• While this was more poetic license, it was an opportunity to explain that we can read the prophecies of Christ all the way back to Genesis. This scene in the movie was to help us to recall one of the earliest prophesies of how “he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15

The movie ended kind of suddenly … isn’t there more?
• This was one of my favorite questions because, yes, there is SO much more. This was a great opportunity to talk about the difference between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. That we often pay so much attention to Resurrection Sunday that we must understand all of the passion of Christ. This was where we talked about what the Gospel is. To understand that we are not good…no one is good, we are all sinners who deserve the justice of God’s wrath. But God did/does love us so much that He gave His Son who paid the price that we deserved. It is one thing to just know who Jesus is and what He did; even Satan and the demons know this. It is another to believe that it was done for you, and me…by the Son of God who did rise from the grave just as was prophesied and just as He said He would. A good time to speak about 40 days more of instruction from the resurrected Christ and all that we have in the New Testament.

But what about babies or children or people who have never heard the Gospel? Will they be saved?
• A great opportunity to talk about God’s love yet again. How each day that passes is a gift of common grace to all mankind, allowing them another day to not reject His offer of salvation but to come to know Him. It was also a wonderful opportunity to talk about how God is visible all around and He has made Himself known in this world–His creation. I urged her to look at Romans 1 to understand it better.

Aren’t those great questions? We talked about so much more than what I have written here. I pray that my answers and comments about sanctification, and grace, and glorification were answers that will stay with her, and in the quiet times that will come for her she will recall and will understand. While I am not a very big fan of most ‘Christian’ movies put out … I do feel that God can use them as He chooses. Where other movies have fallen way short of the graphic nature of Christ’s death, this movie does well.  I do believe that it is important to understand the suffering of Christ for in His suffering we see most strongly His love “in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us”. Romans 5:8

Salvation is not about saying one prayer but about many prayers. My daughter, like all people, must come to a moment in time where she recognizes her sin and her need of a Savior. I pray that the Holy Spirit has been working in her heart to bring about this moment. I pray that she will know when her heart of stone has been changed into a heart of flesh and that that heart will surrender to the Lord and Savior of her life. The Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification is what will see her on the path that God has for her.

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Food for Mind and Soul

This is going to be a short post but I can assure you it is packed with lots of info.  Awhile back I posted a blog on some of my very favorite online teachers.  Today I’m updating my list and I pray that it will be of benefit to you because, as the good Lord knows, it has been a tremendous blessing to me.  Here you go … resources (although not exhaustive) for great biblical teaching:

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John MacArthur

Remaining at the top of my list is John MacArthur of Grace To You.  Check out his web site for great resources that will keep you in God’s word for a lifetime.  John has the God-given ability to open up the Word in a life changing way.

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Alistair Begg

Next is another great teacher of the Word, Alistair Begg.  His daily program at Truth For Life is a resource that will keep you immersed in the Word of God every single day of the week.  I love his wit and humor … a humble man of God.

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Gabe Hughes

If you want a daily resource that will keep you in a study of the books of the Bible, you need go no further than Gabe Hughes of WWUTT (When We Understand the Text). Not only is he a wonderful expository preacher, his online short, pithy videos will bless you with an increased knowledge of God’s word.

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Chris Rosebrough

Adding to my list is an excellent resource for teaching biblical discernment.  Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith helps you to meander through the sea of false teaching that’s out there, and gives you the tools needed to “help you think biblically, help you think critically….” His sharp-tongued critiques will keep you coming back.

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Jonathan Fisk

Last, but certainly not least, is Jonathan Fisk and the good people at Worldview Everlasting.  Lots of great teaching videos that will keep you in the Word-asking questions and exploring the texts.

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A Covenant Prayer

I love to read the beautifully written prayers of saints long gone.  Recently I was listening to a sermon by Alistair Begg … a sermon from a series entitled ‘A Charge to a Man of God‘.  As Brother Alistair was winding down the series he closed by giving a quote from someone, quite frankly, I had never heard of before.  It was from William Grimshaw of Haworth, a prayer he had written down as a covenant between himself and God.  Oh what a magnificently beautiful prayer.

I researched the prayer and found it online quite quickly.  I look forward to owning the book someday, but for now I’m going to post his prayer here for you to enjoy and ponder.

The Personal Covenant of William Grimshaw

[Editor’s note: On December 4, 1752, the Reverend William Grimshaw wrote out the following personal covenant with God, which he renewed four times each year with a day of fasting.]

Glory be to You, O triune God. I desire to be wholly Yours forever. This day I give myself up to You as a living sacrifice. I solemnly renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil. No more, directly or indirectly, will I obey them.

O Lord, I would steadfastly persevere to my last breath in obedience to Your commandments. I pray that every day of my life may correct the failures of the former, and that by divine grace I may be enabled to grow more active in doing right.
I also most humbly resign and submit all that I have to Your sovereign will. I leave to Your management and direction all that I possess and all that I wish. I set every enjoyment and interest before You to be disposed of as You please.

Although I dare not say that I will never complain, yet I will labor not only to submit but also to acquiesce to Your will. I will not only bear the heaviest afflictions on me but I will also consent to them, and praise You for them, contentedly resolving my will into Yours. I esteem myself as nothing, and You, O God, as the great Eternal All whose word should determine, and whose power should order, all things in the world.

Use me, O Lord, as the instrument of Your glory, and honor me by allowing me to bring praise to Your name by both action and suffering. Receive me, O heavenly Father, being already washed in Christ’s blood and clothed with His righteousness. Sanctify me thoroughly by the power of Your Holy Spirit.

Destroy, I beseech You, the power of sin in my heart more and more, and transform me more into the image of Jesus, whom I would henceforth ever acknowledge as my Teacher, Sacrifice, Intercessor, and Lord.

Grant unto me all the needful influences of Your purifying, cheering, and comforting Spirit, and lift up that light of Your countenance upon me that will put the greatest joy and gladness into my heart. Dispose of my affairs, O God, in a manner that will be wholly useful to Your glory and my own true happiness. When I have done and endured Your will for me upon the earth, call me to Yourself at whatever time and in whatever manner You please. Only grant that in my dying moments I may remember these my commitments to You.

I desire to live and die with my hand upon the hope of eternal life. When I am numbered with the dead and all the interests of mortality are over with me forever, if this solemn memorial should fall into the hands of any surviving friends or relatives, may it be the means of making serious impressions upon their minds. May they read it not only as my language but as their own, and may they learn to fear the Lord my God and, with me, to put their trust under the shadow of His wings for time and for eternity. May they also learn to adore with me that grace that inclines our hearts to enter into the covenant, ascribing with me, and with all the nations of the redeemed, that glory, honor, and praise that is so justly due to You. Amen.

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Help Me Build A Spring Well

Won’t you please join with me as I endeavor to raise $3,500 in the next 60 days so that Hydrating Humanity can build a spring well in a community of East Africa that has no clean water. I am overwhelmed at the blessing’s God has given me, and you, every time I turn my faucet on. I can no longer sit back and do nothing while millions die each year from contaminated water. Won’t you give the equivalent of one month’s water bill toward this project? Thank you so much for desiring to help those in need!

Isaiah 58:11 Spring

UPDATE!  The well has been built!  Praise God for the generosity of family and friends.  Thank you so much.  There will now be up to 250 people that will have clean drinking water that did not have it before.  Is that great or WHAT??

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