Saturday, March 10, 2018

Not Ruckman, Hyles, Anderson, Scofield, Spurgeon Or Many Others

Hello readers! I've managed to find a bit of time in the midst of my busy schedule to write a blog post (hurray!) This is one that's been on my mind for a while, and I really, really want to share my thoughts on. Now, before you finish reading this, please understand: I do not hate any of these preachers or figures. I simply disagree with most if not all of their teachings and doctrine.

I'll be honest. Until a few years ago, I didn't even know people followed after prominent preachers to the degree which they do. My mom was careful not to allow us to be taught strictly from any one preacher or teacher when it came to doctrine, and we were always under solid, Biblical education when it came to doctrine. We were taught fact and doctrine straight from the Bible, rather than from the lips of any man. The reason? Men can be wrong.

So imagine my surprise when I first got on Instagram and found hundreds of Baptists who idolized many preachers. Yes, I used the word idolized. Any word these preachers spoke, these people adhered to as if life itself required it. I didn't quite catch on at first. I just thought, oh okay, they must like to hear them preach. Oh, the ignorance!

Fast forward a year or so. I realized just how problematic this mass following of preachers is! People no longer studied the Bible on its own, no, they had to have every commentary, every study book, every pamphlet or reference these men owned to study the Bible. They must have man's views and interpretation to understand God's Word.

Huh. And here I was thinking God's Word needed no extra book to understand it. What was the verse about not adding to God's Word again?

These men may have good points on some of their doctrine. But remember, Galatians 5:9 says 'A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.' Where there is error in one point, it will gradually and inevitably leak into the rest of the doctrine.

Maybe I'm just really, super old fashioned but I tend to be skeptical of any preacher who is famous or well known, past or present. Ruckman, Anderson, Townsend, Hyles, Luther, Scofield, Spurgeon... These are just some of the names that come to mind. I don't follow and worship these men as if God had given them the only interpretation of His Word. Not to mention, any man who must shout his own worth... No thank you. If I see anyone bragging about the number of souls they led to the Lord, or the number of disciples they have, I'm instantly concerned with why they are so focused on their own abilities and on numbers. There is a difference between thanking God for souls saved, and letting people know how wonderful of a soulwinner you believe you are. Same goes for disciples- shouldn't you be pointing Christians to follow Christ rather than yourself? The preachers who brag about all the little 'preacher boys' they have following them... I'd rather not sit under anyone who must look to another man for what he should or shouldn't preach, how to preach, when to preach and where to preach.

Where did the Berean Christian go, the one who studied God's Word and compared Scripture to Scripture to see what was true? When did Christians suddenly have need to be identified by which famous or well-known preacher they followed?

The problem I see and have with these men is the cult-like following they have. Focus on the man, rather than the Lord. If they say God's Word means such-and-such, then most of their followers will agree, whether or not it lines up with scripture. Having known men who twist the Bible to fit their views rather than align their views with the Bible, I can't follow anyone who allows, and even encourages, this type of behavior. Add in liberals like Graham, Warren or Osteen and I really shy away (I know enough about these fellers to know what they're teaching is correct doctrine isn't right at all).

As a matter of fact, if you actually study the Bible and compare Scripture to what these men teach or taught, a lot of these famous or often quoted men were incorrect on core doctrine. And for Independent Baptists, many of the preachers like Luther or Spurgeon taught doctrine that conflicts with our beliefs on serious points.

Whether or not these men started out to create this cult-like mindset among people who follow them, I don't like how Christians blindly follow any particular man. Goodness gracious, but I even know people who would name their children after these men as if that was bestowing an honor upon the child. WHAT?! 

And then I saw a new... oh, what's the word I'm looking for? A new trend? A new... oh, I can't think. It is disturbing to say the least. 

The pulpits and Bibles of prominent preachers are on display, as if these objects were somehow extra holy or blessed because of the man who stood behind or used them. I think I did a visible eye roll the first time I saw this advertised. Is it new? Maybe not. Maybe I just never saw this kind of thing before, but either way, I can't believe this. There is nothing- NOTHING- special about a pulpit or Bible just because it is linked to your favorite preacher.

To me, in my eyes, this begins falling into idolatry. The Bible has many verses on idolatry, reader. We're warned so many times about the sin of idolatry, of worshiping object or person rather than God, and yet Christians are just dying to make shrines to their favorite preachers. 

It's like the preacher I sat under who bragged about going to a dead preacher's grave where he stood barefoot and prayed. Umm, sorry, what? Did that somehow make your prayer reach God faster? Give it a little boost in efficiency? No, it didn't. 

Again, I don't hate any of these men. But you won't find me dedicating my firstborn son under the name Martin Luther Charles Spurgeon Hyles Anderson Ruckman, or find me setting up an exhibit of pulpits used by well-known preachers. 

So, my question for you readers is, why are Christians so bent on following a man and his teachings over God's? Why do we place, whether on purpose or by ignorance, such importance on a man over God? And since when do we need any other book to understand the Holy Bible? 

I don't identify as a follower of any man or man's teachings, but rather of God. Yes, I am Independent Baptist, I am KJV 1611 only (quite firmly, too). I am pre-trib, I am old fashioned in my doctrine and beliefs. These 'labels' allow me to clearly state my beliefs to other Christians, especially other Independent Baptists of like faith, but they do not mean I follow any other Independent Baptist's views or doctrine wholly and completely. 

I'll never be a Ruckmanite, an Andersonite, a Hyles or Luther or any other man's follower. You want to know why? Because I know that true doctrine comes straight from God's Word, rather than the minds and lips of any man. I'm not going to place myself in the dangerous position of following and adhering to any one man's teachings lest I fall into the trap of thinking that he must always be correct.

I'll leave you with a couple verses that came to mind as I tried to sort out my thoughts while writing this post. 

Galatians 6:3-4 
For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

Matthew 6:24
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Saturday Chatting

Hello readers!

It's been a while since I did a Saturday chatting post (Why does it feel like I always start these posts that way?) and it's high time for another. So, run make yourself a cup of tea or hot chocolate or coffee, settle in and let's have a friend to friend chat.

*waits for reader to return*

You have your steaming cup of whatever you prefer? Good!

First off, good morning! How are you? How has life been going for you? I hope well. I hope you're looking forward to spring as much as I am!

Speaking of spring, I've been working on several projects. Of course, I always have several projects I'm working on, but these are big, new projects that have not yet been put into the 'one day I will finish you' basket. Believe me, that basket has quite a few nice projects in it... I should dig them up and finish them... another day.

So, first off, my baby sister and I needed Easter dresses. And being the true crafty person I am, why buy when I can make?
So, armed with a pattern I found off Pinterest and what felt like six yards of the most slippery yellow fabric and pale yellow lace, I set off to make Little Sister a Belle inspired dress. Wish I could get the pictures to load on here, but you can see them on my shop's Instagram account (Proverbs3130GiftShop) and Facebook page. She is thrilled, to say the least, and while I had a time trying to gather up 80" of lace and fabric for that skirt, I'm rather pleased as well. It twirls just the right amount for a princess, and will be comfortable enough for Easter Sunday services despite Georgia weather. Did I mention this was my first time sewing with a lace overlay?
And then it was time for my dress. Last year I made a pale blue cotton dress- sleeveless, worn with a lacy white sweater- that turned out alright given the fact I was new to zippers and sewing full size clothes. I liked the pattern enough but it wasn't my favorite style on me. The gathered skirt, the odd pleats at the waist... well, it wasn't flattering. It is a beautiful dress, just not on me, haha. When it came time for this year's dress, I wanted something different. I scoured my pattern collection- it's not big, so it didn't take much time- and then online, looking for the perfect dress pattern. I found it! Sadly, it was from the 1950s and too expensive to purchase from the antique pattern dealer. So I looked for the second best. Again, found it, but it would need altering in certain areas and, again, so expensive. So I went back to my patterns. I had it narrowed down to three. One was a basic shift dress, one was a nice pattern that allowed for a contrasting waist piece, and the other was the pattern from 2017. Guess which one I ended up using....
Yep, the one I had used before.
I did alter it some. For one thing, I was careful about measurements and even went down a size (I had made it rather large last year for fear it would be too tight and immodest- a grave mistake indeed). I also added sleeves, since I felt I had mastered them well enough to attempt it. The fabric I bought was on clearance for $1/yard, and was a nice draping cotton type (I'll be honest, I do not know what kind of fabric it was, because it was A. from Walmart B. Clearance C. from Walmart) which would be light enough to keep from getting hot during the summer, but thick enough that I didn't have to worry about lining it. I decided to adjust the pattern I used, though, because the amount of ease the sleeves called for was ridiculous and I didn't want gathered, puffy sleeves. We're not in the 1990s and I'm not an old lady. So, after a lot of scratching my head at weird math and using a lot of tissue paper, I cut the sleeves out and prayed I wouldn't mess up.
Thankfully, I didn't die and the dress wasn't ruined! It turned out quite nicely, and you'll get to see pictures of it come Easter.

I also had been searching for a purse pattern I could use, since trying to buy one I liked was proving fruitless. After many hours on Pinterest and Google, I found a pattern I could add a zipper to and that looked like it would hold all my things (I carry a TON of stuff, yes. But I need most of it!) I used some navy blue corduroy and cream cotton from my giant fabric stash and made it up, and voila! a purse to be proud of! Now that I know that pattern is tried and true, guess who is going to be making a bunch more purses in every color to match all my outfits! ME!

So those were my main sewing projects. On to my yarn babies....

My shop was/is in need of spring merchandise. Baby booties and sweaters, wedding accessories, Mother's day gifts... I still am working on ideas and projects, but I'm looking forward to a few items that I designed myself. And if you think designing your own patterns is easy... well, you're right and wrong. Yes, it's easy because you can adjust them and tweak them pretty much endlessly if you know what you're doing, but it's also difficult because you are making up something from scratch. Right now I have five variations of the same project I'm designing sitting on my project table as I ponder what I did to make them all end up with different results!

Also, flowers. I have flowers everywhere. Not real flowers. Crocheted and sewn ones. They keep popping up out of no where, I kid you not! I turn around and there's another. I don't mind, of course, because they're for projects and I'm trying to make as many as I can, but it's odd to roll over in the middle of the night to find one has followed you into bed and it stuck between your toes.

I'm also working on three books currently. Yes, I know, shame on me. I started two new books while working on the one I started before finishing who knows how many others I was working on. But here's the thing... you writers will understand how easy it is for a new plot or scene idea to pop into your head while writing, and it doesn't fit your story but you don't want to lose it? That's what happened. And they were just too perfect to let them slip away! So, Ollie and Faith are sharing my writing time in the evenings with William and Emma, and the four of them are sharing with Elinor and Kennedy now. Three very different stories, in very different settings, with very different characters, that I must keep separated and properly penned to their own books. Not to mention, I'm trying my hand at a very different style of writing with Elinor and Kennedy, and it's been fun but confusing to say the least.

And then there's regular life. My garden to plan for the year, travel plans with my brother and a friend, spring cleaning, preparing all my gifts for the year, planning new projects for spring, thinking up blog post ideas.... it's a lot of work. Add to that some minor illnesses and such, and you've got where I'm at for the year as far as things to do.

Now, to the fun stuff.

I AM GOING TO A WEDDING!!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!! I LOVE weddings! And I'm going with my brother who is the movie quote master and a friend who could be his twin because they both know the Star Wars universe inside out and back again. Did I mention I'm also meeting friends for the first time face to face? SUPER EXCITED ABOUT THAT! The friend who is getting married and the friend my brother and I are traveling with, I've never actually met them face to face, so this is big!

Speaking of friends, I need to give a special shout out to a very special friend of mine. She's my adopted big sister and one of the most encouraging people in my life. She sends me verses every morning that have always been exactly what I needed for the day. Big hugs to Shay! You're awesome, sis!

Oh, readers, I must tell you... I've found the most delightful tea. Now, if you know me, you know I'm a true southern belle but I don't like sweet tea. I drink hot herb or fruit teas depending on the type, but never cold tea. Finding a good hot tea I like is difficult, since plain tea makes me sick. Well, we had ran out of my peach tea, and then my sleepytime tea, so I had to go hunting for new tea. Ended up getting one of those sampler boxes with a bunch of flavors. The verdict: peppermint tea smells wonderful, tastes bad; honey vanilla tea is nasty stuff all around; the sleepytime was my normal tea, so it was good; and then there was the lemon zinger...


I had never had it before, and loved it. It smells great, it tastes great and it was just right for sipping while writing in the evenings. The only problem? There were only 3 or 4 bags in the sampler box. So I went a-hunting again. After searching several stores, my mom found a box of it that wasn't a sampler box. She bought me two boxes. I can drink it as much as I want now (happy squeal!). She also found my long lost love, blueberry tea, and a wild berry zinger tea which was okay but not a favorite of mine. In other words, you're looking at one very happy, tea sipping writer.

One last little things to share... I've taken up art in an attempt to add to my old fashioned list of skills a proper lady would have. Mm-hmm, I know that's not nearly as exciting as the tea, but it was for me. Water colors, acrylics and sketching are as far as I've got so far. I'm not great at them yet, but I'm working on improving this skill (which I'll share more about in a future post). It's helping me when I write to be able to see and keep track of what my characters look like, too. If you're an avid reader or writer, you will understand the importance of just needing to see a character's face every now and then.

Well, that's about all for now, I suppose. I had other things I wanted to tell but I think I'll save them for another post. It may be a few weeks before my next post, due to travels and family events and such that will fill up the whole month. Never fear, I won't have fallen off the face of the earth! I'll be back by April, readers!

Have a blessed month!
Sincerely, Melissa

Monday, February 12, 2018

Not Looking For Mr. Darcy

What is with this fascination with Mr. Darcy, ladies?

Really, seriously… I need to have this explained to me, in detail. WHY are ladies so fascinated by him?

It’s got to be because he’s rich, because otherwise… he’s just ‘ewwwwww’. He’s snotty, snobby, tosses insults around like the flower petals fangirls throw in his path… Not to mention the whole lack of emotions thing? Not attractive. Not attractive in the least.

So can someone explain why girls are so wild to go looking for someone like him? Why there are a thousand and one quotes about trying to find 'my Mr Darcy' or how you should be a Lizzie and catch a Darcy on Pinterest? I could understand (almost) any other Jane Austen hero*. Mr. Knightly, Mr. Tilney, even Colonel Brandon… but Darcy? Good grief.

Maybe I’m the odd one out but I’m not interested in finding a guy who insult my family, treats me like dirt in social settings and seems to think that helping a sister out of a situation he could have prevented will gain his fair lady’s affections. If Darcy’s total lack of manners isn’t enough, the fact that he has no problem meddling in the affairs of his friend should be sufficient to scratch him off the list of ideal literary husband material.

So, let’s think about this from the perspective of a Christian young woman who is keeping an eye out for the right guy (I refrain from saying looking/searching for a husband because that is no woman’s job- he pursues you, not the other way around, ladies)

1. Darcy was prideful
Yeah, this is in the title, I know. But think about that, won’t you? Darcy’s of the world would go totally against the Bible, especially the fruit of the Spirit. Your modern day Darcy would be a poor choice for a husband, since he’s going to lack the traits a Godly man would have and exhibit all the ones he shouldn't have. Plus, I don’t know about you but I’d rather not have a guy who is the subject of Proverbs 11:2, 16:5, 29:23, 16:18, and 8:13- also James 4:6, and 1 John 2:16. Just saying. Think wisely about whether that is acting with a Christ like attitude before you praise it.

2. Darcy was mean
Face facts, he was pure mean in that first proposal. Insulting Elizabeth’s family? Totally not necessary to the proposal. Any man comes along insulting my family before proposing, I’d say the last part of Matthew 12:34 comes into play (You know, ‘for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh) and he’s probably been dying to say something cruel about my family from the start. No thanks. Moving on. Plus does he just really think he can skip the whole ‘be ye kind one to another’ part of Ephesians 4:32? Wow, what a great modern day husband he would be. Probably would tell me just how fat I look in the dress, beyond a loving ‘maybe that’s not the dress for you, dear’. Perfect, isn’t he?

3. Darcy meddled
Obviously the best way to show your friends you care is to break apart their potential relationships. Translated to modern day times: Darcy would text your sister’s boyfriend and let him know she seems to be a flirt, he’s wasting his time, and the boyfriend should probably just block her on all social media. Let’s not forget, if your other sister gets into trouble due to his not speaking up about a guy he knew was no good- oh, but you can totally forget that because when he tries to fix the problem after the fact you’ll be so in love, it won’t matter. Yes, definitely, modern day Darcy, you are so the right man for every Christian girl to admire! Way to create problems to solve so you look like the good guy once everyone is reunited/saved from ruin!

4. Darcy was rich
No, being rich doesn’t inherently make him evil. But ladies, there are a lot of good guys out there who don’t own their own Pemberley. And just because a guy is rich- or sort of rich, or maybe just a little on the more wealthy side of the spectrum- doesn’t mean he’s a nice guy. Money doesn’t buy everything, or else Darcy could have bought himself a better personality and attitude.

5. Darcy didn’t defend Lizzy
Think about it. He had more than ample opportunity many times to speak up to his aunt in her defense. He could have done a lot more for Lizzy personally than he did. Did he? No, he was too busy whining about how she wasn’t worth his time or worth dancing with. Modern day translation: Get ready for a guy who will let anyone say anything about you and not speak up in your defense. Gossip floating around about you? Don’t expect him to be the hero. Friends insulting you? Don’t hope he will stand up and put a stop to it.

6. Darcy was Fictional
There it is. Reason number 1 (okay, six on my list but first and foremost in my heart) why I don’t want, nor am I looking for a Mr. Darcy. Look, everyone can seem better on paper- that’s because it’s a fictional story. The movies? Also fiction. Just in case you didn’t know, no one should be a real life Mr. Darcy walking around. We’re not in the 1800’s, pride is not attractive, nor do lack of emotions and Christ-like attitudes make a good husband. Face facts! A fictional character that was just about the worst example of a suitor in literary history is not the kind of man any girl should dream of.

Seriously, ladies! Which would you rather have: a kind, living and breathing guy who works an honest job and isn’t rich (did I mention Darcy didn’t seem to have any job other than making himself happy? Might have forgot that), will be kind, loving and honest, and treat you with respect OR a coldhearted, rude snob who would gladly ruin not only your life but the lives of those you hold dear for his own pleasure?

And before you go and say 'Well, no one is perfect, everyone has flaws'.... umm this is a lot worse than no one is perfect or having flaws, okay. This is like 'I couldn't care less if he's perfect as long as he proposes and I can say I'm married, the kind of man he is doesn't matter.' Just think about that for a moment.

I think it’s safe to say, girls who want a good, Godly husband shouldn’t be looking for a Mr. Darcy. They should be looking for the kind of man from Psalm 37:23  (The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.) or the many other examples in the Bible of what a truly good husband would be. Darcy types could hardly be classified as that type of man.

So, can you explain to me now what the fascination with Darcy of Pemberley is?

*Honestly though, since they're all fictional, I wouldn't really understand any of them being someone's ideal for a husband*