Habanero and Tabasco chilies
Photo by Justin Nation
Everyone picks up a few basic facts about life as they live it. Here are a few that I have learned by personal experience, and by watching or hearing others. The ages I learned these things are ball park figures. I can't even remember when I learned some of them. Some of these things will be all too familiar to the reader. I leave you to your imagination. :-)
3 - Watch where you're setting your cup.
3 - Tea time is the best time of day.
4 - Food is made to eat, not wear.
5 - Cakes are not meant to have papayas or other large fruit set on them.
5 - Never help clean a chicken while wearing a good dress.
7 and older - Don't run in the dark; especially in yards you are not familiar with. There may be pipes sticking out at head level, holes and large dips, or gardens with low fences around them.
7 - You can't save time putting clean socks on later by wearing your dirty socks into the bathtub.
8 - When an adult hands you a bowl of something sloppy or a bottle of soda pop and says, "Don't drop it," it's better to say, "Yes, ma'am/sir" or "I'll try not to." Never say, "I won't," because you probably will.
8 - If your parents eat weird stuff, you probably will too.
8 - Never go on a rollercoaster, especially when you had a hot dog for lunch.
9 - Untrained great Danes cannot be walked on a leash, especially by little girls.
9 - Multiplication tables can be learned much faster than you thought possible when there's a banana split waiting at the other end.
9 - Sometimes Mom will let you have a chocolate syrup sandwich for lunch, but don't ask too often.
10 - Don't stand under a cat when it's stranded in a tree. Especially do not try to call the cat to come down. Your head may look like a closer and easier landing spot than the ground.
10 - Babies are noisy!
10 - Never mouth off to your Mom just because you think your Dad is out of earshot.
10 [several hours later] - Never mouth off to your Mom.
11 - Never watch your brother clean a fish, especially if he's in a hurry.
11 - Southern California winter clothes and Michigan winter clothes are not the same.
11 - If you cut your bangs too short you can't fix them, you just have to wait for them to grow.
12 - The day you have to help push a car out of a snowy, muddy driveway you will probably be wearing white socks.
12 - Outhouses are extremely cold on a snowy, winter afternoon.
13 - It's easier to gain weight than to lose.
14 - You're the most likely to slop food or tooth paste on yourself when you're "ready to go" and don't have much time to change.
15 - Dogs that can't be housebroken don't belong in the house.
16 - Picky eating is not a virtue.
18 - Old people may not be as exciting, but they are usually more interesting than "teenagers."
18 - Your brother is not as stupid as you think he is.
18 - Love at first site is more romantic in stories than in real life, especially when it’s one-sided and you are on the uninterested side.
19 - One of the greatest blessings you can have in life is to see your dad, mom, or grandparent reading their Bible just because they want to.
20 - If the shoe don't fit, don't wear it.
20 - The clothes that are the most difficult to clean, the most fragile, the most expensive, or your favorites will attract food and dirt the most. You will rarely slop anything permanent on clothes you don't like.
20something - When you think you have bad problems, the Lord will often show you someone that has much worse troubles than you do to remind you that yours really aren't all that bad.
20something - Perfect hair is not a virtue, nor a necessity.
20something - The toilet paper and facial tissue do not have to match the decor of the room.
25 - NEVER step on a stink bug in the house.
26 - Arguing with your brother is a waste of time. Let him be wrong.......or maybe you're wrong yourself.
27 - Don't set your bread machine to start in the wee hours of the morning so you can have warm, fresh bread for breakfast. If it happens to work its way off the counter and falls with a loud crash to the kitchen floor, it will scare your daughters half out of the few wits they have. [My mom did this to us. :-) ]
28 - It's better to be comfortable than fashionable.
30 - Beware how you judge others. The Lord may put you in their situation to show you how wrong you were.
32 - Don't wish your life away. Be thankful and enjoy it.
32 - Don't pet a shedding rabbit when you're wearing lip balm.
32 - Mutual love for the Lord can make friendships across unlikely differences.
33 - Do not squash a snail between your fingers, even if you have gloves on. The contents of the shell have to go somewhere, and your face is probably too close.
34 - Growing, picking and making jam with your own strawberries is one of life's real pleasures.
34 - Doing laundry may not be "fun," but having a drawer full of fresh, clean clothes is a very comfortable feeling.
37 - You can survive things that you wouldn’t have thought possible.
38 - Don’t do a gross, messy job with your tongue sticking out.
38 - The Lord really does know what kind of spouse you need, and His timing is always perfect.
39 - Chickens are incredibly dumb.
39 - Don’t borrow trouble. The interest rate is terrible.
40 - There are advantages to middle age. Metabolism change is not one of them.
40 - Your parents gain value to you as you age.
40 - Life is too short to waste it on useless worry and speculation about things that you can’t change and have no control over.
41 - People who believe politicians can do something to solve the problem probably haven’t been awake for some years now.
41 - When you go through your house to pick out the few things you’d want to take in case of evacuation, you learn how unimportant most of your stuff is.
41 - Your plans to raise your own food and livestock are worthless if you don’t have water. Water is more precious than gold.
42 - When it comes to work, there is no such thing as “done”.
42 - Productive kitchens are not clean kitchens.
42 - Closed doors may be discouraging, but more than one open door makes for difficult decisions.
Photo by Justin Nation
June 8, 2008
Because God Said It
We have been reading in the book of Luke during our family Bible reading lately. A while back we read the following passage, and as my family and I are facing some changes and uncertain experiences soon - some hopeful and some "normal" - the Lord brought this passage home to me more directly than usual.
Luke 5:3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
When the Lord Jesus told Peter to launch out into the deep and let his nets down He didn't seem to be making a great demand. Although it was work, it was not something huge or foreign to Peter. The difficulty was that Peter "knew" there was nothing there to catch. He had tried. They had toiled all night and caught nothing.
But, despite his lack of faith and even being sure it would do no good, "nevertheless at thy word" he let down the net. He obeyed despite his apparent knowledge to the contrary, and despite his doubt. He obeyed the command more as a favor to Him Who had given it than anything else. He did it because he respected and regarded the source.
Interestingly enough, we see in verses 6-7 that God blessed Peter's obedience anyway! Though he had no faith in the possible results, he obeyed and was richly blessed.
Obedience to God's word is the key. So you don't think it will do much, if any, good? Obey out of respect for the Lord and He will take care of the results. At some point or another you will be richly blessed for respectfully obeying. In fact, these men were overwhelmed with blessing! There was so much, they couldn't handle it alone and had to call others to help them sustain it.
Peter immediately felt guilty for his lack of faith. He realized he was in the presence of the power of God, of the Lord Himself. Suddenly his attitude condemned him and he felt unworthy.
But, Jesus did not leave him at his request. He didn't even rebuke him. Instead He began to prepare Peter for greater spiritual work for God. Had Peter's response been self-righteous, this perhaps would not have been the case. Peter's humility was good, and led to greater responsibility. We see his understanding of this when he later wrote, 1Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
But, the thing that remains in my mind is that if we obey the Lord when He directs us to "launch forth into the deep and let our nets down" we can trust Him to give the blessing and supply the results - results that we can't even anticipate or imagine because of our very limited knowledge! Even things we think we “know” do not limit God. This is a wonderful comfort when heading into unknown situations as well as known ones. The main thing is to do what God says.
Zechariah 6:15 ...And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
As a footnote to this I’d like to say that this was written just shortly before my parents and I moved to Texas with the help of my then fiancé, Peter. In October of that year Peter and I were married. Both the move to Texas and our marriage have been huge blessings to me – more than I could have imagined. Here in Texas my husband and I enjoy more family and church fellowship, more local Christian friendships and my husband has good work. Our marriage has added so many blessings to my life that I couldn’t enumerate them all. Among those that were not expected, I have increased health and strength, decreased anxiety, and my skills in this ministry have been increased by my husband’s teaching and expanding my abilities. Though I’m far from being the obedient Christian that I would like to be, I can say from personal experience that God will fill your nets with more blessings than you could imagine if you will just launch forth when He tells you to. :-) Obey Him. It is so worth it.
This summer I’m growing several types of mint in pots. One evening I was cooking boneless, skinless chicken breast and decided to flavor it with fresh mint. I cooked it a bit first in olive oil and a little water (it was frozen when I put it in the pan), cutting it into bite size pieces when it got partly done (using tongs and a pair of scissors). This speeds the cooking time. Then I added snipped fresh mint and salted it. I may have added some green onion tops and black pepper as well, I don’t remember now. But, it was absolutely delicious! So very simple and yet so tasty! :-) I served it with vegetables (use fresh or cooked), and a carbohydrate (something easy – bread or toast?). A super simple and quick meal.
Snipped fresh mint
Green onion tops (optional)
Fresh ground black pepper (optional)
Mint and Chives Chicken
Psalms 104:14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;
If we leave a box on the kitchen floor, or a bucket, or anything that has an opening, our cat thinks that it must be there for her. She will examine it, and if it’s big enough for her to get into, she’s likely to climb inside. :-)
Here is “Cookie” several years ago examining an empty water bottle package:
“Hmmm….It looks big enough.”
“What do you mean, ‘Get out of there’? I thought you put this here for me.”
Last Spring she took a liking to an umbrella we left on the kitchen floor to dry.
“How can I convince them that I need one of these?”
Nov. 17, 2007
Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
In dealing with people who put a large emphasis on "being right with God" (particularly by acts of self-humiliation such as "going to the altar", "surrendering to God", depriving the flesh, etc.), we have noticed an attitude that is more related to death, bondage and fear than to life and peace. It's a curious thing how people in certain church groups will push each other and strive to put each other "under conviction" with their comments, talk, singing, preaching and teaching. This is not what God intended for His children. Being "under conviction" is not being spiritually minded, and being able to put others "under conviction" does not prove someone has a spiritual mind!
True, we are all sinners and have need to confess our sins (1 John 1:9), but the constant digging in their own lives and the lives of those around them is not spiritual mindedness because it is not life and peace. The constant browbeating to "surrender" and to measure up (or should I say down?) to their standards is not life and peace. It is bondage. They are in bondage and they desire us to be also. Misery loves company - and it makes them feel more spiritual to push someone else down to a level beneath them OR to have someone else beat up on them spiritually.
The question then that this implies is, Since these people do not have life and peace, are they actually carnally minded? If one is in constant fear that they are not "surrendered" is this not "the spirit of bondage"? If one is constantly compelled to yield to the demands of men (and women) is this not the spirit of bondage? For to be carnally minded is death... and the child of God is not called to "live" a life of death and bondage. We are to live in confidence of our relationship to God. "Abba" is the equivalent of "Daddy" in English! This thought should give life and peace!
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? It seems that this would hold true as far as yielding and obeying man and his traditions rather than Christ. You are their servants if you yield to them rather than to the word of God. 2Corinthians 11:19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. 20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.
Christian, are you letting other people put you in fear and bring you into bondage with their carnal demands based on human traditions? Are you doing this to others? God says ...to be spiritually minded is life and peace. If their mind, or your mind, is so spiritual where is the life and peace?
Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:
Glory to God! We can have life and peace and we can be spiritually minded, but it is not through following men nor in yielding to their bondage, smiting and self-exaltation! It is through staying our minds on God Himself!
2Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
If you’ve read the previous posts in this series, you know that I am making an effort to inspire myself and others to “shop your own stuff” instead of always thinking that buying is the solution. It is a challenge to improvise and think outside the box a bit. In this post I’m really talking about thinking outside – as in going outdoors to “shop” for things. :-)
Of course, fresh garden flowers, fruit and vegetables are obvious ways to “decorate” by bringing the outside in.
My sister-in-law made an interesting bookend out of a piece of limestone she found. She intends to find another one so she can have two “matching” limestone bookends. :-) (We have lots of limestone on our property here in central Texas!) To do this it’s recommended to clean off excess dirt, bake the stone to kill any critters and, if you’re placing it directly on a wood surface, you may want to place a piece of felt or thick cloth under it or attach self-sticking felt pieces on the bottom. As you can see in the photo, my sister-in-law tacked a throw to the wall behind the books and rock, folded it down to protect the top of the bookshelf, then ran it behind the shelves to protect the wall as well.
Rocks also make great door stops. An addition of felt may again be needed to protect you floor. If you want something colorful, paint it with an interesting design. Use your God-given creativity.
More ideas for shopping the outdoors –
Use larger shallow seashells for soap or candy dishes.
A piece of drift wood becomes a coat and hat rack when attached to the wall and with hooks added. My dad went to a sawmill once and got a number of the outside cuts of wood – the pieces with the bark still on them. I don’t recall what they charged him, but it was scrap, so it wasn’t much. He selected trees that didn’t have extremely rough bark. He used these to cover the open area by a stairway to make it safe for small children. He screwed the pieces on with the bark side out toward the lower hall and the cut side in towards the stairs. Then he screwed hooks into each piece on the bark side to make a long row of coat hooks (something very useful in northern climates, especially if you have large groups in your home regularly). I wish I had a picture of it; it was a very unique and interesting solution to two needs.
You can make all kinds of art out of driftwood as well.
If you need bookshelves and you have a pile of old bricks or cinder blocks (see number 2 on this page), you may be able to work them into something useful with some leftover shelves or wood planks. It’s important in this project to use wood that is sturdy enough to bear the weight of books, and also that it not be cut in long pieces, unless you add extra supports in the middle. Paint, contact paper, leftover wall paper, and even fabric “skirts” can dress these shelves (and bricks) up and make them more presentable if you don’t like the “rustic” look. :-)
For décor, don’t forget the flowers. There are a number of flowers that can be dried to make attractive floral displays, making your flower garden do double duty for you. They can make a nice alternative to buying artificial flowers. There are several ways to dry them, including pressing them for various flat art. I’ve even spray painted the centers of Echinacea (purple cone flowers). I used them once in the rich brown they were to start with (petals removed), and then later when they got kind of dusty, I cleaned them off (use a soft, dry paint brush), spray painted them gold and used them again. :-) I had a friend who collected and dried pepper grass from near their house, painted it with red, white and blue spray paints, and made some really pretty little arrangements for her country style kitchen. Hydrangeas make an interesting and somewhat impressive dried flowers. Strawflowers (pictured above) are, in my opinion, one of the easiest flowers to grow for dried flowers, and they are so colorful both in the garden and dried.
Of course, autumn foliage can make lovely decorations too in areas that have the vibrant color changes. Two comments regarding this link: 1. Be sure to put water in the vase when using cut fall foliage otherwise it will wilt or shrivel. 2. Dream catchers are an instrument of American Indian spiritism and we do not recommend using them in any shape or form.
There are many ways to use pressed leaves, pinecones, seed pods and acorns. For using acorns or other nuts for décor, I recommend baking them at a low temperature (150F) for 45 minutes to kill critters inside. Just don’t let them burn. If you don’t do this those critters may eventually decide to come out and your décor may be ruined or marred.
I had a friend whose family had lived in the same area where she lived for many years. She found the old spot where they had dumped their trash and garbage years and years ago. She rescued some brightly colored old glass bottles and possibly some other artifacts to use in her décor. It added some nostalgia along with it in that case. :-)
What other ideas can you come up with? Challenge yourself to think of ways to “shop” outside. You might be surprised at what you find. (Note: Do make sure you’re allowed to carry things away from the area where you’re “shopping” if it’s not your own property. For example: National Parks and historic areas may not allow you to carry things away – even rocks.)
Jeremiah 17:7-8 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
My friend, Theresa (pictured above with my mom), went to be with the Lord in July. She was only in her early 40s and it has been hard to deal with. It has been very hard for her family. But, there is one thing for which I am extremely thankful, and that is the knowledge that she is with the Lord.
You see, it hasn’t been so many years since Theresa discovered that, though she’d been “in church” (Independent Baptist) all her life, she was not really born again. She was not trusting the Lord only for her salvation. She was trusting in the fact that she was “active in church”, that she was doing so many “right” things. That is, until the Lord literally knocked her props out from under her.
It happened along these lines: Her family went through some difficult situations over the course of some years. Much of the trouble was associated with “church life”, as it were. Eventually, her husband decided to take his family “out of church” entirely, at least for awhile. I know a lot of people would denounce this as a “bad decision” and sure to produce “bad results”. As it turned out, it was exactly what the Lord had planned for Theresa at that time. He knew it would take that to get her attention.
Because she was trusting in all her activities in the church environment to prove to herself and to others that she was “saved”, it took the removal of all those things to shake her up and make her unsure of her salvation. Had she continued “in church” as she knew it, she might have never had those false props knocked out from under her. When she was no longer playing the piano, working in the nursery or with the children, attending services and helping out in various other ministries (real or invented), she no longer had anything to rest upon as proof of her salvation.
Well, during this time of upheaval in her spiritual life, the Lord led her to read my dad’s web page on the Gospel of John. As she read through it, she came to some point where she disagreed with his comments. She called her husband’s attention to it and asked him, “Do you believe that?” Her husband read it, and as it was a simple restating what John had written under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, her husband said that, yes, that was true and he believed it. She said simply, “I don’t.”
This began a teaching time in which her husband took her through the Gospel of John himself and taught her what the Bible clearly says we must believe to be saved. Anything she didn’t understand or felt she didn’t believe they went over carefully and he explained those things to her, reasoning from the word of God. Finally, she came to the point where she realized that she believed the Gospel, and she marked her true salvation from that time.
I have a tremendous respect for Theresa about this. She was brave in being willing to admit that she was wrong and to put her trust in Christ. And yet, it was not a public show made for men’s eyes, but a quiet and true decision that she made in the privacy of her own home. Humanly speaking, it is hard for a person to humble herself and admit that she was never born again after she has worked as a Sunday School teacher, done good works, been “faithful in church”, been baptized, become a “member in good standing”, and generally been thought to be a “good, godly person”. It’s likely there will be some family and friends who won’t believe it and will deny that this person had not already been saved. It takes courage and humility to face this. And, sadly, there are many people who, though raised in “a Christian home” and spending their entire life “going to church”, are not really saved.
For my own part, I could tell the difference in Theresa. While I had presumed that she was saved before, there had always been this strange thing between us that I couldn’t account for nor understand. I call it a wall, partly because it felt like something I couldn’t get through. Also, though she was friendly and helpful, I always felt as if she thought she was competing with me for some reason. I couldn’t understand it at the time, but in retrospect it makes a lot of sense. You see, because she was trusting her works for her salvation – or, rather for the proof of it – she was undoubtedly comparing herself with others to establish her position with God in her own mind. In other words, she was thinking, though probably unconsciously, “I’m better than that person, so I know I’m saved.”
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
2 Corinthians 10:17-18 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
After Theresa became a true believer, that wall, that tension of competition, was gone between us! If you have never experienced such a thing, you can’t imagine how real it can be. She was literally a different person, a new creature in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
We became such good friends that I counted her among those who “spoke my language”. (You know…those friends whom you can talk to without having to stop and explain everything. When you tell them a thought or a feeling you had, they “get it” right away without seeming puzzled.) She also was a great blessing to me because of the great love she grew to have for God’s word. Though I didn’t always agree with her, I knew that she was striving diligently to compare herself with God’s word, rather than with other people. She was also a tremendous blessing in my life during a health crisis that I went through shortly after she was saved.
Having told her story here, I expect that you can understand how thankful I am to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is with the Lord. How merciful and kind our Father was to allow her to live long enough to realize she was not saved, to understand and believe the gospel, and to have an opportunity to pass that on to her children.
What about you? If you are reading this today then the Lord has allowed you to live to this day for a reason. If you are trusting in your good works – your church attendance; your activity in the choir, nursery, visitation, youth ministry, etc. – to establish your salvation, you are not trusting the right things. Those things never could and never will save anyone. It is the Lord Jesus Christ alone who will and can save.
Titus 3:4-7 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
What are you trusting for your own salvation? Do you think that only people who are “in church” or who are doing “_____________” can be saved? Do think that only people who keep Moses’ Law can be saved? If you stopped “going to church” how would you know you are saved? Would you know because you have believed, or would you stand in doubt? Are you proving your salvation to yourself and others through you works, rather than resting in the finished work of Christ? My desire is not to compel saved people to doubt their salvation. My hope is to help someone who is trusting in their works to realize this and turn to Jesus Christ before it is too late. Life is short. There is not time to be mistaken on this subject.
If you have any doubt please go and read this page on the Gospel of John.
If you are already saved then you are alive still this day because God has some work for you to do. Are you going about your Father’s business?
1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Also please see: Faith Is Rest
In honor of my next-in-age-to-me, the-one-I-grew-up-with brother’s birthday. :-)
Some things my brother would have said when he was half asleep.
A boy question and a mom answer.
“Gesundheit” and other unmentionables. Very appropriate to my brother.
The lovely smell of Home.
I shouldn’t have said… My brother never did this, only because he never thought of it.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
A week ago our family here had an interesting discussion about prophetic things and the amazing events that are going on in the world even now. My dad read some very thought provoking letters from a friend of his. Among other things, the brother was admonishing Christians to live above the fear and trembling and chaos that is developing, knowing that for us this is merely an observation seat. We are not in the seat of condemnation.
In the course of our discussion, and it may have been mentioned in one of the letters, we touched upon the fact that so many Christians are looking for the wrong things right now. They are watching for catastrophe, persecutions, troubles, famine, war, etc. – anything and everything except Jesus Christ! Our joy, our hope, our desire should always and foremost be the Lord Jesus Christ. While the events and labor pains of the world around us may be interesting, shocking and fearful; we should always and ever be looking for one thing alone – God’s Son from heaven.
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
The Lord Himself
It is not for a sign we are watching...
For wonders above and below
The pouring of vials of judgment,
The sounding of trumpets of woe;
It is not for a Day we are looking
Not even the time yet to be
When the earth shall be filled with God's glory
As the waters cover the sea;
It is not for a King we are longing
To make the world-kingdoms His own;
It is not for a Judge who shall summon
The nations of earth to His throne.
Not for these, though we know they are coming;
For they are but adjuncts of Him,
Before whom all glory is clouded,
Beside whom all splendor grows dim.
We wait for the Lord, our Beloved,
Our Comforter, Master and Friend,
The substance of all that we hope for,
Beginning of faith and its end;
We watch for our Saviour and Bridegroom,
Who loved us and made us His own;
For Him we are looking and longing;
For Jesus, and Jesus alone.
Annie Johnson Flint
Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Psalms 104:24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
Fresh olives are available to people living in parts of Europe, the Middle East, the southern USA and probably other places. If you are in the southern US where olive trees are used in landscaping watch for them and ask the owners if you can have the olives when they are ripe. They'll probably be happy to have them removed so they won’t litter the ground. Keep a record of where you get your olives so that you can go back to the trees that have the best olives. Some are decidedly better than others! In some places you can plant your own trees, but be sure to find out about local regulations, as in some places planting is now banned due to the allergy problems.
Sorry to say, I don’t know the source for all of these recipes. My dad has cured his own olives on numerous occasions and has canned them to make them last longer (see photo). Some batches have been very good while others were more than some of us could tolerate (usually bitter). My dad always used a salt brine method for curing. He may have used vinegar on them when canning.
Collect the olives as ripe as possible. Slash or stamp each olive with the side of a knife or board to make an opening, then soak in cold water in earthenware or glass containers for 10 days, changing the water daily. Soak in a brine solution for 24 hours, then wash off the brine and soak for 24 hours in vinegar. Drain. Store in jars in olive oil. This method will preserve olives indefinitely. (If sourer olives are preferred, add a little vinegar to the oil).
Choose red to dark red olives, slash them on one side with a very sharp stainless knife to reduce bruising. Place the olives in any non-metallic container. Make a solution of 1/4 cup salt dissolved in 1 quart water (you will need to increase this for large amounts of olives), and pour enough over the olives to immerse them. Make sure the olives are completely submerged in the solution. Store in a cool place, changing the solution once a week, for three weeks. Any scum that forms on the surface is harmless, just rinse the container and the olives in fresh water if some forms.
Taste one of the largest at the end of three weeks. If only slightly bitter (should still be a bit tangy), pour off the brine and rinse the olives. If still quite bitter, re-brine for another week.
Marinade for Olives (use same container)
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 tbs salt dissolved in 2 cups water
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 lemon wedges
2 cloves garlic
Pour marinade over the olives and float enough olive oil to form a layer 1/4 inch on top. The olives will be ready to eat after sitting in the marinade for a few days. Store in a cool place or in fridge. (Warning: if kept too long, the lemon and vinegar flavors will predominate, so eat within a month after ready.)
“Dry” Salting Method
Place washed olives in a wicker basket or a plastic container with holes. Cover with medium-coarse salt. Set basket in sun and protect with a cheesecloth cover. Twice a day for a week, toss olives to redistribute them, until the bitter fluid is drawn from them. Bring olives in at night to prevent mold.
Cover washed olives with a solution of salt water - 1 cup salt to each quart water - in a crock or glass jar. Place a weight, such as a small plate or washed rock, to keep olives submerged. Olives may remain in this brine for months. Marinate in Olive Marinade before serving.
[editors note: not slashing the olives can result in a strong flavor.]
Strongly Salted Olives
Wash and dry the olives. Place in a container in layers, alternating with dry rock or sea salt, using about 300 grams of salt per kilo of olives. Cover and leave for six months. The salt will extract liquid from the olives, leaving them shriveled. Before eating the olives, rinse in plain water, or soak for a few hours. These olives have a much stronger taste than the first ones.