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Friday, November 27, 2020

Planning NOT to Buy Too Much

1 Timothy 6:6-8 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 

This is an interesting video that explains what is called "the Diderot Effect." This is the odd tendency that people have that leads to chain purchase. By that I mean, you buy something and then need something else to go with it, and something else to go with that, and so forth till you've made a whole string of purchases based on that first purchase. The first purchase may actually be needed, but often the following purchases are not. At the end, Becker suggests that instead of trying to impress people with things, you should try to impress them with how you live. I understand why he says that, but in the biblical worldview that isn't what Christians should be trying to do either. We should be living to glorify God. Keeping the excessive and unnecessary consumption and purchase of things under control is one way that we can glorify God. Learning to be content with what God has given us is one way to achieve that.

It seemed especially appropriate to post this now as so many people are focusing on buying at this time of year. Please consider your purchases prayerfully. Truthfully, folks, using Jesus' birth as an excuse to fill your homes (or "stockings") with junk is at the very least tacky. At worst it is dishonoring to the name that you claim to honor. Don't let yourself be caught up in the covetousness and hyper-consumerism of the season.  [For further reading: Spend Less, Don't Buy Stuff, Plan Ahead]


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Thursday, November 26, 2020

A Blessed Thanksgiving!



Psalm 107:21-22 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. 

Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 


How bless├Ęd to enjoy the gift,
To taste of mercy here below;
In humble thankfulness to lift
Our hearts to Him whom now we know.
To know His love, how great it is,
To own and feel that we are His.

T. Kelly


Lord of glory, we adore Thee!
Christ of God, ascended high!
Heart and soul we bow before Thee,
Glorious now beyond the sky:
Thee we worship,
Thee we praise—
Excellent in all Thy ways.

Richard Holden

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Worth Repeating - A Thanksgiving Meditation by Martha Snell Nicholson





THANKSGIVING MEDITATION

Since man apart from God is but an abnormal creature, our greatest joys, our deepest satisfactions, come in our relationship to Him. So I thank Him this Thanksgiving season for sins forgiven, for a great High Priest touched with a feeling of my infirmities, for the privilege of being a tool in His mighty hand, for His guidance, for His ear that hears my prayers, for His arm on which to lean, for His precious Word in which He speaks to us explicitly, and for the blessed, blessed hope of His soon coming!

I thank Him, more than all else, for utter safety. In the past I have known what it was to be afraid, but now I know that I am entirely and perfectly secure. I feel that I have come into a safe harbor. Nothing, absolutely nothing, not my own deeds nor those of others, not the works of devils, not circumstances, not so-called fate -- nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. Pain, sorrow and bereavement can come, shattered nerves and body can be my lot, death can even put my body in the grave; but whatever comes, it passes first through His tender hands, and so I can love it because it comes from Him!

Nothing can keep me out of heaven. I am as safe now as though I were already there. Just these few hard years to live, these few burdens to bear, and then to be forever with Him, our daily portion glory beyond infinite glory! Thankful? My cheeks are wet with happy tears. Why He gives all this to a poor creature like me I do not know -- but I know that I shall need all eternity in which to thank Him for it!

by Martha Snell Nicholson 

Romans 8:35-39  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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First published here Nov. 2015



Saturday, November 21, 2020

Evening Song - I Just Want to Thank You, Lord


Psalm 75:1
Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare. 

Psalm 107:1-2 O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; 

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Autumn Roses, A Poem, and Some Thoughts on Quietness

 



Ecclesiastes 9:17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. 

Psalm 4:4-5 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

Isaiah 30:15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.

Isaiah 32:18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; 
 
2 Thessalonians 3:12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. 

1 Timothy 2:1-2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 

Sometimes in a world where there is so much noise, so much talking, so much activity, so much commenting, and so very many opinions it can be hard to find quiet let alone appreciate it. We can become accustomed to the clatter and chatter and forget the value of quiet. Yet, it is spoken of a number of times in scripture as a good thing. I find it curious in these present times that so many people are resentful and angry about having to physically "sit down and be quiet" - so to speak. This is especially disappointing coming from Christians who claim to know the word of God. When we fail to value quietness, we are failing to value something that God likes, that He has spoken well of, and that He has even commanded at times and in places.

Did you ever stop to think that one of the outstanding aspects of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ on this earth and of the new heaven and new earth is that we will dwell quietly? As I consider how many Christians, especially in America, complain and chafe against living a quiet life with less excitements and external activities, I can't help but think how much they are going to have to be changed in the resurrection in order to enjoy the quiet God has in store for us. And I would say that most of us are affected by the allure of activity and the busy life to some degree. But should the thought of a quiet life be so shocking?

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 

What does a godly, quiet, contented life look like? How can we live a quiet life today that glorifies God and rests in His strength? How can we alter our thinking and our expectations so that we can be content with less excitement and entertainment, so that we can appreciate the enforced quietness that we find ourselves in sometimes?

Jesus! I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For, by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

Oh, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea:
Oh, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart,
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings,
Thine is love indeed.

Ever lift Thy face upon me,
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

- Jean Sophia Pigott

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

A Walk Through the Michigan Woods In November


painting by Childe Hassam


Another great walk through the woods in Michigan, this time in November of this year when the colors were gorgeous. [I used a painting illustration because I couldn't share any of her photos. :-) ]

Fall Color at Ottawa County Parks November 2020

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Court of the King - A Poem by Annie Johnson Flint

 



The Court of the King

With the staff that had failed in my need
Where the road had been stony and steep;
With the lamp that was smoking and dim,
Though the darkness was growing more deep;
Weary, too weary to pray
And too heavy-hearted to sing,
Faint with the toils of the way
I came to the court of the King.

There where the fountains fall cool,
Their waters unfailing and pure;
There where the ministering palms
Stand like His promises sure,
Oh! there was peace in its shade,
Oh! there was rest in its calm;
And its sweet silences lay
On my bruised spirit like balm.

Long did I kneel in His court,
And walk in His garden so fair;
All I had lost or had lacked
I found in His treasuries there;
Oil to replenish my lamp,
His kindness a crown for my head,
For the staff that had wounded my hand
The rod of His mercy instead.

A garment of praises I found
For the sullen, dark garb I had worn,
And sandals of peace for the feet
That the rocks and the briers had torn;
Joy for my mourning He gave,
Making my spirit to sing,
And, girded with gladness and strength,
I passed from the court of the King.

Annie Johnson Flint

Psalm 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

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painting by Abbott Fuller Graves

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Evening Song - In the Garden

John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 

John 20:11-18 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.




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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Aged Hot Pepper Sauce Recipe from Sister in the Mid-west

Peppers grown by my dad in Tennessee.

 
Sister in the Mid-west at Simple Inspirations posted a recipe recently for aged or fermented hot pepper sauce. My dad loves this kind of sauce and he recently figured out how to make his own using Tabasco peppers that he grew. I don't know if he has a recipe or not as he tends to "fly by the seat of his pants" when cooking. (Yeah, that's partly where I got it.) This recipe sounds similar to what my dad probably did, so I thought it would be interesting to share it. I'll ask my dad about his recipe later, if I remember. :-)

My Aged Pepper Hot Sauce "Recipe"


Please let her know if you try her recipe. :-)

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Thoughts from the Past - A Song of Death and Life - A Poem and A Thought

Photo taken in Cade's Cove, Tennessee, 2003.

A Song of Death and Life


Death is the breaking of a fragile cup
Filled with God-given life. -- A passing song
Borne on the breeze of Time across the wave
That laps the shore of long eternity,
And echoes endlessly in Heaven or Hell --
Such is our Life. -- How oft we long for Death
With its sweet promise of oblivious rest!
We turn from Life, heart-sickened by its woe
Forgetting why that Life was give us;
God gave us Life that we might learn to die --
And makes our Death an entrance into Life --
Not the Life-ending that we vainly seek,
Weeping and wailing that we find it not.
We long to end our troubled round of toil
And cease for ever from our love and hate:
Peace for our struggling hearts, and calm after tears;
If Death but bring us this -- then welcome Death!
Oh! poor, weak, human longing! Satisfied
In God's deep pitying love, far otherwise.
Rest can be found in Death's great Conqueror,
Deep calm of soul in His unchanging Light,
Peace for a troubled heart upon His breast,
And Lethe's draught in His sweet stream of love.
Come Life, come Death, the soul that trusts in Him
Cares not -- for endless, higher life is his --
It matters not what changes shake the soul
For Christ's redeemed are immortal men!
Seek not to die, but seek to live alway,
Begin on earth the long, sweet task of Heaven;
Fill well thy fragile cup that when it breaks
Life's golden stream may flow eternally.

Eva Travers Poole

People will sometimes say when some suffering person has died that they are now "better off", and they find comfort in that thought.  The truth is, though, that they are only better off if they put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and drank of His living waters before they died.  If they did not, they cannot and will not have eternal life, and it can never be "better" for them once they have passed the dread portals of Death.  Only those who have made peace with God through Jesus, the Conqueror of Death and Hell, will find a "better place" beyond that point.

Revelation 1:18   I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Only the One who liveth and was dead and is alive forever more and who holds the keys of hell and death can give eternal life!  There is no other Way, no other Truth, no other Life.  Anything less than salvation through Jesus Christ will leave a person without hope and without Life after they have fallen to Death.

John 3:16-18  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

How is it with you?  Do you have the Life of the Son of God in you?  Do you have that eternal life that only comes through believing on the the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, was buried and rose again, triumphant over Death?

What about your friend, your loved one, your neighbor?  Do they have a knowledge of the great Life-Giver that they might have the opportunity to believe and Live also?

God grant us to be attentive to the need around us that we might focus on those things that pertain to eternal Life and not be so focused on this world that we forget that it is only a vapor that passes away. May we be faithful to speak of that Life in Jesus before we and others step into that vast thing called Eternity - an eternity of either eternal Life or eternal Death.

John 7:37-39   In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Revelation 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.


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Originally published here Aug. 2016

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Evening Song - How Can I Keep from Singing?


Psalm 96:1-13 O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. 


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Monday, November 2, 2020

Letters to My Friend - Your Conscience, Not Someone Else's

 


Dear Friend,

Things have been tense lately as election day approaches in the U.S. Emotions are running high. People have been pressured and even attacked by their family, church family, and friends in ways that feel invasive and lacking in Christian grace. I find it all rather appalling and overwhelming at times.

I was lying in bed thinking about something I had seen myself and just feeling kind of sad and lost in the maze of unkind assertions, when a portion of a verse came to mind.

"the answer of a good conscience toward God"

And something that I already knew in theory struck me more fully, namely this: that my conscience is meant to answer to God, not another Christian. To God. No one else.

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