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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Thoughts for Troubled Times


There is so much sorrow and misery and tragedy in the world lately,  what with news sources and people posting things on social media one can quickly be overwhelmed by it all.  While I strongly encourage prayer for various situations, and especially for the true Christians in places such as Ukraine, West Africa and Iraq, in all honesty, I don’t believe that the Lord would want us to dwell on these things.  I have two reasons for saying this.

One is obvious: Philippians 4:6-9  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

The other reason is because throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry we find Him only rarely talking about “current events”.  Obviously He cared about people, but He seemed to focus primarily on those who were in front of Him at the moment.  “God so loved the world”, but Jesus didn’t come the first time to set all wrongs right, and He didn’t even try.  He came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10), and He did that with all His might, so to speak.  In essence we were commanded to continue that commission until He comes to finally set this world straight Himself.  This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be moved with compassion and pray for those in tribulation.  We should.  But it is not our focus nor our job to fix the whole world or save it from itself.  Spreading gruesome photos all over the internet and even supporting organizations of doubtful reputation thinking that we’re helping doesn’t seem like a useful fulfillment of “the great commission”, as it’s called, nor of ministering to the saints. (Besides, I can’t help wondering if spreading the horrible photos doesn’t inspire some evil people to even greater wickedness, rather than inhibiting them.  In some instances it seems more like aiding their evil cause than stopping it.  It’s something to think about anyway.)

This poem by Annie Johnson Flint has been a real blessing to me on a number of occasions.  It is such a timely and helpful reminder of where our thoughts should be focused in the midst of both our personal struggles and the turmoil of this present wicked world.  It also tends to remind me that things haven’t gotten worse as much as we might imagine sometimes.  She wrote this in the late 1800s, but her description of the world was just as apt then as now.

When I Think of Thee

When I think of just myself and my little cares,
Looming large and crowding close, hindering my prayers,
Of my weakness and my sins, I am sore depressed;
Weary, weary grows my thought; I can find no rest.

When I think upon the world and its many woes -
Hunger, misery and crime - how the long list grows!
Greed and hatred and unrest, strifes that never cease,
Weary, weary grows my thought; I can find no peace.

When I meditate on Thee and Thy works, O Lord,
On Thy strength and majesty, on Thy changeless word;
On Thy Steadfast faithfulness, reaching to the sky;
On Thy patient, watchful care over such as I;
On Thine everlasting love, high and strong and deep;
On Thy wisdom and Thy truth and Thy power to keep;
When I think of what Thou art and what Thy power has done;
When I number all the gifts given in Thy Son --
I forget the things that pass in the things that bide,
And my soul can rest in peace, fed and satisfied.

Annie Johnson Flint

This is a wonderful reminder of the blessedness that we can enjoy when we focus our thoughts in the right place.  May God help us to do this.

Psalms 63:5-6  My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:  When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.

Malachi 3:16  Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

Psalms 37:35-40  I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.  Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Berry Fun Friday – Strawberry Shopping Bags


Photo courtesy Ikatbag.com

Here’s a link for a tutorial on how to make these cute shopping bags that “fold” away into one corner of the bag for easy storage.  I have some similar bags that I use for shopping, but they are plain, not decorative.  Still, they are very handy.  I recommend adding an inexpensive carbineer clip to the string to make it easy to clip onto your purse or another tote bag.

Strawberry Bag Tutorial at Ikatbag.com

These would make such cute gifts. :-)

Photo courtesy Ikatbag.com

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Australian Memories – Pretty Plants


I don’t know what these two plants are, but they caught my eye and lens at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Queensland.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ten Ways A Wife May Be A Crown to Her Husband


Painting by Carl Larrson

Proverbs 12:4 A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband:
but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

  • Ask your husband, "What are your goals for the week and how can I help you to accomplish them? Is there anything I can do that would make it easier for you?"
  • Be organized as much as possible with cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and cooking.  Try to anticipate his needs and your family's needs so that you can be prepared or have what is needed ready.

Continue Reading.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Mercy and Grace of Prayer


Hebrews 4:15-16 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

There are many blessings that we have in Christ, among them is the mercy and grace of prayer.  Do you know the difference between mercy and grace?  Grace is unmerited favor - the blessing and kindness and love of God given to us even though we don't deserve it.  Grace tends to get all the publicity these days.  I think it's because grace tells us we're loved in spite of ourselves while mercy reminds us we're sinners who deserve judgment.  Mercy is the withholding of deserved judgment - although we deserve the wrath and justice of God for our sin, He passes over us because we are in Christ Jesus, who is our passover (1 Corinthians 5:7).

One of the miracles of prayer in the New Testament is that we have direct access to the throne of grace, where we obtain both mercy and grace.  In the Lord Jesus, God has made us kings and priests , Revelation 1:6, and a royal priesthood, 1 Peter 2:9.  Because of that we have access to the very throne of God, to the mercy seat in heaven, through our High Priest.  In Old Testament times only the earthy high priest had access to the mercy seat, but now every believer can go directly before the Lord with his or her requests. Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Continue Reading.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Evening Song – I’ll Have A New Life



1 John 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Couple Articles On Things that Make House Cleaning Difficult


An old picture of me from when we were first moving into our house here.

I guess we all have housekeeping jobs that we dislike and reasons or excuses that we use to avoid doing certain things when we should – or ever.  Patty Gardner at Homemakers Daily posted a couple of useful articles on this subject. [As usual, probably disclaimer on some content of this site.  I’ve actually read very little of it.]

Patty wrote a two part article:

10 Things That Make House Cleaning Difficult, Part 1

10 Things That Make House Cleaning Difficult, Part 2

Some of her observations are so accurate, and some of her suggestions are really helpful.  But, as she seems to make clear, to really overcome the difficulties you’ll have to work out a plan that will help you according to your particular needs.

There are few things I want to emphasize or point out. 

First off, she stresses that if you’re dealing with health issues and that’s a hindrance to your cleaning, not to overdo things when you are able to work.  This is so important.  I have learned this the hard way to my sorrow.  When we feel better and we start overdoing things we’re very apt to cause a new flare up or such.

Secondly, more than once in certain situations she recommends lowering your expectations.  This is something that my mom taught me by example, but I still struggle with it in some areas.  I also know there are some people who really let their expectations rule them.  Be realistic about your situation and decide what is really important and what people will really notice.  I know one person who regularly goes “crazy” when company is coming and will clean things that no one is going to see – and if someone does see them they should probably be rebuked for putting their nose into some place that wasn’t any of their business.  You really don’t need to clean the shower of the master bath when company is coming for dinner.  Close the curtain or hang a towel over the door if there’s a remote chance someone might need to use that bathroom.  If your lady friends are coming for exercise and Bible study and there’s a load a laundry that needs to be folded in the living room carry it somewhere that they won’t be.  It is not necessary to fold it and put it away if you’re already struggling to get things done.  Also, people aren’t likely to look behind your dressers or in your laundry room on casual visits.  (I know some of my readers may wonder at this kind of advice, but I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous behavior – when company was only coming for the afternoon and dinner.  Sorry to say, I’ve done some silly things myself in this line!)

In point No. 7 she recommends if you have kids making them help you with chores, and working together rather than at different times.  This is good advice.  However, one thing she seems to indicate is that certain ones in her household did certain jobs all the time, or their preferred jobs.  I strongly recommend mixing things up and making everyone take a turn at all chores suitable to their age – and, yes, that means the boys too.  Sadly, there are some homes where the boys get away with not learning to do certain chores because it’s “girls’ work”.  One day they may be very sorry or hindered by that, mothers, so don’t deprive them of the full education they may need to run a household if they remain single or “wife” is sick in bed or, even worse, dies.  There are also some homes where certain jobs are considered “men’s work” and so the girls never learn to do them.  This is just as unhelpful for the same reasons.  By having everyone learn all jobs they can cover for each other, and there won’t be holes in your house work when someone is away or leaves home. 

My mom and I experienced this because for some years my brothers were always the ones to clear the dinner table and wipe it after meals and we girls cleaned up the kitchen.  Mom and I both have struggled with remembering to wipe the table because of that.  For me it’s partly an irritation thing because for so long someone else did that and I only had to do it when he annoyingly forgot.  You get the picture.  This is why I recommend sharing the chores around.  Plus, if you share them around the least assertive person won’t get stuck with the most tiresome or tedious chores all of the time that no one else wants to do.  If you had a few siblings or have a few kids you know what I mean.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Mouth of A Priest – How Does Your Speech Represent the Lord?


I hope that I haven’t posted this article before.  I couldn’t find it on my blog, so hopefully it isn’t a repeat. :-)


The Mouth of A Priest – How Does Your Speech Represent the Lord?

Malachai 2:7 For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. 8 But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. 9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.

This is a very interesting passage of scripture. I'm sure some "men of God" would be quick to apply verse 7 to themselves; but then there are verses 8 and 9. :-)  There is a serious responsibility that goes with this.

Peter tells us in his epistle, But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 1Peter 2:9 We are all of the royal priesthood now, and so this passage applies to every believer, though we know this passage specifically applies to the priests of Old Testament Israel.

Sad to say, many Christians do not know the word of God, so people cannot seek it at their mouth. Many think that "the preacher" or "the pastor" is "the messenger of the Lord"…

Continue Reading.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Evening Song – Onward Christian Soldiers



1 Timothy 1:18  This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;

1 Timothy 6:12  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sew Happy Friday – An Easy Tablecloth


The O’Neil sisters at Running with Sisters posted this really easy tutorial for making a tablecloth.  Since fabric wide enough for the average square or rectangular tablecloth is often more expensive and not as common, they came up with a neat idea for using regular 44” fabric (or anything close to that) by cutting it and putting a “runner” down the middle.  I think it looks very nice, and I think this project would qualify for a beginner level too.

This could be done in any fabrics that you think would go in your dining room, and you can easily switch the solid and print around or use two complimenting prints.  An added bonus is that it wouldn’t be hard to size this for smaller or much larger tables.  You’d just need to do the math to know how much fabric to buy.  Wide tables might pose a problem, but the center strip could be cut wider in that case.  I’d like to try this pattern with some strawberry fabric. :-)

One thing I’d do, though, is tuck in the raw edges of the hem so that it would last longer and wouldn’t develop “strings” hanging down around the edges after washing.  The mitered corner would have to be adjusted slightly, but I don’t think it would be that hard to figure out.  If you have a serger, you could just finish the edges with that before hemming.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Only to Know – A Poem by Allie Starbright


Only to Know

Only to know that the path I tread
Is the path marked out for me;
That the way, though thorny, rough and steep,
Will lead me nearer to Thee!
Nearer to Thee! nearer to Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, to Thee!
Only to know that the path I tread
Is bringing me nearer to Thee!

Continue Reading.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Evening Song – Showers of Blessing


Ezekiel 34:26  And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Delicious Roasted Chicken

This is one of my favorite chicken recipes.  I first published in on my birthday in 2009.  I hope you enjoy it. :-)  If you don't like thyme try another herb that you prefer.  It would be good with sage or oregano or basil or other similar herbs.

Here is a simple recipe that makes great tasting chicken! This is based on a recipe which I altered slightly by Marcella Hazan that was published in AARP magazine.

Roasted Chicken with Lemons

3-4 lb. chicken, washed and patted dry.
Dried Thyme, crushed
2 small lemons

Preheat oven to 350°.
Cut excess fat off of chicken (Do Not remove the skin).  Rub with a generous amount of salt and pepper both inside and out.
Wash and dry the lemons. Soften by rolling back and forth on the county while pressing down firmly with your palm. Puncture it in at least 20 places with a fork or skewer. Place both lemons inside the chicken.  Close the opening with toothpicks or a trussing needle and string.  (Do not make it airtight.)  Tie the legs in their natural position with string, if desired. (This is mostly useful for making it easier to turn the bird.)

Butter a roasting pan generously and place the chicken in it breast side down. Dot the chicken with bits of butter. Sprinkle lightly (three or four pinches) with crushed thyme. Place it in the upper 1/3 of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn chicken breast side up. Try not to puncture the skin, but don't worry if you do as it will still be good. Sprinkle top of chicken lightly with crushed thyme. (The top should be pretty well buttered with what you used to grease the pan. No need to add more.)

Cook another 30-35 minutes, then increase the temp. to 400° and cook 20-25 more minutes or longer depending on the size of the chicken. Use a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat (the breast) to check for doneness.  It should read 180°. Make sure you are not touching a bone when you use the tester. There's no need to turn the chicken again.

If it seems to be getting too well done on the outside and the inner temp. is not high enough yet, you may want to cover it lightly with aluminum foil to continue baking.

Serve the chicken whole and cut it up at the table. Leave the lemons inside until the bird is carved. They add a wonderful flavor to the broth in the pan.

I recommend serving this with a rice dish and pouring some of the broth over it at the table!  Delicious!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hard Questions - Is It Biblical for Women to Wear Pants?


This is a critique I wrote of an email a reader received some years ago.  It probably will not end the way you expect, so please don’t make assumptions going into it. :-)  This is a long article, but I hope that someone will be helped.


One of our readers received a letter from a friend in which the friend was giving a lot of excuses as her justification to wear pants. They include what appears to be her own inventions and probably things that someone who has "freedom in Christ" spoon fed her.  Based on the title of this article, you may have come here expecting something different from what you are actually going to read.  The point here is not the "pants on women" issue.  It's a lot bigger than that.  Please don't get sidetracked on that issue and miss the main point.  The main point is that a lot people are messing with scripture, misinterpreting it and actually calling God a liar in order to avoid dealing with the subject of modesty in general.  Please consider carefully where you are getting the justification for you own "liberty" in regards to not only dress, but also any other areas of life.  We may all be guilty at times of redefining scripture to excuse ourselves of sin or carelessness.

My replies in purple Arial font follow the statements made by the woman which are preceded by >>. Her spelling has been left intact for the most part.


>> How do I explain old covenants and new covenants to you? There are
>> SEVERAL covenants in the bible...did you know that? Each time a new
>> covenant was made, the "rules" changed.

This is not true. If you study the covenants of the Bible you will find that some of them are built upon the others. This is true of the New Testament covenant. It is built on the Old Testament law, for the law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. If we did not have the O.T. law of Moses' covenant, we would not know what sin was. If we did not have the prophetic aspects of those covenants we would not know what it was that Christ came to fulfill. Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

Continue Reading.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sew Happy Friday – Prewashing Trims


Should you prewash trims?  This is something that I think varies depending on the trim and what you plan to do with it. 

Last year sometime I started working on a jumper (pinafore).  It is a light pink with cherries and strawberries on it and I wanted to add some red bias tape trim as a contrast.  When I got the bias tape out I looked at the vivid color, and thinking about how reds sometimes run pretty badly, I decided maybe I should prewash it.  The packaging had a “guarantee” on it to the effect that this bias tape was “colorfast” and if it ran and ruined a project the manufacturer would pay for the materials.  Well, I’m a skeptic on some things and that was one of them.  I decided to prewash that bias tape anyway.

Good thing I did!

Yeah.  That doesn’t look colorfast to me either.

Here’s my bowl of pretty rosy water.

My jumper would have been ruined for sure.  I wonder if their guarantee is as lousy as their “colorfast” dye?  Good thing I didn’t have to find out!


My previous article on prewashing fabric.