Headed east out of Canada in cold weather, traffic was heavy, and I fell in behind a semi-trailer truck, with vehicles vying for position in lanes on both sides. Suddenly, a hunk of ice came bouncing toward us. It may have fallen from the truck or another vehicle ahead of us. There was no way to avoid hitting it (or being hit by it) without side-swiping another car in a parallel lane.

The ice block probably measured about 10”x10”x20” – a rather large obstacle. I did not want to hit it dead center with my radiator, the engine oil pan, or the transmission, so I swerved slightly left, staying in my lane. It broke the fiberglass faux-bumper, taking out a section of the bumper and protective shield, and passing underneath just inside the front wheel and tire. We heard and felt the bump and crunch as we sailed over it.

I pulled off into the breakdown lane as soon as possible to see how much damage was done. Amazingly, we were not losing any coolant or oil. However, though the the contact appeared to be limited to the right side of the car, the entire left turn signal unit had popped out. It had to be replaced later with a recycled part from a salvage yard. Using some bungee cords from the trunk, I wired up the damaged parts so they wouldn’t drag or interfere with moving parts, and we continued our trip.

Another dangerous situation survived!

The Lord has protected us from many potentially disastrous collisions, and provided repairs in a hundred impossible situations. We’ve often commented about the high risk duty our guardian angels have given us.

Travel by automobile has been a main feature of our lifestyle for five decades, covering about 2.5 million miles as we criss-crossed the United States in cars or pickup trucks, sometimes pulling travel trailers. By far, the majority of churches gave us a lump-sum love offering, without consideration for travel expense, wear and tear, or replacement costs. Still, He is our Provider and Protector.


People go to great lengths to have their name remembered, working non-stop to leave a legacy. They erect buildings emblazoned with their names, or give millions to philanthropy. Yet, it is the life of unusual sacrifice that is universally admired. Enduring applause belongs to those who forfeit fame and fortune in deference to a great cause.

A Name Forgotten challenges our perpetual sacrifice to gods of sensuality and prosperity. Broken hearts of the hero and his teenaged daughter, essentially forgotten today, will arouse deepest emotions and expose hidden motives.

Traditional views of a misunderstood character are confronted, ending with a finale that shocks the hero himself. Heart lessons abound. Subtle hints are analyzed. Historical and geographical allusions make details come alive. Some discover a new friend. Others find the heart to forgive this obscure hero for the first time. Your impressions of Jephthah and his long lost daughter will never be the same.

Find out how a bank robber confessed but never went to jail, why a songwriter sacrificed his dreams of fame, and what happened when a fourteen-count felon vowed to tell the truth in court.

There is still hope when choices appear imminently disastrous. Aspirations prevail though promises seem impossible to keep. And, even as you slog through the fog of interminable duty, you can endure!

A Name Forgotten by C.T.L. Spear is scheduled for release in fall 2015 by Heritage Builders Publishing, Clovis & Monterey, California. Watch for it!

Don’t Let Your Sons Grow Up (Parody)

(Sing to the tune of Mammas, don’t let your sons grow up to be cowboys.)

Mammas, don’t let your sons grow up to be pastors

Pastors are easy to love, but they’re hard to get home

Just one more call to be made,

A seed to be sown

Longwinded blessings and old illustrations,

And everyone thinks he’s a saint

His wife, yes, she loves him;

She puts up with him;

But that’s one thing she knows that he ain’t!


Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be pastors

Don’t let ‘em tape sermons and buy them old books

Keep them from pulpits, and potlucks and rook

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be pastors

Whenever they’re home,

They tie up the phone

And dinner is always served cold.

(Repeat Chorus)

Pastors like words nobody uses

In modern day language

They’d rather get out their Bible

And speak from the Greek

Dinner is burnin’ but he keeps on preachin’,

Then stops to shake every hand.

He ain’t worried about eatin’

Cuz he keeps on dreamin’

He’ll be the next Billy Graham!

(Repeat chorus twice)


U.S. Air Force Retirement

Major Douglas James Pietersma

May 22, 2015

Cheyenne, Wyoming


Lord of Hosts, Mighty God, unconquerable but merciful Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace, we bow acknowledging that You alone are our Creator, Sustainer, Provider, Savior and Protector.

Thank You for the abundance and liberty we enjoy. Thank You for the deliverances You have granted us when all hope had vanished at Valley Forge and in wars fought in every generation since our ancestors bravely launched this amazing American experiment. We continue to plead for Heaven’s endorsement upon our land, despite our faltering faith, frequent sins, and wicked pride. Too often, we forget that You created us with abilities and faculties, like sight and hearing, which our best technology cannot duplicate, but without which we would be reduced to abject dependency.

We are gathered today to honor the tenacity, character, and accomplishments of one of our warriors – a brave who outstripped his peers and advanced steadily to the esteemed rank of a chieftain. Thank You that long ago he humbly accepted the gift of forgiveness and Eternal Life, provided freely by Your payment of his sins’ penalty by Your blood sacrifice on the cross.

May today’s event fade into obscurity as he launches upon new adventures, fulfilling Your Divine plan. As he soars like a falcon to greater heights, give him supernatural lift and thrust, to attain and perform exploits and set new records of excellence in his chosen pursuits, so that generations to come will refer to the benchmark of his legacy as both a challenge to be sought after, and a foundation upon which to build.

Please Lord, continue and increase Your matchless blessings upon Major Douglas James Pietersma, his dear wife, their children and progeny until our Lord Jesus Christ returns in power and glory.

In Whose incomparable Name we pray, Amen.

-C.T.L. Spear


Same-sex Marriage Denied

Leadership of the Eastern band of the Cherokee Nation wants to  ban same-sex marriage within their borders. ABC News 13 interviewed Cherokee activist Pastor Bo Parris, who said, “Bottom line, there’ll be no same-sex marriages performed . . . The laws of nature are against same-sex marriage. [God] is sovereign and His laws are above every law . . .” (View the You Tube video on this event at

A federal judge forced the state of North Carolina to legalize same-sex marriage, but the Eastern band of the Cherokee issued a tribal amendment, which reads, “The licensing and solemnizing of same-sex marriages are not allowed within this jurisdiction.”

Cherokee Baptist churches have long exercised an influential voice in tribal politics. The You Tube clip of the news report features short takes of several Cherokee residents including the pastor of Big Cove Missionary Baptist Church, who appears on the video.

Proponents of gambling casinos have been quick to defend the rights of Native tribes to operate gambling establishments on native reservations despite state laws forbidding such enterprises. It should be interesting to see how “the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” (Psalm 2:2-3)

Someone in the grandstand is chuckling derisively. “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” (Psalm 2:4) Perhaps Supreme Court justices should consider that there is a higher Court, presided over by The Just One, whose supremacy will not be denied. (Acts 7:52, 22:14)

Will the Cherokee Nation win this skirmish? Time will tell. But, one thing is certain: we have yet to see exactly how the final chapter will flesh out. Still, the Bible hints that the enemies of God will ultimately be broken “with a rod of iron;” the Lord will “dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalm 2:9)

By saying these things, I do not mean to imply that God’s primary trait is vengeance. He is a merciful God (Psalm 103). He delights in showing mercy, even to those who have flaunted their rebellion. That is perhaps nowhere more evident than in His forgiveness of the thief on the cross, who had no opportunity to be baptized, to do good works, or to demonstrate his change of heart. No matter what kind of sin we might consider, God loved us so much that He sent His sinless Son to pay the penalty of our sins and crimes against Heaven with His Own precious blood. And, He offers full pardon to “whosoever” will come to Him in repentance and faith.


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Grace Shines Best in Dark Times

“The impiety of the times is a foil to set off grace all the more, and give it greater lustre,” wrote Puritan Thomas Boston in his masterful analysis of Malachi’s statements (3:16-17) about the evil days after the second temple was built in Jerusalem more than 300 years before the birth of Christ. A Christian “is most lovely, when he is (as Ambrose says) like the cypress, which keeps its verdure and freshness in the winter . . . An upright man is always worth beholding . . . he is most to be admired when like a bright star he shines in the dark, and having lost all, holds fast his integrity.” (The Great Gain of Godliness by Thomas Boston, The Banner of Truth edition, 2006, p. 8)

Boston, or even Malachi, would be astounded to see the impiety of our times. Still, their observations could not be more appropriate if they were on the editorial staff of the New York Times today.

Let every believer remind himself that though we were not present to stand with our Lord in Gethsemane, nor to kneel at the foot of the cross, we have the greatest opportunity of our generation to let His Light shine. We must take time to “speak often one to another” as they did in Malachi’s era, and “behold the upright man” as the Psalmist reminds (37:37).


Talking to Atheists

A friend wrote to me about arrogant Atheists constantly baiting him to argue, but having no sincere interest in the Truth. In 1681, Thomas Watson wrote about God’s point of view of believers during Malachi’s era, 300+ years before the birth of Christ (Mal. 3:16-17): “The Lord was much taken with the holy conferences and dialogues of these saints . . . When others were inveighing against the Deity, that there should be a parcel of holy souls speaking of glory, and the life to come, their words were music in God’s ears.” – (The Great Gain of Godliness by Thomas Watson, p.7, Banner of Truth edition, 2006)
Let us use every means at our disposal to do as they did.

An Irish Blessing

May those who love us, love us.
And for those who don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if he can not turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we may know them by their limping.
May you live as long as you want,
and never want as long as you live.

-Author unknown

-copied from Mary Abrahams

Gone Home

Though none would minimize

The loneliness we all must bear,

Each grief has its unique kind of pain.

Yet somehow, losses can’t compare

Or duplicate the emptiness

When Mom’s gone over there.

But up above, celestial land 

Is surely made more real

When Mother dawns eternal gown, 

New homesickness we feel.

[Written in 1989 when the author experienced the loss of his mother.]




The story of the Unjust Judge, one of Jesus’ parables, explains that although the Judge was unjust, still because of a widow’s persistent pleas, he granted her request. Many sermons have challenged believers to be relentless in prayer, based upon this passage and parable. For thirty years, I have believed that one of the primary messages of this parable (Luke 18:1-7) was that our prayers should be persistent.


G. Campbell Morgan points out that the parable draws two points of contrast between the Unjust Judge and God. First is the fact that the Judge was unjust or unrighteous, whereas God is always just and right. He will “avenge.” Notice the word is not revenge. To avenge is to perform justice. God’s actions toward us are always  just. He cannot do anything unrighteous.

The second contrast is the necessity of persistent pleading, which was required to move the Unjust Judge to meet the widow’s need. In context, Jesus gave the parable on purpose: “to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” (Luke 18:1) If we would always pray, we would not need to beg and plead.


Morgan explains, “The prayer life does not consist of perpetual repetition of our petitions. The prayer life consists of life that is always upward and onward and Godward. The passion of the heart is for the kingdom of God; the devotion of the mind is to His will; the attitude of the spirit is conformity . . . the higher we climb in the realm of prayer, the more unceasing will prayer be, and the fewer will be the petitions.”


Our gracious God is the opposite of the Unjust Judge. He is “not willing that any should perish” (II Peter 3:9), but is eager to pardon sinners. (Isaiah 55:7)

Likewise, God is so full of compassion, so full of power and unlimited ability, and so absolutely just that “the foremost wish of the weakest, feeblest, frailest soul brings an answer.” (-Morgan) That is why we “ought always to pray and not to faint.” There ought to be no fainting among the people of God, because they are praying.


Prayer without ceasing is a life lived with a perpetual desire for His Name, His Kingdom, and His Will. Morgan comments, “The man who makes prayer a scheme by which occasionally he tries to get something for himself has not learned the deep profound secret of prayer. Prayer is life passionately wanting, wishing, desiring God’s triumph. . . . When men so pray they do not faint. They mount up with wings as eagles, they run without weariness, they tramp the hardest, roughest road, and they do not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

We had it all wrong. Although we may profitably use a list, prayer is not repeating or rehearsing a list. It is not reminding God that we are still waiting. Instead, it is bringing all my aspirations to Him, not to convince Him, but to ascertain His preference about it. It works like the chorus by Margaret W. Brown, which we sang in our youth group many years ago:

“I keep in touch with Jesus, and He keeps touch with me.  And so we walk together, in perfect harmony. There’s not a day that passes, there’s not an hour goes by, but that we have sweet fellowship, my precious Lord and I.”

Jesus ended the parable with a question: “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (verse 8) Our daily life is a life of faith, or else we walk by sight (II Corinthians 5:7).

John H. Sammis captured the idea:

“When we walk with the Lord in the light of His word, what a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.” (Trust and Obey)

As a young teenager, I walked with Him and enjoyed that sweet fellowship and prayer. But as I grew older, my vistas became clouded with humanistic ideas of success. In the process, I became susceptible to man-centered concepts of prayer.

Have you had it wrong? He still resists the proud, but gives grace – undeserved favor – to the humble.


[G. Campbell Morgan quotations are from the sermon Prayer or Fainting The Westminster Pulpit, Vol 3 (London: Pickering and Inglis).]