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Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Thought for the End of the Year – I Wonder Have I Done My Best for Jesus?

Colossians 3:23-24  And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Is God Able to Keep His Promises?

Here is a short devotional thought from a lady named Mercy.  I posted this at the Home Maker's Corner some years ago, but I wanted to share it with you as well.  It seemed like it might be helpful to anyone who is going through a hard time right now.  It also seemed appropriate as we end one year and look to the new challenges of the new.

Is God Able to Keep His Promises?

Ephesians 3:20-21  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Those Poor Souls Who Don't Celebrate...

Recently I was reading a blog where the writer was feeling sorry for "those poor souls" who don't celebrate Christmas, but he wished us happiness in spite of ourselves.  I have to admit that I was a little peeved and wanted to leave a comment, but I decided against it.  I was left wondering, though, why people tend to assume that we are "poor souls."

Probably most of my readers know by now that we don’t celebrate Christmas. Some may wonder what it is exactly that we do while we’re “not celebrating”.

So, I thought I’d just write a post about these topics. :-)

It's Not What You Think

In the first place, we don't sit around feeling sorry for ourselves and being gloomy and sad because we “can’t celebrate like other people do.”  Some folks tend to get funny ideas of what people with different convictions than theirs actually think or feel about a thing like this. Unfortunately, there are people who think that when you have a conviction about something that makes you different from "the norm" (Christmas, ladies wearing pants, homeschooling, simple living, television etc.), that secretly in your heart you are constantly lamenting the fact and feeling terribly deprived. Sorry to disillusion some of you, but we’re not all like that – though I don’t deny that there are some non-celebrators among us who do feel that way, and also that many of us are sometimes a bit forlorn because no one has time for us during this time of the year.  (And because our churches are full of Christmasy stuff.)

For some women and kids it is common to have people assume that their husband or father forces them not to celebrate against their will.  While I know there are some families that have that uncomfortable problem, I also know that there are people with the opposite problem.  They are forced to celebrate against their will.  So, here's the thing: if you judge our conviction as "wrong" because someone among us is unhappy about it, that will condemn your own celebrations because there are unhappy people in your crowd too (and maybe more of them).  So, be careful how you judge.  John 7:24  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

I also know for a fact that there are plenty of wives and children who are not at all bothered about their family's conviction not to celebrate and even agree 100%.  It's a huge frustration to some of us that we have extended family and friends who simply refuse to believe we are "on board" with not celebrating.

My mom had a lady she knew greet her in the grocery store one year in December and say in a condescending, exaggerated ways, "It must be the Lord who puts that smile on your face!"  My mom, who had no idea what was going on, said, "Of course, it is!"  She was so puzzled that she mentioned it later to the woman's sister.  The sister told my mom the lady said that because she was feeling sorry for her because she'd found out we didn't celebrate Christmas.  My mom was really burned up about that as she would have answered differently if she'd know the reason for the comment.  However, it's just as well, because Mom's answer may have challenged the lady's presuppositions since Mom replied as if she thought the lady was somewhat daft for even saying such a thing. :-)

To the Lord

My own mom and others I know have had much more annoying things than this happen, however. There are those who simply can't let the thing alone - usually some close family member or friend. Ladies, you should be more consumed with "Christian grace" than with "Christmas spirit." Just because you "couldn't stand" not to celebrate, or because it cramps your personal style that we don't, it doesn't follow that you need to pester folks into "joining the fun."  Nor do you need to shame them into participating to prove that they "really love the Lord."  "Christian grace" with its shoes on in this case is "Keep Your Mouth Shut."  I know it's hard sometimes, but here's the truth:

1. If the lady has one mind with her husband or church about not celebrating Christmas, you are only annoying her and causing offence.

2. If the lady does not agree with her husband or church about not celebrating, you are hurting her and making a wound worse!

These go double for children!  It is not your job to turn kids against their parents on matters that are purely preference and personal conviction, rather than clear commands to the New Testament church.

1 Thessalonians 4:9-11  But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

Speaking of personal preferences and convictions, I should point out something really important here that people on both sides of this issue need to deal with.

Romans 14:4-10  Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Did you catch all that?  We each answer to our own Master - God; not to each other.  Some of us esteem one day - Christmas, in this case - above another and some of us treat the day the same as any other day.  We each need to be fully persuaded in the position we take in our own minds - not some one else's!!  Hello!  You - yes, YOU - stop following the dictates of some one else's conscience and stop trying to force your conscience on someone else.  This is about YOUR relationship with the Lord, this is about why Christ died for YOU, so that YOU could be HIS servant in this life and the one to come.  We live unto HIM, not unto men.  Whether we regard the day, or whether we don't regard it we are HIS and we will give account to HIM.  And, we jolly well better be doing it for HIM and not to please man.  Would to God that we could grasp the depth and liberty in that!

My brother grilling one winter day (not Dec. 25th).

So What Do "Those Poor Souls" Do Anyway?

I couldn't even begin to tell all the things non-celebrators do.  I don't know myself.  But, here are some things that I know or would expect:  Reading, catching up on sleep, family games, sledding, cook outs, barbecues, working, studying, talking with friends who also don't celebrate, camping, fishing, cleaning house, sewing, writing (that's me right now), watching a movie, washing clothes, having a family meal...

You get the idea. :-)

I expect that there are even a few who forget that it's a postal holiday and check the mail! :-)

My Own Family's Practice

When my family really finally gave Christmas up completely, we usually treated the day like any other. We did school work (we were homeschooling), chores, etc. and ate a much-less-than-festive meal. Otherwise we treated it like a Saturday – chores, a little recreation (maybe reading or playing outside), and normal meals.

Later, when we had friends who lived in our area who were not celebrating we sometimes got together for a meal and to visit and play a few games. This was usually because they were folks we didn’t see often, and as the men all had the day off we were able to enjoy spending a day together.

Where we live now our local family doesn’t have any friends close enough to really get together with conveniently, so we usually spend it as a regular Saturday around here with some chores and some family time – perhaps a meal or a movie together.

One year my brother managed to shoot a deer here on our property on the morning of December 25th, so that year we spent in various stages of processing the carcass.  That was a very important addition to my brother and sister-in-law's income, so it was a real blessing for them and it was pleasant working together as a family on such a project.  It was also rather convenient that it happened on a "spare" day. :-)

Today my dad has been rototilling his garden because it is Texas and it is warm! :-)  My husband did some maintenance on my computer, and I have done a few chores and took a long nap because I'm tired today.  I think my brother and sister-in-law went fishing.  Last night we had one of our winter "fire pit meals" where we roast hot dogs and sausage over a portable fire pit in my parents' car port.  (Photo taken several years ago.)

I know other people do different things than we do.  If you wonder what it is they actually do, ask them.  But, don't do so in order to feel sorry for them or make prickly remarks, OK?

Just Ask

Speaking of asking, there is one more issue I'd like to touch on.  I have realized that part of the problem with misunderstanding comes from people not wanting to talk to US about why we do what we do.  Maybe they are embarrassed, maybe they don't want to deal with it, maybe they just don't take the time.  What can happen, though, is that they will take someone else's explanation for why we don't celebrate as the truth, when it may not be at all.

I ran across one explanation recently that was bothersome because the person doing the explaining (a Christmas celebrator) showed that "they" didn't have a grasp on what "we" really believe or why. The story given was something I had never heard before and I've been hearing and reading on this subject for around 30 years!  You might say I was a little surprised and annoyed.  In thinking about that though, I just want to encourage you to ask your friends why they don't celebrate. Don't assume you know, and don't just take someone else's explanation for what they do.  There's a good chance that second hand information may be inaccurate on this issue, as often is the case.

One of the most ridiculous situations I've heard of happened to my husband and a few other people who were all attending a Baptist church in the southwest.  The pastor was highly offended when he discovered that there were various people in his congregation who didn't celebrate Christmas and he was apparently determined to force them to submit to his opinion - that all "good Christians" celebrate Christmas.  The comments he made from the pulpit were meant to make others think that anyone who didn't celebrate Christmas had been influenced by the Jehovah's Witnesses.  This was far from the truth, but it connected the people he was shaming to a cult, even if it was in a very nebulous way.  Don't fool yourself.  That was intentional, and it was a very powerful mind game he was playing, both with the ones who didn't celebrate and with those whom he wished to "keep" in his camp.  This is tragic, friends. Tragic.  Such things ought not to be in the Lord's church over issues such as this.  Romans 14 makes that abundantly clear!

We ourselves have a number of reasons why we don't celebrate - not just one.  Consequently, I'm sure it's safe to say there are a lot of reasons why people don't celebrate.  I have one friend who was already really frustrated with the whole drama of American Christmas before she met her husband who didn't celebrate.  For her, it was an easy transition because she'd already cut back.  There are people who had tragic Christmases in their childhood, such as one man my dad knew who had actually received a lump of coal some years.  There are people who have had some terrible personal tragedy that has spoiled the season for them.  There are people who just don't care any more because they are always alone anyway.  I am sure there are people who can't deal with the pain of not having children.  I'm just saying...don't assume you know.


Micah 6:8  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Ephesians 4:29-32  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Australian Memories - Fern Trees

I believe that these trees are a type of fern trees.  We saw them in the tropical rain forest section of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt. Coot-tha when we visited Australia in 2013.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Blessings that Remain - by Annie Johnson Flint

Today I had intended to post another article in the Refugee series, but this morning my heart was
heavy for our friends who have lost loved ones this year.  The majority of the loved ones were born again, which is good, but I know that the holiday season is particularly hard when one is dealing with a recent loss like that.  Consequently, I decided to share this poem instead. I'm sending you to the page on the Home Maker's Corner this time rather than copying it here.

Annie Johnson Flint was well acquainted with grief and loss.  She lost her birth parents, her adoptive parents and her own mobility apparently before she was 30 years of age.  I hope her heartfelt poem will bless someone.

There are loved ones who are missing
From the fireside and the feast;
There are faces that have vanished,
There are voices that have ceased...

Please read the whole poem here:  The Blessings that Remain

2 Corinthians 1:2-4  Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Evening Song – Gentle Voice

Matthew 11:28-30  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Three Things Quilters and Sewists Need to Stop Doing

This is a really great mini-lecture on some things that quilters do that we should stop doing.  It isn't about technique, it's about how we view our quilting and think about it.  But this also applies to general sewing.  I know from experience that it's easy to think poorly of our own sewing skills.  Most of the time very few people will notice when we didn't get something just right - both in quilting and in sewing.  I really recommend taking the time to watch this.  If you follow her advice, I can guarantee you will enjoy your quilting and sewing more. :-)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Australian Memories - Black Bamboo

One of my favorite displays in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt. Coot-tha which we visited when we were Australia in 2013, was the black bamboo.  I'd see this for sale in a catalog here in the States for rather high price for a rather small plant, so I found it really interesting to see this fantastic specimen.  It makes me think of ebony.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

New Ideas for Writing

Recently I was talking to my husband about creative writing.  I have done some over the years, but most of my writing is instructional, or what you might call teaching.  Anyway, he encouraged me that it might be a good idea to expand more in that direction.  I'm not sure how it will work because it will be more challenging territory for me, but it has come to mind as I've been thinking about which direction to go with writing in the next year.  I know that the Lord wants us to increase our talents, not let them stagnate, so perhaps this is one way to do that.  [Illustration right - unknown. Edited.]

Another thought was that awhile back I found a blog where a lady posts a word/subject once a week and people who participate then write for five minutes on the subject.  I thought it was a good idea, but I was not willing to participate due to some of her requirements that she was asking so I decided against joining in.  However, it got me to thinking.

The outcome of all this is that I am thinking of starting a jar into which I can put ideas for writing - subjects, words, maybe even some quotes.  I also am thinking of using an online word and sentence generator to give me ideas.

Sometimes I get ideas for writing at times when it isn't very convenient to write, or even make extensive notes.  In case you didn't know it, ideas are as slippery as wet fish; they can be hard to hold onto.  If I could write something brief on a bit of paper and put it in a jar, maybe I could come back to it at a later time and develop it into something. [Illustration left - from a painting by Thomas Faed.]

I have also been collecting memes which I wanted to write about, so I may think of a way to incorporate those, though admittedly they would not be so much about creative writing and more about teaching again.

Overall, though, I'm not so much concerned about creative writing as expanding my writing in a productive way, and one that will honor the Lord.  It's sometimes hard to settle on one topic or idea for writing when one's mind can produce 12-15 in a relatively short period of time and they all seem worthwhile - at the time.  It is also hard to think of something to write about sometimes when I should be writing but I'm not in the mood to write what I "should" be writing - or what I think I should be writing.

So...I think that I am going to try the jar idea and see what happens.  It may not work out well, in which case I would simply dispense with it.  But, it might just prove to be something useful and challenging.  I haven't determined how often I would use it.  I think that would depend on how well it works out.

Added to this, I thought it might be interesting to ask my readers - that's you - to give some of your ideas for me - words, Bible verses, quotes, topics, etc.  I could include in my jar the ones that I felt were useful, interesting or a good challenge.  Of course, I reserve the right to make that decision since this is, after all, my blog. :-)

What do you think?  Do you have any ideas to contribute?  Please leave a comment.

If you like this idea please feel free to use it. :-)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

I Am with You – A Poem by Annie Johnson Flint


Hebrews 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.


I Am with You

It is not always comfort to remember
That "God is in His Heaven",
When heavy clouds have hidden all the sunshine
And we are tempest-driven;
When all the world is desolate and lonely,
Or filled with hate and strife;
When hearts grow weary with their cares and troubles,
And grief and sin are rife.

It does not help that God is in His Heaven,
For that seems far away;
No voice comes down to us from that high silence,
No answer when we pray;
Up there, we think, the ceaseless hallelujahs
That rise around the throne
Must dull the echoes of earth’s lamentations,
And drown the sad heart’s moan.

But here is comfort - "I am with you alway
The Faithful and the True
And I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,
The long, hard journey through",
For Jesus Christ is present help and refuge,
Not far, but very near;
Our Light, our Guide, our Shepherd, our Consoler,
A Savior Who is here.

by Annie Johnson Flint

Matthew 28:19-20  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Evening Song – He Abides

Matthew 28:20  …lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Hebrews 13:5  …he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Upcycle An Old Dress Into A Maxi Skirt

Here is a neat tutorial from Rebekah at Verdant Bents, showing how she transformed an old wedding dress from a thrift shop into a maxi skirt.  This is a great idea and could be used for anything from everyday skirts to formal or church clothing.  You could even make a skirt for a wedding ensemble. (Yes, some ladies wear skirts for their weddings.  I am one of them.) :-)  You also could use this on a dress you own that you no longer wear but you still would like it as a skirt.

Tutorial: Turn an old dress to a maxi skirt

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Australian Memories – Random Flowers

From our 2013 Australian Adventure.  Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt. Coot-tha.

I think this aloe vera.
The two following pictures were taken in the tropical
plant glass house (greenhouse).

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Word of the Month - Attributes of God: Present


Attribute n. - a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something.

[See the rest of this series.]

Jeremiah 23:23-24  Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

The big fancy word for this is omnipresent, which just means that God is present everywhere at once.  So, simply put we may say that “God is present” and that will be as true for you as it is for me regardless of our separate locations.  It will also be true of all the other places on earth, the planets, space and heaven. 

That stretches our human minds much farther than usual, doesn’t it?  We tend to focus more on the “present with me and mine” aspect and tend to forget the bigger picture.  Probably this is because it is so much bigger than what we can grasp, but also I suspect that we are just a lot more interested in our own little lives than in all that “out there”.  Sometimes I feel like my thinking is rather cramped.

But, the reality of God’s presence is that He is not limited by our finite thinking.  He is present everywhere at all times whether or not we think about it or understand it.  He is not hindered by our small minds, and that is a very good thing!

Isaiah 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.


Even when We Don’t “Feel” Him

Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Our unbelief does not hinder Him being present either.  He is present with us regardless of how we feel about it.  We may not always sense His presence or nearness, but He is still with us. 

Imagine if your mother or friend or spouse were with you and you kept telling them they weren’t there because you didn’t feel like they were there.  That would be rather awkward wouldn’t it?  Sometimes we do feel like someone is with us in body but their mind is somewhere else – they’re really not with us.  God isn’t like that.  He is with us and He is present in Spirit and fully aware of everything in the situation, but He is not present in body.  So, it is even more awkward for us to insist that He is not present; but there are times we still feel that way.

I think part of the reason for that is that we are not drawing near to Him.  There is a sense in which God is present with us and yet we don’t feel close because we have failed to obey the command to draw near to Him.

James 4:8  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

The problem here seems to be the sin when we look at the whole verse.  It’s like a father keeping his mud-encrusted son at arm’s length.  The father is still present, but there can’t be close fellowship because of all the dirt.  Once the son is cleaned up (confessing sin, 1 John 1:9), then that closeness can be restored.  But the father was there all along.

And, so is God. 

He is even present with those who are not His children by faith in Jesus Christ because He is literally, not figuratively, everywhere at once.  So, for those who are not born again, He is as near to them but they don’t know it because there is no relationship there.  Even so, they are as close to that nearness as simply calling on Him for salvation.

Acts 2:21  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

And the name that must be called upon is Jesus Christ -

Acts 4:10 & 12  Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole…Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

He is no farther away than the name of His Son to anyone who will believe – anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord.  That is an amazingly wonderful thought!


“I Am with You”

Matthew 28:19-20  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Hebrews 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

If you remember, “you” means “you plural” – “you all”; and “thou” means “you singular” – “you right there, yeah, I’m talking to YOU.”

So, from these two passages we can see that the Lord Jesus has promised to be with us as the church, as His whole body; and He has promised to be with us individually.  We might say separately and together.

It is interesting that in Matt. 28 He said “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”  That is in the present tense – I AM – which reminds us of His name, “I AM THAT I AM” (Ex. 3:14), and of the fact that Jesus said that “before Abraham was, I am.” (Jn. 8:58)  The Lord is present in all time now.  That is something that we cannot comprehend with our human minds.  He is not only present in all space, He is present in all of time simultaneously.  It kind of makes my head hurt to even think about it.

It is also interesting that in the context of the above verses He is with us as a group as we go and preach the gospel and teach the things He commanded us, but He is with us individually where we meet the needs of this life on a day-to-day basis.  This reminds me of a line from a poem by Elizabeth Barret Browning:

“I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.”

Only, the Lord Jesus loves us far more deeply than a woman could ever love a man, and He truly knows the level of each day’s need for each and every one of us.  This is because He is truly present with us in a way that no human can ever be with another human, and He loves us in a way that no two humans ever loved each other.

One way that He is with us is in the person of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.  Though Jesus left physically, He gives us His Spirit to be with us and in us when we are saved.

John 15:26  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

John 16:7  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

In fact, this was the very reason that Jesus Christ came – to make it possible for us to have God with us at a level and in a way that had not been before.

Matthew 1:23  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

It is through the birth, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we can truly have God with us.  Though He was present always, and though He was with some in the Old Testament in a close way, there is a new nearness for the believer after the cross than there was before.  We can now have boldness to come before the throne of God at any time in any place because He is as close as….well, the presence of His Son!

Hebrews 4:16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 8:1  Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

Near, so very near to God,
Nearer I cannot be;
For in the person of His Son
I am as near as He.

So dear, so very dear to God,
More dear I cannot be;
The love wherewith He loves the Son -
Such is His love to me.

- Catesby Paget



God is so very present in this world that not even a common little bird can die without Him knowing about it.

Matthew 10:29  Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

How can we doubt His presence with us when He is present with the sparrows?  Surely we can believe Him and His infinite interest and presence with all His creation.  And, yet it is strange how quickly we forget…

It is strange we go on living our everyday lives
So carelessly, stumbling, dully we plod
Our commonplace paths, and forget that we walk
Every day, every hour, in the presence of God.

- Martha Snell Nicholson

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Evening Song – Not What My Hands Have Done


Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Friday, December 4, 2015

How Polyester Is Made

Last Friday we learned how Polyester Fleece is made.  This week we’re learning how polyester fabric itself is made from plastic bottles.  Polyester becomes many things besides fleece.  Some of them are used often in sewing and crafts.  It is mixed with cotton in some fabrics to reduce wrinkling.  It is made into a number of other types of fabrics as well.  It is made into threads and yarns of various types.

Did you know that some people are intolerant of wearing polyester on their skin?  I am one of them.  I can wear it only in limited amounts.  My dad used to tune pianos and he had a customer who told the horrible story of how his wife developed a terrible intolerance or allergy to polyester after wearing in constantly for some years.  Her whole body broke out in a bad rash and it really affected her health.  At the time my dad met them she was having to wear only clothing made from all natural fibers.  Recycling plastic is a worthy cause, but the fibers God created are the best after all is said and done. :-)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Milkweed and Michigan Memories


Debby Ray at My Favorite Things posted another set of photos that I just had to share.  These are milkweed seed pods which are very nostalgic for me since I lived for some years in Michigan where milkweed grows.  The silken parachuted seeds are so pretty in late autumn as they burst from their husky prisons, and Debby caught them beautifully in all their short-lived glory!

Magnificent Milkweed

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Monthly Challenge – December


This month’s challenge is again going to be about reaching out to others.  Those who have been reading this blog for awhile know that starting four years ago I have been challenging Christians who celebrate Christmas as Jesus’ birth to do so in a manner that HE would like.  I’ve also encouraged those who don’t celebrate to still take the extra opportunity to reach out the hurting, poor and lonely at this time of year.  Consequently, our challenge this month is going to be about reaching out to others. 

So here we are!


Take someone out or invite her over for lunch or tea – a friend, relative or anyone you think needs it.


Call a lady on the phone who has recently lost a loved one, moved, or has some other large challenge going on in her life right now.


Firstly, the idea is to minister to individual people that might be needing some compassion this month.  It’s about taking time to really stop to listen and talk with someone who is hurting, lonely, sad, tired, or otherwise overwhelmed by life.  This is not about squeezing a quick lunch in while you’re out Christmas shopping and then rushing off to the next “really important” thing.  This IS the really important thing from a biblical viewpoint.  Matthew 25:35-36 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Secondly, think outside your usual holiday box.  Who do you usually NOT spend time on during the “holiday season”?  That’s probably the life you need to touch with compassion this year.  Is there a shut-in that can’t go out to eat?  Take a little tea party to her where she is. 

Please don’t limit yourself by what’s easy.  If necessary, eliminate some holiday excess to do this.  That is showing the love of Christ and following His example.  He made time, even in the midst of bustle, to stop and talk to individuals who needed Him.  We are His hands and feet today.

I know it will be a challenge for some to work this into their busy schedule this month, but if there wasn’t a stretching element or a sacrifice involved it wouldn’t be a challenge, would it? :-)  It may take focus and effort, but resisting the greed and distractions of this season require that anyway.  Those Christians who do try to live above the excesses know that it takes conscious effort – “striving against sin”, Hebrews 12:14.  If you go into the “holiday season” in a passive “go-with-the-flow” attitude, you will be sucked into the lust of the flesh and won’t do things that reflect the mind of Christ.  So, yes, this is meant to challenge you to step up and do something on purpose that might be inconvenient, but hopefully it will bring the satisfaction that walking in Jesus’ steps brings.

1 Peter 2:21  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

I’ve asked this before, and will continue to do so – How do you think Jesus Christ would want you to celebrate His birth?  Please give that prayerful consideration.