Have you ever had an itch that you couldn’t reach to scratch?

This is yet another frustrating aspect of having ALS; being paralyzed by this cruel disease, I cannot scratch my own itches. Over the twenty-two years of my having ALS, I’ve become pretty good at blocking out everyday itching from skin irritations.

The most irritating itches are those caused by insects!

When the weather is nice, I enjoy kicking back in my wheelchair on the patio and listening to audiobooks. This would be much more relaxing if the insects would leave me alone. They seem to know that I am powerless to swat them and take full advantage of this. Several times, mosquitoes have landed right on my forearm and have taken all of the blood they could handle. Their buzzing sounds a lot like laughter as they fly away, leaving me with an itchy bite I can’t scratch. 

But worse than the bold mosquitoes are I demonic house flies. On more than a few occasions, these disgusting flies have conducted coordinated attacks on me. They’d fly into my nostrils and ears and land on my lips. It’s as if Beelzebub, the ancient pagan “lord of flies,” sent them to torment me. I’m only half joking. Sometimes I really do wonder what goes on “behind the scenes.”

Two weeks ago, I had a horrible itch on my left side that, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t overcome the urge to have it scratched. It was a burning itch as if I had been scalded by hot liquid. Mary lifted my shirt to investigate and discovered that I had bright red welts on the side of my waist. It looked like I really had been scalded by hot liquid. These red itchy welts quickly spread to my back.

It turned out to be shingles. The hospice doctor got me started right away on antibiotics and a cream for the welts. It was thankfully a minor case, there was not much pain, just ten days of itching.

Another kind of itching:

Just before he was beheaded under the Roman Emperor Nero, the last recorded words of the Apostle Paul were a warning about itching. Spending years chained in dungeons, with fleas, lice, and likely irritable skin conditions, I’m sure that Paul knew a lot about itching of the body. But he wouldn’t waste his last words on earth recommending essential oils for skin conditions (I get those recommendations from my daughter, Leah).

Paul issued a warning about the worst of all itches – spiritual itches:

…the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith…” “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:6-7 & 3-4).

At the age of twenty-three, I made a commitment to follow Christ. I wasn’t attending church at this time. In truth, I was still cynical about the whole“organized religion” thing. I don’t recommend this, but for the first three or four months, I didn’t attend church. However, I read the Bible every day. Some days I’d read the Bible for several hours. Before the first time I attended church, I made a commitment to God that if any preacher contradicted what I had been reading in the Bible, I’d stick with what the Bible taught and never attend that church again.

It’s been thirty-six years since I made that commitment and Mary and I have been members of two churches. Thankfully, we’ve never had any serious disagreements with what’s been preached by the pastors. The same can’t be said about some of the messages I’ve heard on television, the radio, and YouTube.

I know that there have been false teachers for all of the two thousand years of Christianity, but it’s never been as bad as it is now.“The time” that Paul warned us about just before being executed is here; we’re living in times of great deception.

Please read the Bible and walk away from anyone who contradicts it. It’s a matter of life and death –eternal life and death!

You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.”― C.S. Lewis

Blogging friends – If you leave a comment, please tell me the WordPress Theme you use. I am having formatting problems with my theme and looking for a different one.


About Bill Sweeney

In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his blog shares a message of hope in Christ - Unshakable Hope!

Posted on June 28, 2019, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 125 Comments.

  1. Tony Judt wrote about this and it has stayed with me since I read about it in, ‘The Swiss Chalet.’
    It sounds incredibly frustrating, and so true that small things can become such big burdens.
    Sending love, prayers and admiration to you.

  2. Sometimes, I re read your articles. Always a blessing.

  3. Hi Bill, thank you for following my blog. I’ve had trouble with my blog theme as well, and also with the commenting sections for some reason, not sure why.
    Wow what an awesome inspiration you are. My daughter, was tested for ALS when she woke up blind in her right eye 3 year ago, and then started losing use of her legs. It turns out that it is MS, it took this long to get a clear diagnoses. I think any chronic illness has challenges and trails, but I can’t think of one that is more difficult, than the one you live with so bravely. Sending prayers and much encouragement to you. You are amazing and so is what you share and write. Happy Friday to you and thank you again for following me. I’m following you now as well. (◡‿◡✿)

  4. Hi, Bill! My current WordPress theme is “Elegant Grunge”. I have trouble interacting with your blog via my phone, which is why I am usually late to ‘like’ or comment.

    I can’t imagine the frustration and irritation of not being able to swat bugs away! Stan knows what it’s like to have shingles though.

    When I was a religious Christian, (even though I didn’t realize I was), I always read Paul’s warning as referring to those ‘outside’ the church, especially outside Baptist and Protestant churches. One day I sensed that “those with itching ears” could be speaking about religious Christianity. I’d often heard preachers talk about people who didn’t like to hear about the hard things, but wanted to have their ears tickled, but anything we like to hear can be said to ‘tickle our ears’, right? If we like listening to things such as hell fire and brimstone or even messages that make us ultra-introspective, self-absorbed Christians who feel like ‘humble’ worms, is that any different than those who like to listen to messages that the same preachers would call liberal? I’ve come to realize even more how important Jesus’ ‘new’ commandment is.

    • Thank you for your comments, Rene. I’m glad you let me know about the problems you have with my blog. Someone else told me the same thing. With my eye-tracking computer, typing blog posts is a challenge, doing technical things like making changes to my blog, is so frustrating! A good friend is helping me build a new blog from the ground up.
      As for the warnings of Paul, you’re right, they’re definitely meant for Christians, churchgoers, anyway. I don’t know if political terms like liberal and conservative apply here. I think politics cheapens the word of God. It does for me, anyway.

  5. Hi, Bill.

    What a great post. Your insect experiences reminded me of Diane’s frustration when sitting in her back yard–one of her favorite spots, except for those little dive-bombers!

    I especially appreciate your sober statement about itching ears and our deceptive times. We can only pray, listen carefully, pray some more, and then keep going. “Will not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25) I think of this verse often these days.

    As for shingles, my husband David had a “mild” case on his face a couple of summers ago when we were on vacation. Mild because he’d had the shot. However, if his was mild, and yours was mild, I don’t believe it! Shingles is shingles. 🙂

    I use Manifest for my blog. Streamlined simplicity–which helps me focus on my writing and not worry about all the other stuff that I might do on the sidelines, etc.

    When I was growing up, itching ears meant someone was saying something nice about me. I think I remember that correctly….!


  6. Thanks, Bill! Your insight and common-sense Christianity is uplifting and refreshing. I’m always encouraged when I read your posts. (My daughter also “shares” her oils with me to help with my aches and pains!)

  7. I don’t know my theme, but I really enjoyed your post. Thank you for sharing a sliver of your life here. God bless you

  8. Stimulating thoughts, as always, Bill. And, oh, I cringed to read about your shingles (and demonic flies). But at least they set a very effective spiritual metaphor; I never thought of Paul’s words here quite that way before. Re. Themes: I use Twenty Ten, which I’m happy with. But then, like a guy who married the first girl he dated, I don’t have anything to compare it to.

  9. Loved your post and I can relate. I have an allergy in ONE ear, although I can scratch it even in my sleep. The sad thing is it caused by an allergy to chocolate, but I have not given up chocolate. I guess spiritual itching ears is caused by our own actions too. NOT ADHERING TO THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD. Thanks for taking the time and energy to write your wonderful posts.

    • Thank you for your encouraging words. An allergy to chocolate, too bad. Can you still eat (by mouth)? Those days are long for me but… Sometimes I get Mary to put a piece of dark chocolate in my mouth 🙂

  10. Dear Bill, thank you again for blessing us with your witness of the Lord’s grace. I understand the plight of shingles ~ NO FUN! I have sent you an email about your participation in our book Beyond a Mere Christianity. Much love in our Lord. Blessings as you continue to bless others.

  11. Lynda Kay Verity

    What a good day this is! I get excited when I see there is a new post from you just as I do when I get an email from Mary. You probably didn’t know how important you both are in my life, now more than ever. Once again, you are spot on in your message. I have such a hard time expressing myself, you make it seem effortless. Your way of adding humor to some terrible experiences if amazing and so relatable. I am glad you are over your bout with shingles. Thank you again for your encouraging message. I am inspired to put my phone down and read more in the bible every day. Keeping you and Mary in my prayers.

    • Thank you for your encouraging comments, Lynda. I am sorry for everything you guys are going through – Mary reads or forwards me your emails. When it rains, it pours! Thank you for your prayers! We’re praying for you.

  12. I so look forward to a post from Bill Sweeney! Your posts are always filled with humor yet point to the truth of the Word. Praise God. May the Lord keep us from having both itchy ears and itchy “hairs” 🙌🏽❤️🤗. By the way, the theme I use is Penscratch 2

  13. I’ve been reading the comments, and I would give comfort.

    Matthew 18:-
    19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

    20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

    Jesus was speaking to himself disciples, and “And that you…” did referred to them. My grandmother, so devout and learned in her faith, used to tell us, “There is no defense against a lier.” People of faith always find a difficult balance between open heart and forgiveness while always looking to avoid the great deceivers of and in the world. I was reading this morning about Christ’s temptation by the devil in the wilderness, and he was starving for not eating for 40 days and nights before they met. He didn’t avoid it, and when he passed from the trial, the Angels ministered to him. I know what this means to me, and Oh…before the trial, there is fasting – The body is wasted, hungry…and needing sustenance. OH…how venerable we are to be fed, and in starving…is it not so easy to take from any that would offer food? The devil…offer Christ even more than this, But Christ prevailed…and after, he was fed by those that came directly from God.

    Jesus always said that if we ask in his name the Father would give it. I take this meaning more for asking for what strengthens us to do our works in His Name. And so then I am reminded that where ever Christians meet together in True spirit of Christ, He is there, too.

    In Christ’s name, I bid you courage in these times

    • Amen, Ian. That is a BIG great and encouraging message. Thank you.

      • When we meet in the Name of Our Christ, we are meant to encourage and console the spirit of each who bear this (all the world). In Christ’s name, we would bear it well…and be comforted, encouraged…in what Christ speaks to us through his spirit and God’s working through us…”In Christ’s name” Indeed! Words are powerful, and through them, we can do small deeds where we meet.

        It is simple! Christ’s words were simple, too.

        Peace and Love in Spirit, Bill!

        • Amen, Ian. I like that. The words of Jesus are simple, we are the ones who complicate His words. On behalf of patients on hospice, thank you for your thirty years as a hospice nurse.

          • NO! NO NO NO! That is God’s work ON ME! Had I not chosen this work, “I” would have not lived this long. God gave me hundreds and hundreds of lives to bear witness to in their deaths, Bill…and each one…tormented me…Until I finally…found mercy for people in general…found forgiveness…and redemption, Bill.

            Thank you, Bill. I know EXACTLY your intention! Perhaps…you will consider, Bill…I have more…much more to be grateful for to those I “Served.”

            GOD BLESS “YOU” BILL.

            Now let there be peace between us. My life was given me to manage. I have failed more, I think then succeeded. And it is Simple. God redeems through Christ’s spirit, and we are saved by this. Simple.

          • Hospice doctors, nurses, and volunteers are the best! I think others might think I’m crazy when I say that I love being on hospice 🙂

          • I have heard similar many many times, Bill. I have not written about “Indicators” yet, but I have thought to.

            “I love being on hospice,” is an indicator…and it speaks very well of three things: You have a very loving and supportive family, Your suffering is low because there is a wholeness about you…a reconciliation, likely found through a very loving heart…AND…the people who minister to you in their “Care”…the hospice peeps are in a very authentic place in their career; they are supported and cared for as well.

            Let me Hear and Amen, Bill…in Gratitude for all our blessings!

          • Or, “the indicator” could be I’m spoiled with great and loving caregivers 🙂

          • Oh My Gosh! 4 things!! ROFL! ROFL! Amazing!! I love it!

          • In Service…I am inservice, Bill…we all are…and we may minister in our testimony…Through God in Christ’s spirit…where ever we may Ask Christ to be with us. There he is. That is most important…Loving God, and Then our neighbor. Simple. That’s all…nothing beyond that.

            God Bless you.

          • Amen, Ian.

  14. Hi Bill. I’m glad your shingles was only a mild case. I’ve also been thinking about the importance of believers needing to be in their Bibles a lot more than they tend to be. Sheep are dumb and wolves aren’t. That’s reason enough to keep our noses in the Good Book.
    I use the “Independent Publisher” WordPress theme. One way I test themes is by trying it out on a free WordPress blog that only I can see (You can set it to private). I keep one handy for that.
    Blessings to you & Mary ~ Wendy Mac

  15. follow up on my theme… I’m using Blogdot

    • Thank you, Amber. Good job on your blog, but… I couldn’t find a follow button.

      • Hi, Bill. I “follow” blogs through the WordPress app. On my Blog home page there is a “subscribe” on the right side (if you’re on a laptop), or at the bottom of the featured posts on the home blog screen if you’re on a phone.

        • I did see the subscribe option on the sidebar, Amber, but most WordPress blogs have a Follow button on the bottom right of every page/post. You don’t.

          • Thanks, Bill. I will have to look into this. On my end, I’m not seeing a “follow” button underneath the posts on the other blogs I follow, I just see the “subscribe”. Maybe I’m missing something? I’ll have to investigate further. Thank you for your reply.

          • It might just be me 🙂

  16. Thank you for your post. I have recently come to a place where I can finally get back in to God’s Word. I have a 1 and 3 year old who take up much of my time, but I wake up early to read the Bible…now that everyone sleeps through the night! I’m doing a 60 day plan through the New Testament this summer. I’m so thankful to have God’s living, breathing word in front of me each day. It’s a privilege many don’t have. God bless you on your ALS journey. God is continuing to use you for His kingdom purposes. I need to double check on my theme…

    • Thank you for your comments, Amber. I’m glad you now have devotional time. It’s hard with little ones. God will reward your efforts so keep a journal to write down what He reveals to you.

  17. Thank you for this timely reminder Bill that we are living in a time of great deception. Because of this reality we have a great responsibility to seek the understanding of God’s word so that we too are not deceived. It’s only going to get worse my friend, but to those who desire the truth God will indeed impart it to them.
    Take care Bill, and as always we lift you up in prayer.

  18. I love your posts. This challenge is global. False teachers are common in Uganda aswell.Thank you for the encouragement to read our Bibles and walk away from anyone who contrdicts it.

  19. Thanks for a relevant post that many of us can relate to, and making the transition from the physical to the spiritual.
    I just finished reading an excellent book by Kim Bowman, “Undercover Bag Lady,” where she relates her discoveries about the Church’s attitudes while disguised as a homeless person. The Church is not only receiving false messages that their itching ears want to hear, but they are meanwhile neglecting the very basics of loving and helping those less fortunate. They love the message of health and wealth for themselves, but how do they respond to someone who doesn’t have even the bare necessities?

  20. Try taking magnesium to help clear the rashes. I developed multiple small dry patches and itchy rashes ages ago. My neurologist suggested I take magnesium to help with seizure management and I was surprised that it cleared up a lot of other problems, including the rashes. Finding a reliable brand and figuring out how much to take was the hardest part. I use Nature Made and Bronson brands. However, the Nature Made at Walmart does not work for me like the one Walgreens sells. I take 600-800mg twice a day and try to eat more magnesium-rich foods.

  21. I couldn’t agree with you more about living in a time of great deception. So many are ignoring the truth of the Bible, or twisting and manipulating scripture for their own advantage. Praying for eyes to be opened to the truth of God’s word.
    I am so sorry you got shingles! My mom has had shingles several times over the years. I have never thought about what a blessing it is to scratch my own itches.Thanks for the perspective. You are such an encouragement and inspiration to me! Thanks Bill 🙂

  22. The Burning Lamp is ‘Fanwood Light’, Crushed by God is ‘Quintus’.
    Thank you dear brother, for expounding another lesson thru God’s creation – I pray He uses songbirds or bursting blossoms next! But God revealstruth thru those maddening bugs and shingles.
    Paul often wrote ‘with anguish and tears’ – always toward sin and apostasy in the church. With heavy hearts, we see this in my church. Surely, demonic bugs fly into their ears, inflaming carnal desires- the itches- already sewn in their hearts.
    Keep preaching from the patio brother Bill, you’re building His Kingdom from a wheelchair. Sending love to you and lovely Mary. ♥️

  23. Karen Sanchez

    Bill, as usual, what a great article! I love reading ALL of your posts!

    You and Mary are in my prayers every single day! Thank you for being obedient to the Lord and not letting your disease paralyze you spiritually. As Paul was a prisoner inside 4 walls, you are a prisoner inside your body, BUT it didn’t stop him and it’s not stopping you from writing God inspired messages in order that people can change their way of thinking and living so they can have eternal life.

    Love you, Mary and your sweet family sooooo much! So blessed to call you friend!

    • Thank you, Karen. It helps to have friends like you that have stuck by us through the difficult times. The “walls” of my “cell” are crumbling 🙂 I think I found a solution to my blog problems – your little brother is helping me!

  24. Hi Bill, I currently use Visual theme for and am happy with it. Ron

  25. thank you for taking the time to write this out. your words are always so powerful and encouraging to me.

  26. Love you, Daddy!!! Thanks for sharing this. I have been thinking about your post all day, and I also have been dwelling (and praying) on all the verses that say, “Pray you will not be deceived”. Learning more than ever how we need to be on guard everyday and IN the Word everyday, because it is very easy to be deceived. I read 1 John tonight. I thought it was so timely with the your “itiching” word 😀

    18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[d] 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us[e]—eternal life.

    26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

  27. Reading your post and the various comments, I do agree that the word should be preached clearly and cleanly. When we first became Christians we moved in one main evangelical denomination and saw variations between congregations that concerned us. Observing other evangelical circles and literature, we’ve seen “new waves” of thinking and interpretation come and go — especially when it comes to prophecy.

    Readers have talked about walking away from a church when a pastor doesn’t preach the truth, and this makes me really sad. Can a pastor not be asked to rethink? Can it be shown him from the Bible what the Scripture does teach? That said, we once left a denomination when it appeared the whole conference was taking a detour — and years later we’ve heard just how drastically they have detoured since.

    I generally tell people: “Don’t leave until you know where you’re going.” Be sure the Lord is leading you to something more stable, more biblical. I’ve seen too many people leave because they’re not satisfied, but not knowing where they are going, they end up drifting, or doing my-and-family-house-church worship. Seems a dangerous situation to me.

    Theme: I used to use Twenty-Ten, not sure if it’s available anymore, but I’ve heard the newer themes are more suited to cell phone viewing. I like a clean look with one right hand sidebar, so I’ve chosen Penscratch 2 and am happy with it. The flexible Header image, for one thing. So many themes seem so cluttered with right and left sidebars, it comes across like a maze you have to negotiate.

    One thing I did was delete the Home page; A lot of people have one, with glimpses of the last dozen posts, but I think they’re a nuisance. When you look at my site you’re right into the latest posts. I used the Life theme on one of my blogs and was happy with that — but again, not sure it’s still available.

    • Thank you for the comments, Christine. Good advice on church and blog. There are so many voices out there competing for our attention. It can be overwhelming.

  28. John 10: vs
    37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father.
    38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

    Of physical itching and can’t scratch it….that’s a bummer!

    But of spiritual itching…

    Bill you got me to go scratching for something that had be itching to remember.

    Thanks for your good works, Bill. Beautiful article…it’s a great work!

  29. I am always so happy when I see a new Bill Sweeney post in my reader! Everything you write blesses my soul.

    Itchy ears . . . thanks for the reminder. Lord, I want Your Truth, and nothing else.

    I use the Plane theme. I don’t know if it’s any easier to navigate than others, though, because things seem to be changing in the navigation part of my account. I wish WP would stop fixing what isn’t broken.

    Shingles, oh my. I tend to shy away from vaccines because they typically make me sick. But last Monday, during my annual checkup, my doctor persuaded me to have the shingles vaccine and the pneumococcal vaccine. Luckily, the pharmacist said the shingles vaccine is backordered until December.

    Why do I call that lucky? Because, the pneumococcal vaccine was available, so I had that one done on the spot. And then I had the most horrible reaction to it! I think if I’d had the shingles vaccine at the same time, I wouldn’t be here today. Seriously, it was that bad. In my 66 years on this earth, through two bouts of pleurisy, through strep throat and tonsillitis and multiple bouts with pneumonia, bronchitis, and influences, plus having most of the childhood diseases as a kid — I have never been as sick as I have been during this week.

    But God was with me all the way. Even when the pain was most excruciating, when there wasn’t a single part of my body that wasn’t in agony, there was peace in my soul. How amazing is that? And I thought of you, Bill, and all that you endure. I wanted to check your blog to see if you had posted since May, but I was too sick to turn my tablet on at that moment.

    Yet, through it all, it is well with my soul. Thank You Jesus!

    • Thank you for your comments, Linda. I’m sorry you went through that. I hope and pray that it will be soon behind you. I’m with you on WordPress. It’s funny, I’ve had my blog for seven years, but still trying to figure out how it works 🙂

  30. Excellent post Bill! I couldn’t agree with you more, I have NEVER seen the amount of false doctrine that is prevalent as it is now. The name of the theme I use is called “Responsive”. Grace and blessings my friend!

    • Thanks, Bruce. Social media has given a platform for the true and false Gospel to be spread. But it’s also a way to challenge the false so I think that’s a good thing.

  31. I can’t imagine having an itch that cannot be scratched! God bless you, Bill, for what you put up with–in good humor no less. So glad your shingles was a mild case. Had them myself a few years back–also a mild case, but still no fun. As for itching ears, I am so thankful for the strong biblical teaching I’ve received all my life–from others as well as pursued on my own. With such background, truth rings clear; falsehoods strike disharmony! P.S. I use MistyLook as my WordPress theme, but have inserted my own photo for the header.

  32. I understand. Thank you for the Word and many we follow your reslove..

  33. Ha Bill! I totally know exactly what you mean when you say that you think that they seem to coordinate the attacks. While I don’t get to sit outside and enjoy the weather, I do get these fruit fly type of flying insects. They will fly around my mouth and nostrils. Even going in my nose! I truly believe that they know, you know?! They know that I can’t move to get rid of them.
    I love your message! Keep strong my friend!
    Lisa Marie Da Ponte xo

    • Fruit flies are evil, too, Lisa! 🙂 We do get them occasionally, too. I’m sorry you don’t get outside. I don’t get out as much as I’d like, but, when I do, the sun on my face feels incredible!

  34. I use essential oils too and they work! It seems some of us are more prone to attract all kinds of pests than others. 😣 Right now I’m covered in mosquito bites and no-see-um bites. Ugh, so sorry!! God bless you Bill and my theme is twenty sixteen. Prayers for you.

    • Thank you, Vivian. I was skeptical about essential oils when my daughter first introduced them to me, but I think some of them really work. Those no-see-ums are the worst! Fortunately, they don’t bother me on the patio, but… Mary walks back to the garden, and comes back scratching her ankles 🙂

  35. Bill, I like the connections you have made to the bothersome itches and the ones Paul refers to. Indeed, many have exchanged the truth of the Gospel to satisfy their itching ears (and sinful desires)/. We must hold to the Bible and speak the truth in love.

    I had shingles myself some years ago. NO fun! Praying for you, my friend.

  36. Hi Bill! I understand the itch! It’s terrible. People don’t understand how many times a day they scratch their face or rub some part of their body that itches. I’ve also learned to just sit with the itch. Sometimes it’s more painful than other times. Great post. No church is perfect, but I love the fellowship in my church. Take good care of yourself.

    • I know you can relate, Terri. Yes, able-bodied people are constantly, unconsciously, making adjustments and scratching Itches… Mary plops me in my wheelchair in the morning and I’m sitting still for 14 hours. I’m glad you have a good church!

  37. Hi Bill – thank you for sharing your thoughts on itching ears which is far worse for our eternal soul than the awful shingles you’ve been suffering. I”m in Seattle with my 90 year old m-in-law, helping her sort collections of hoardings etc. She believes only the parts of the Bible that accord with her world view which has been shaped by the liberal episcopal church. I have known her for 39+ years and pray a lot for God to work. God is faithful and I will continue to pray and trust Him until she passes. And when I think she will swallow it, I share truth and goodness about the Biblical God. May God keep giving you strength to enjoy the outdoors and share with us your God-guided insights.


    • Thank you, Maria. You’re a long way from home. The northwest is nice this time of year. I’m glad my reliance on the Bible was shaped right after making a commitment to follow Christ – before churchgoers tried to talk me out of it 🙂

  38. I have become more amazed over time how easy it is to become enthralled by the current “popular” philosophy, by the things people are willing to believe instead of dealing with the truth of God. Maybe it’s because I’m older and have had the chance to see in my own life how ticklish ears are lies used to undermine my faith and hope in the Lord. But your analogy to bodily, skin itches is spot on. They’re annoying, but if ignored they can become just something you deal with and don’t think about. And then the lie wins. I’m grateful for your perseverance, and for Mary’s standing by you in all this. You guys are a tremendous encouragement for fighting the good fight and staying the course. Thank you for your faithfulness.

    • Thank you, Dayle. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad – the same pattern of moving away from God’s word/truth is repeated throughout the Bible and every generation that goes that route believes they’re the first generation in history to have found this “new enlightenment.”

  39. Bill, this is again a great reminder. When I am not in the Word I can’t see the deception and my own ears start itching. Thanks for encouraging us with the Truth here!!!! Keep going brother.
    (Theme: Twenty Ten)

  40. I too have been watchful about preaching other than what I understand the Bible to be saying… We left a church because of this, but spoke to the minister before we did, to make sure that I was understanding correctly… As it turns out I was just told that I was more conservative in my understanding and he more liberal……
    I’m so glad your shingles was caught early…
    By the way I use the Bouquet theme… Take care…….. Diane

    • Thank you, Diane. I know what you mean about conservative and liberal, but… Since it’s possible to err either way (legalism & “anything goes”), I’m not sure that political terms like liberal and conservative apply.

  41. Great post, Bill.We are certainly in the almost-worst of times and people’s ears are itchier than ever. If we all hang on just a little longer … the Lord Jesus is coming soon, and I imagine the time is close enough when He is making plans for His departure! His richest blessings upon you, my friend.

  42. How frustrating the inability to scratch an itch must be for you, Bill! Shingles, I know, can be excruciating. That you can see spiritual significance in all this is truly inspiring, as is your testimony.

    May you and Mary have a peaceful and relaxing Summer.

    Your friend,


    • Thank you, Anna. I have a friend that had a horrible case of shingles. She said that they should just hook you up to a Morphine pump, it was so painful. In my case, it might have been a good thing I wasn’t able to scratch because scratching breaks the skin and leads to painful sores.

  43. Bill and Mary, I pray for you both every morning and every night. I relate about the must be torture for you. I will pray about that too!

    • Thank you so much for your prayers, Nancy! When I came down with the shingles, I was frightened of the pain that was coming – I’ve heard horror stories! In my case, the pain wasn’t bad and I really felt the prayers of people like you.

  44. I think you are right about teachers who teach `weird things’,…., thank you for your patience and encouragement… Itching for your next post.

  45. My current them of choice is Lovecraft. I like it a lot.

    You certainly spoke truth in this post. We had to leave a church we loved for over 30 years when a new young pastor came and wanted to change everything to more modern standards–including the Word of God. So tragic. The church is now about 1/4 the size it was when he started.

    • Thank you, Linda. That’s sad about your old church. Good job leaving. I suppose the good news is that the churches that move away from Biblical truth, almost always lose most of their congregation.

      • That’s the truth. The ones that grow tend to be start-ups rather than older churches being made over.

        • Exactly! Let’s be honest, apart from God’s grace, it’s impossible to live the life the Bible calls us to live. So… When we attempt to remake God’s word to fit whatever lifestyle we might be living, we’re effectively doing away with the need for God’s grace. If we don’t need God’s grace, Christ died for nothing.

  46. Have you tried Murphy Naturals products? They make a citronella eucalyptus bug spray that works. Also candles, etc. I use WordPress Personal format. Most basic paid level I think. Not many bells & whistles.

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