Letter from Australia 108 – Ukraine – How Should the Church Respond?

Letter from Australia 108 – Ukraine – How Should the Church Respond?

— Read on theweeflea.com/2022/02/28/letter-from-australia-108-does-the-church-have-to-pick-sides/

Please go to the original blog and follow the author. He has great wisdom to share, especially about world events and the Christian response to it.

God Has a Plan

These days, it’s hard to pick up a newspaper or turn on the news for only a few minutes without getting discouraged. There is so much evil in the world that it seems to be overflowing with it. Now that war has begun in Europe, it seems that the vile things that man does to other men is indescribable. Nevertheless, in my devotional this morning, God spoke clearly to me that He is in control and He has a plan.

Have you ever started your day with your hours all planned out? It’s a long “to do” list and you proudly check off things as you accomplish them. Then, there are the days that you have the list, you have the plan, but you don’t get to check off anything because you are just trying to make it through the day. Have you ever thought about the fact that God, the Sovereign Lord, does not have those kinds of days in which He gets discouraged and nothing seems to go right? He makes the plan and carries it out. In fact, He makes the plan before the plan needs to be made.

A case in point is Jesus. There was a whole system of sacrifice established in the Old Testament and described in great detail in the Book of Leviticus. A lamb without blemish. Blood on the altar. Take away the sins. All the columns were checked. But it wasn’t enough. Even before the foundation of the earth, God had a plan to save mankind from our sinful natures, once and for all. His plan was Jesus! Before I knew that Jesus died for me, God had already provided Him as my Savior.

I like the part in this verse that says I was still a sinner. God didn’t wait for me to get my act together and complete a “to do” list of things to accomplish before I could be saved. His plan was Jesus…already made. Done! Finished!

Now, back to the scenario of war in Europe. This verse is my prayer for the brave Ukrainian people. But it is also my prayer for anyone facing a formidable enemy. Instead of thinking about the power of the enemy, consider the power of our God who is beside you and who already has a plan. When Elisha’s servant was downhearted in II Kings 6 because he saw how great the enemy was, Elisha prayed for God to open his servant’s eyes. The prayer was answered and the servant saw a host of angels prepared to fight the battle. We don’t always know what God’s plan is, but we can rest in the absolute certainty that He has one, and it’s good.

I have read this verse many times because waiting is just not something I’m very good at. But today is the first time that I paid close attention to the middle part of the verse. It says to be brave and courageous. We are not supposed to cower away from the world and events that cause us fear. Instead, we are to bravely wait for the Lord, knowing with all of our being that He has a plan. And it’s a good one!

Andrew Murray was a pastor and author, most known for his missions work and establishing churches in South Africa. I saved this quotation from one of my devotionals last year and when I read it again today, I knew that it would be useful for my current blog. We limit God because we put Him into a box of humanity, thinking that He can only do so much because that is what we can do. God, however, cannot be fenced in. He is everywhere, all-powerful and capable of doing anything. So, today, as you pray over your to-do list or pray for the people in Ukraine, be bold in your prayers. Be brave! Know that God is hearing and will answer them. Perhaps His timing is different than ours would be. Most likely, that is true. That’s because God is always on time, He knows the best time to answer, and He has always and will always be there for us. Why? Because He loves us and He has a plan. And it’s a good one!

God bless you as you go through your day and may God show you part of His plan for you and encourage you today with that knowledge.

Review of THE NIGHT SHE WENT MISSING by Kristen Bird

This is a fantastic debut novel by a new voice in suspense and domestic drama! Three families are bound together by the events in a small town, where everyone knows everyone else and where the matriarch of the town, Rosalyn Callahan, pull strings like she’s a puppeteer. Catherine, Morgan and Leslie were once friends, but their relationship has deteriorated so that they are barely speaking and then only when necessary. When Catherine’s teen daughter disappears one night after a party, Catherine pulls out all the stops to find Emily, including seeking the help of Morgan’s son Alex and Leslie’s daughter Anna. There is a lot of underlying tension between the families and a lot of suspicion about what happened to Emily. The tension builds nicely, with a quick-paced plot and a well done conclusion. There were a few loose ends that I would have liked more information about, so that is the reason for the four stars. There is tons of family drama and people with real psychological problems who are mingled in a very complex plot, with lots of characters and more than a few suspects. I enjoyed the setting and the way the families were all connected in some way. I also enjoyed getting to know Sawyer, Leslie’s estranged son and one of the few characters who seemed genuinely honest and concerned about Emily. The characterization was fleshed out well, even with the number of people involved in the drama. All in all, this was an extremely well-written novel that kept me reading and guessing until the end.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harper Collins Publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

I would rate this book a hard PG-13 because of the plot content and also there are lots of expletives. The F-word is used freely and often. Note that this is a debut novel, so hopefully the author will temper the language more in future books.
Growing up, Kristen lived in Virginia, Alabama, California, Oregon, and Texas. She wrote plays and short stories for anyone who would read them and eventually graduated college with a double major in Music and Journalism. A few years later, she earned a Masters in Literature and for her creative thesis wrote her first full-length novel, which she happily keeps unpublished.
As a teacher, she enjoys finding creative pairings of the classic canon and modern texts, and she promotes choice reading in her classroom. She also likes to tell other writers, including her students over the past fifteen years, the importance of extensive revisions as well as the necessity of grit—in the writing process and in everyday life.
Kristen is the oldest of four kids and is grateful to see her parents and brother and sisters, nieces and nephews often. Her husband is a musician and a worship director for a church near their home, and her daughters are amateur bakers, awesome artists, and inquisitive thinkers who love to cuddle up and read together.
Thanks to Bess Garison for photography. Biographical Info from the author’s website at http://www.kristenbird.com

This is an excellent debut novel and I recommend it for mature readers. It is available now at the following online site:

Harper Collins (includes links to multiple sites to purchase the book)

Judgment Begins in the House of the Lord

Our Bible study group is reading a book entitled THRIVING IN BABYLON by Larry Osborne. It’s an enlightening book about God’s judgment and how innocent Daniel was taken to Babylon, not because of his own sin, but because of the sins of his nation. God had called on Israel to repent, repeatedly, in fact, but to no avail. So, God, being the just God that He is, allowed consequences including the Babylonian captivity. Harsh? Yes, but sometimes harsh is the only thing that gets our attention.

In pondering the sins of our nation and how God has called us to repent and the fact that it has not happened on a large scale ( or some would say, at all), I have to say that our nation is ripe for God’s judgment. God has been gracious and merciful with the United States for centuries, but He will not wait forever for repentance. Repentance is change, turning away from sin, not just crying because you’re sorry you were caught. Thus, I believe that the things that are happening in our nation today, with godless leadership who have few morals and no real moral compass, are a direct result of the lack of repentance in our nation.

As Christians, we are appalled at the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ agenda and all of the sin that goes with it. But, are we equally appalled when a young couple comes to church and unashamedly admit that they are living together? God calls that sin, too, but we have come to accept a lot of things as just a change in the culture instead of the sin that it is. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the couple should not be allowed to come to church. What I am saying is that the fact that they are living in sin should be addressed and they should be told that the only clear path to God is repentance, which might mean they separate or even get married. In today’s culture, that is not at all popular. The current belief system is that you need to “try out” living together before you get married and make that commitment. I’m okay with that if you can show me one place in God’s Word that He says living together is okay. Are we equally appalled at those who steal from their employers by turning in false expense reports? Or those who walk away from a long-term marriage because they have “found someone else”? I think you get the idea.

There are many sins in today’s culture, even in the churches that we attend, and God will not be mocked. He consistently points out the sin and we consistently make excuses. My favorite excuse is, “But, God, what I am doing is not as bad as so-and-so and their sin.” Hmm. God may already be dealing with that other person, but if He is dealing with you and your sin right now, that is enough for you to deal with.

Judgment begins in God’s house, not with the pagans. After all, they are already on Satan’s side, so although God’s love reaches out to them, He is very concerned about the sins that we, the ones called by His Name, have allowed to creep into our own lives. We cry out to God because there are millions of babies killed by abortion. We cry out to God when the President of our nation supports abortion and rant about how godless that is. But, do we not see that our own attitudes towards the sanctity of life have led to this debacle? The silence of the Christian community is deafening. How many judge the one getting an abortion instead of reaching out a hand to offer assistance and counseling?

I guess what I am trying to say is that I am not surprised at the mess that our nation finds itself in. The church is a microcosm of the nation and the church itself needs to repent. Go back to the last thing God told you to do and do it, no matter how hard it is or how humbling. Then, do the next thing, Then, the next thing. The United States may not be carried off in captivity to Babylon (a wicked nation that is used as an example of evil in the Bible), but we may be more like Babylon ourselves than we are willing to admit.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is a day when candy and flowers are given and many restaurants expect a lot of business. But it is also a day when many are lonely or depressed and one that is dreaded by those who feel unloved. In a world that is so big and busy, take time today to practice the commandment to love one another. Know someone who is shut in and lonely? Call or visit.

Maybe you are lonely yourself today. You can have all kinds of people around you and still be lonely because of the hole in your heart that was left because of a death or abandonment. The good news is that God loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you and to fill all of the empty spaces in your life and your heart. That’s not just a platitude. It’s truth! For many years, I was alone on Valentine’s Day as my husband traveled with the military. Yes, he would call and frequently send a card. But I used to have “pity me” parties, thinking of my friends getting ready for dinner and movie dates while I sat alone at home with three children. But the Lord did not want me wallowing in my self-pity. He wanted me to think about others. So, the children and I made Valentines for those who had no one, the widows and the single moms. They may have been cheesy-looking, but they were from the heart and when a small child delivers one with a smile, then they were accepted gratefully. So, my advice is to find someone who is as lonely or lonelier than you are and show them God’s love by giving them yours.

How do you have a successful marriage in a world that does not value a union between man and woman? My suggestion there is to pray together daily and to read I Corinthians 13 as though your relationship depends on the truths found there. God’s secret to a successful marriage is to put the other person’s needs ahead of your own, to love unselfishly and to give of your time always. Not easy things to do, and ones that I have failed at often. But, there is also forgiveness and knowing that you are forgiven so you should forgive others, especially your spouse.

In almost forty-nine years of marriage, there have been some real disappointments and some times when I wanted to pack up and move out, regain my independence and march to the beat of my own drummer. So, what stopped me? God. That simple. God, speaking to my heart and reminding me of my commitment to my husband, before Him and before a group of friends and family. After years of being alone while my husband was deployed, I had more than a few well-meaning friends and family members tell me to just leave him and start over. But God did not want that for me. He wanted His best, a marriage that has its problems but one in which He is the center of the relationship, reminding me consistently of His commitment to me and our commitment to each other. Marriage doesn’t get easier as you age because, if you’re like me, you get crankier and more demanding. I get upset more easily, knowing that dreams that haven’t been fulfilled yet will likely never be on this earth. But, God…He keeps His promises, so I have chosen to keep mine. Wherever you are, whatever situation in which you find yourself, remember that God loves you with an everlasting and totally unselfish love. More importantly, He wants you to reach out to others with His love and show them that they matter to Him.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Be blessed to be a blessing!

Learning From an Infant

Those of you who follow my blog regularly already know that I spent three months in Maryland taking care of grandchildren while our son dealt with a childcare dilemma. I was a little leery to take on the responsibility because of my age and physical limitations, but I tackled the job, knowing that if God called me to do it, He would provide a way for me to be strong enough to fulfill the task. Well, my time in Maryland is done as I returned home on January 31st, tired and emotional about missing the children with whom I had bonded so well and completely. My time in Maryland taught me so many things about life in general and relationships, but mostly, I learned a great deal from my newest grandson.

Seven month old Nathan Henry

Nathan is accustomed to being held as he naps, so I happily assumed that duty. Cuddles became my specialty and I spent a lot of time soothing, singing and rocking gently. As I did, I learned some life lessons that I believe are reasons that God tells us to come to Jesus as little children do.

First, Nathan was totally dependent on his caregivers for his food, shelter, warmth, changes of clothing, etc. He cried when he needed something and did not think that it was being too demanding to have his needs met. That, my friends, is how we are supposed to come to God. I’m not saying to demand or to cry, but, like little Nathan, to voice our needs and to know without a doubt that someone will meet them.

Every day, as I held him closely in my arms, Nathan looked at me with such total trust in his eyes. He had no idea that a fragile septuagenarian was holding him and could have dropped him. He just knew that I had held him daily and he trusted me to continue to do so. That is how we are to approach God’s throne, with complete trust in His ability to handle whatever we lay before Him.

There were days when Nathan was cranky, continuing to fuss even after all of my “nanna tricks” had been employed. So, one day, I decided to quietly sing to him the old song from Sunday school, “Jesus Loves You.” (Yes, I know it’s supposed to be “Jesus Loves Me” but I changed it for Nathan.) He got immediately quiet, listened to the entire song and quickly fell asleep. My guess is that he recently left the realm of Heaven to come down to earth and recognized Jesus’s Name. The peace that settled over him each time I sang that song was a wonder to behold and it never failed to bring that same peace. Learning that the Name of Jesus brings instant peace to an infant brought me peace many times when I was feeling homesick or lonely for friends and church family. I just focused on the look in Nathan’s eyes and realized that the same peace he felt when he heard the name of Jesus was mine, too.

One of the major joys of taking care of an infant is knowing that when they see or try new things, it’s for the very first time. The delight that shone in Nathan’s eyes and that lit up his face gave me hope for a future because there are always new things to be discovered. The first time he tried to scoot across the floor, he was trying to chase my cane, an activity he never tired of. I would move the cane and he would joyfully lift himself up and try to reach it, touching its smooth surface repeatedly until I moved it again. He progressed to scooting across the floor to reach for toys, gurgling happily when he got them. I always stayed right next to him because at any time he could decide to unexpectedly roll over and thump his head. So, I was there to provide the cushion he needed until he could figure out how to roll gently. Isn’t that what God does for us? He provides cushions when we need them until we learn how to better take care of ourselves.

It was my real joy and pleasure to take care of my son’s greatest treasures. I learned what it was like to receive unconditional love, without doing much of anything for it. Gentle caresses, story time, play time, bottle time, everything was a source of wonder and a reminder of how very much God loves and nurtures us until we can do things on our own. I will always cherish the time with these three special children. I must say that I learned the most from Nathan because I spent the most time with him. But I also learned from Penny how to be a peacemaker and a caring and compassionate big sister. No matter how tired she was from her long day at school, Penny always had a hug and a smile for baby Nathan. From fiery, red-headed Evie, I learned what it is to be mischievous and yet to continue to expect love and acceptance. Evie and I had an understanding at bedtime each night. She didn’t always want a hug or kiss. Sometimes, she just wanted to do a quick hug, more like a tag on my leg, but I allowed her the choice for how to say goodnight each evening. She seemed to enjoy keeping me in suspense about how we would say goodnight and then grinned broadly if she knew that she surprised me with her new method. God has a sense of humor, too, and I’m sure He enjoyed the creativity and compassion of the two girls as much as I did.

Penny, Evie and Nanna on Christmas Day, 2021

I will leave you with these parting words. When next you have the opportunity to spend time with children, really spend time with them. See them as valuable gifts from God and learn from them how much God loves each of us. He loves me enough to allow me the privilege of taking care of grandchildren for three months, memorable months that are etched in my memory forever, to be cherished in my heart. Then, I hope that you remember to come to the Lord as a child does, with total trust and complete faith in His ability and desire to meet your needs.

God bless you for reading and being a part of my blog family! Have a wonderful day!

Review of UNTIL LEAVES FALL IN PARIS by Sarah Sundin

I absolutely devoured this book, with its vivid descriptions of war-torn Paris under the Nazi regime. The prose was written so well that I felt as though I became a part of the story, walking the streets of Paris and listening with bated breath for the arrival of Nazi soldiers. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Lucie and Paul, both Americans who joined the resistance in France in order to try to make a difference in the war effort. Putting their lives in danger repeatedly, they are dedicated to the cause and slowly learn to trust each other. Their love story is one for the ages, one that is unforgettable and poignantly bittersweet. I loved the story, the characters and the atmosphere that was so realistically portrayed. The author is a master at research and at pulling the reader into the story in such a way that I embraced the story and was sad to see it come to the end. I wanted to continue to follow the delightful and precocious Josie who wrote about Rock Monsters and a heroine named Feenee. Thus, the author sneaked in a story within a story, one from the viewpoint of a child that was insightful. Anyone who enjoyed historical fiction will want to get this book and add it to your collection of memorable stories to cherish and share.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Revell Reads Blogger Program via Netgalley. I also purchased my own copy of the book by pre-order since I love this author’s style and the lessons that I learn from her books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

The action is intense in Nazi-occupied Paris, but the story is clean and well worth reading for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. Rated G.
Photo and information are from the author’s website at http://www.sarahsundin.com

This is a new release and can be purchased at any of the retailers listed below or at your favorite bookseller.

Baker Bookhouse


Christian Book



Barnes and Noble



I’m delighted to say that I was introduced to this amazing author via the Revell Reads Blogger Program and now I read all of her books and wait anxiously for the next one!

Buy this amazing book today and get lost in the story of Paul and Lucie and their love story for the ages!